Peter Molyneux, founder of Lionhead Studios
, got on the soap box at GDC and did a very interesting talk about what will really make next-gen games very special. However, this quickly turned into a discussion about all the features the new Fable game will contain - Fable 2
- which is due out in 2007 for 360.
The first thing Peter Molyneux addressed is the difficulty for games to stand out from the pack. Every genre is now saturated so heavily with games that it is difficult to really pack the killer punch and make a game 'special'. He outlined the four crucial areas that he believes are the measurements of how great an RPG game is: the world, the characters, the story and the combat.
He then went on to discuss how exactly he plans to do these different things in his own games. Starting with worlds, Molyneux said that he wanted to make an environment that was not only beautiful to look at, but felt dynamic and alive. This all sounded like the usual developer addiction to buzz-words, but thankfully Molyneux gave us some examples of how he plans to do this in Fable 2
. He did warn us that some of these ideas may not appear in the final game – in recent years, he has even received death threats for discussing features in interviews that weren’t actually included...crazy!
is set over the course of a lifetime, you will encounter different world environments at different stages in your life. Molyneux gave us an example of how his worlds would be really dynamic; when you are young (maybe around 21), you may come across a gypsy camp which has a few people. You can choose two courses from here - be friendly, trade with the people and help them out; or, you can just kill them all, burn their houses and just generally be evil. If you chose the first course and are nice to them, you might return to the area ten years later and the gypsy camp will have evolved into a couple of houses. Ten years after that, it may be a small village; and in another ten years, it may be a fully fledged town.
The point that Molyneux wants to get across about this next-gen title is that the whole world should feel as though you can do things to it. He emphasises the fact that you won’t just be able to buy a house in a town, you’ll be able to buy a street full of them - as well as a whole host of shops and the castle, too. It won’t be necessary for any gamer to buy these things, but the point is that you can
, and by doing so you will open up areas of the game that would have previously been locked.
The whole talk was filled with ‘next-gen’ features that will really tickle RPG fans tickly bits. Molyneux excitedly told us all about the family system, which will allow players the chance to find a wife and decide on having protected or unprotected sex. Choosing the later will usually end up with a baby coming along, which will lead to an in-game first - as you will be able to play as a woman (and have a husband), you’ll be able to play the game as a pregnant character. They wrestled with the idea of having a pregnancy mini-game, but unfortunately have decided against it. Shame!
Overall, though, Fable 2
is certainly shaping up to be one of the games to really light up the ‘next-gen’ stage. Molyneux is trying to imitate the storytelling styles that Hollywood uses, as well as attempting to get rid of the traditional GUI so that gamers can have the “purest experience possible”. The most intriguing message came at the end of the conference though, when Molyneux said:
“There is one idea which I will be keeping secret for the time being, which is very special. When I told my development team, they told me I was stupid and crazy. Being in the position I am though, being in charge, I was able to tell them to do it anyway. That’s why I can’t tell you guys right now, you would all just think I was crazy. You’ll have to wait to see it - but let me tell you… it’s very special.”
What could that mean? Let us know in the forums