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Develop: Molyneux talks Fable 2 problems, Fable 3 fixes

Kyle Orland

Despite "generally favorable reviews," there were quite a few people out there who had some serious problems with Fable 2. And to hear Lionhead's Peter Molyneux talk at the Develop Conference in Brighton today, he's one of them.

Molyneux's hour long on-stage presentation of Fable 3 included a veritable smorgasbord of self-deprecating remarks about the problems in the first two Fable games that would be fixed or mitigated in the threequel. For instance, Molyneux lambasted his studio for throwing way too many unnecessary features into Fable 2, even citing a study showing that most people didn't use more than 60% of the available features. Even when a feature was used, Molyneux said, it was often only used once and didn't factor into the larger game enough. For example, "most people did get married, but it didn't mean anything, it was just an excuse to have sex," he said. At one point Molyneux likened Fable 2 to "designing a car with 300 buttons on dashboard when you only need a steering wheel."

Gallery: Fable 3 (E3) | 9 Photos

"Most people did get married, but it didn't mean anything, it was just an excuse to have sex."- Peter Molyneux

Molyneux was also pretty down on Fable 2's story. He developed this position at E3, when he asked interviewing journalists to tell him what the story was about and most of them couldn't remember even the broad strokes or the major plot points (to be fair, this may say more about game journalists than Fable 2). To combat this, Molyneux said Fable 3 will have a much more straightforward story involving a revolutionary who gathers forces to overthrow a tryannical king and (spoiler alert ... but not really) becomes monarch him- or herself. "Very often, especially with the Fable series, the big story point of what you're doing and why you're doing it is lost in the noise of all the characters and the story," he said.

But the most ambitious idea Molyneux said he wants to implement in Fable 3 might be that of the menu-free RPG. "You just cannot get people excited about sub-menus," Molyneux said, referring to the maze of bland, confusing lists you had to use to equip weapons and level up abilities in Fable 2. "A picture of a sword just isn't going to do it." For Fable 3, leveling is represented by a road, with a series of gates and bonus-granting treasure chests you can open with the game's (thankfully) singular experience currency. Other standard menu options in the game will be represented by a special room your character can walk around in, a 3D GUI that Molyneux says will actually be more efficient than the old 2D menus.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, Molyneux said he knew that in Fable 2, "all our women looked like Russian shopkeepers." In Fable 3, he promised they would have more "curves and soft bits." So ... there you go, then.

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