Cologne, Germany – After having spent the last week releasing small teasers for a new title, Peter Molyneux (Creative Director of Microsoft Game Studios and founder of Lionhead Studios) revealed a new installment in the Fable series. He stated that he wanted to be taken a big step forward with Fable III so it was decided that in the new game, players would take on the role of Albion’s ruler. In the previous Fable installments, players were heroes without any true governing power.
Molyneux emphasized that choices would now have to be made on a much larger scale and will influence the entire kingdom. Obviously, this will result in choices that are much more comlex and morally ambiguous. For instance, players will be able to spread the wealth around the kingdom, but also have the choice to keep the money for themselves and their spouse.
However, the game will not start of with the player assuming power. Players will start as the son or daughter of Fable II‘s hero, and will spend the first half of the game in a phase which Molyneux named the “Journey to Rule”. During this phase, players must gain followers and start a revolution to overthrow Albion’s current Tyrant.
Molyneux stated that during the campaign to unleash a revolution, players will have to make promises to characters they meet about how they will rule later in the game. Players will have the option to stick to their promises or break them once they finally rule the land. Molyneux likened the behavior of the player similar to other hero-rulers, such as Gengis Khan, Ceasar or even captains from the Strak Trek series. Players will choose where to allocate gold and which regions to develop, and will be forced make tradeoffs in this regard.
In Fable III, Albion will be going through a phase of industrialization, which was exemplified by new concept art for the town of Bowerstone which showed most of it’s former beauty had perished. The game will feature a simulated social-economy that spans the entire land, but Molyneux reassured listeners that this would remain a highly accessible feature.
There will be recurring characters from Fable II, and players will not be limited to Albion alone but also be able to venture beyond it’s borders. Both story and script have already been written for the game, and Molyneux showed pictures of actors performing the script while being assisted by a director. Molyneux explained that this form of ‘staging’ the story before it was put into the game greatly helped improve the quality of the story itself, but also the way in which it is conveyed to the player.
A new gameplay feature is something he referred to as “Judgments”. NPC’s will occasionally enter the throne room to request an audience, where they will explain their case and defend their standpoints. Players will then have the ability to decide how matters should be solved. These judgments will function as a new way of acquiring quests and choices made will undoubtedly impact the story of the game. Another new gameplay mechanic Molyneux detailed was something called “Touch”. Players will have a new level of interaction with characters throughout the world, who will respond to the way the player uses his Touch expressions in various manners. Players will be able to shake hands, embrace characters or hold their arms open to hug a child, amongst others. Interaction will no longer be “Press A To Save the Child” but now require players to comfort and calm them down before they can actually save them from a burning house.
Fable III is currently set for a 2010 release, although Molyneux pointed out that we shouldn’t expect it early during the year.
A short teaser-trailer was also shown, featuring a voice over by Theresa. This trailer can be found below.