In keeping with tradition, Fable 3 is offering fans a web-based experience to tide them over until the game's fall launch. While Fable 2's web-based promotion promised in-game prizes – like a three-piece chicken suit, for example – for completing the "Hero's Tale" puppet theater, Fable 3 is offering a different kind of in-game prize. "If you preorder Fable 3, you're going to get a special code," Microsoft's Larry Hryb revealed on last night's Major Nelson podcast. "You go to Xbox.com [...] you drop in this code, and then in your browser you're going to create a character that's going to be in your game." The so-called "Make a Villager" feature should be available "in the next day or two," Hryb said.
Eager to try your hand at making a non-playable villager but not interested in pre-ordering Fable 3? Even without a pre-order, you'll be able to play with the character creator; you just won't be able to actually import your creation into the retail game. But here's what you can do: You can select male or female, you "decide where you want to encounter them, in what town or in what region of the game," you can decide if your character is good or bad, and you can select from five different heads, 23 different hair styles, 23 different body outfits, "for over 2000 different combinations."
When you're all done, you can share just about everything (short of that "Frank Lee Disgusting" name you chose) with your e-buddies on Twitter and Facebook. At the moment, xbox.com/fable3 says to "Look for this and more next month!" We've asked Microsoft to clarify when we can get to work on our pitch-perfect Peter Molyneux doppelganger. "Oh, I'm afraid I've already said too much."
Update 12:35pm: Well, that didn't take long, did it? The Fable 3 "Villager Maker" is now live at xbox.com. The FAQ has some more details, including the following: You'll need to purchase the game from a participating retailer to get the code and you'll need an Xbox Live Gold account to pull your NPC into Fable 3.
Update 12:45pm: We've got a video tour of the Villager Maker just after the break, featuring the soothing sounds of Josh Atkins, lead game designer for Fable 3. We've also added the press release to the list of sources.
[Thanks, Joe & Liam]