GDC 08: Molyneux Talks Fable 2

"I really love LEGO Star Wars," said Lionhead designer Peter Molyneux during his GDC lecture this afternoon.

An unlikely comment from a man involved in complex, high-concept titles, but easily explainable: cooperative play in his studio's upcoming RPG Fable 2 was inspired by the Traveller's Tales' series, featuring a single-screen co-op system for both players.

Molyneux then dropped a few more nuggets of information on the co-op gameplay. When another player is brought into your world, you have the power of deciding what percentage of experience someone recieves from combat. You can even hire your co-op partners on as henchmen, giving them no experience but compensating them monetarily.

As it turns out, Molyneux was only able to reveal 50% of the co-op feature list this week, but his hands are tied for the moment.

Another subject the designer touched on was familial interaction.

"What we did find is there are some sick and twisted people.. If you don't supply [your family] with gold, they go hungry," he said, explaining that testers would often eat their food in front of their starving families.

"Only 5% of the people that play Fable 2 will have the stomach to play evil," added Molyneux, a bold claim from a designer known for making them.

Perhaps not that far from the mark, however. As Molyneux explained, about 70% of players stayed friendly in the original Fable, 20% gave up the dark side after an hour of being evil, and only 5% finished the game as a true jerk.

"I'm gonna try and drive that [good] percentage down," he said. "Being good is about sacrifice."

Everything from combat--"We want the combat in Fable to be unbelievably simple to play"--to on-screen drama was discussed. Even the topic of mini-maps was broached.

"Mini-maps are shit. We've replaced it with this thing, and you're going to hate it, it's called a bread crumb trail," he said, explaining that it will be a system that dynamically points out which way to go based on the players' play-style.

With so many features planned, Fable 2 still has a long way to go.

"The engine isn't finished, the buttocks are [wrong]. I know that sounds odd."