10 Questions: Lionhead's Peter Molyneux

As promised, Lionheads boss Peter Molyneux is here to answer your questions, we are now pleased to bring you a set of 10 Questions in which Peter discusses the scope/size of Fable II, the "one button" combat, his dreams of having a pet Balverine, the possibility of another Black & White, and more.

Check out the full Q&A below and please stay tuned for our special 10 Questions with Will Wright, which we're expecting very soon.

1. What are some features you would like to see in games 10 years down the line, but aren't completely possible today?

If you go back 10 years and look at the games we were playing in the late '90s, which were a lot of RTS's and RPG's, you can see how much difference 10 years makes! I am certain the next 10 years will see everyone playing games in very different ways to how we play now, whether it's motion controllers, cameras, microphones, etc. The other pretty obvious big change to come is online. We still haven't realized the full potential of online games and I think that's going to take another 2-3 years to come about.

2. How much bigger is the map in Fable II (how many cities/regions)? And how many hours of gameplay time can you put into Fable II?

Fable II is absolutely huge. There are 12 regions and each of those is about the size of the entire world in the first Fable. These regions are also riddled with tombs, caves, dungeons and demon doors. In terms of length of gameplay, if you just play through the core story and don't mind finishing the game as a poor lonely and unpopular hero (having ignored a large number of side quests) then I'd estimate 15-20 hours. Depending on how you play the time will, of course, vary but if you're a completist I'd multiply that basic time by five.

3. In Fable II, I have heard that the world is completely free-roamable, but can you go everywhere from the moment you can set foot outside, like in Oblivion, or will it be more like Fable 1, where you can only go so far without advancing in the main story?

There are places in the Fable II world which are blocked off for dramatic reasons but once you complete the childhood section of the game you are free to explore most of the world any way you like. For example, Brightwood is part of the story thread some way into the game, but you are free to explore this area and activate side quests as soon as you have left the childhood section of the game.

4. Some people were hoping that online PvP would be revealed at E3 this year, possibly in the form of the arena from the first Fable. Do you feel that PvP could work in a game like Fable or do you think the game is better off without it?

I think that would be a fantastic addition to Fable II. It would be cool to fight against other heroes, as everyone's hero will be unique, and fascinating to see and pit yourself against other people's heroes.

5. Will the player be able to choose what breed of dog he or she will have? And can the dog become good/evil and change appearance as the player does? And can the dog die?

Dogs can't die but their appearance does change to reflect your alignment. Its personality also changes according to how you behave. But you can't choose your breed of dog.

6. When you were offered entry into the Order of the British Empire as an Officer, what was your reaction, and are there any benefits of the title?

My main reaction was that somehow they'd got the wrong person and that feeling stayed with me even when I was up at Buckingham Palace with some really amazing people who have been similarly honored and were real heroes. Even though I was certain there had been a mistake, it is a huge honor. Now that I'm an OBE officer, I can get married in St Paul's Cathedral, and I get invited to some very select social and heritage functions.

7. Will there ever be a Black and White 3?

At the moment neither of the projects we're currently working on is related to Black & White. But that's not to say we won't think about it in the future.

8. For all the ambitious feats you attempted in the original Fable, it was the visceral thrills of the combat/spell that made the game so much fun. I'm worried that the one button combat system will turn the game into a button masher. How exactly do you plan to retain the (albeit slight) cerebral joy of combo systems with a single button combat system?

First let me apologize, I've been a bit cheeky using the term one button combat since we've assigned one button each to melee range and magic. So this means if you want to be strategic, you are free to use any combination. For example, you could use the force push spell to throw your opponent in the air, then shoot them when they are mid-air and then strike them with an axe when they hit the ground. The game multiplies experience by the variety and complexity of your combat technique.

9. The aging process in Fable 1 happened in rather abrupt spurts. It seemed to be directly tied to the experience spent, so a trip to the green chamber in the hero's guild could net your character 5-12 years in age over the course of a minute. These jumps made the passage of days within the game feel logically disconnected from the passage of time. I am certainly not suggesting a true 1-day to 1-day ratio of in-game days and character age; however, I am curious as to how you plan to approach the aging process in Fable II, and how smooth of a transition will it be? Would spending a stock pile of experience make your young virile twenty-something hero a silver-haired and wrinkled veteran in one trip? Will my character die of old age? If not, how old will he get until he stops aging?

You do not age by spending experience in Fable II. Rather, you age as you progress through the story. The maximum age you can be in Fable II is around 50 years old and you'll still be pretty fit if you've taken care of yourself.

10. It's said that our memories are partly responsible for our dreams and that our day to day life can affect what sort of dream we have. Working on Fable, Fable TLC and the upcoming Fable II - have you ever had a dream involving the world of Albion?

I have had many of them and some are about the lower moral characters in Albion – probably best not to go into details! Quite a lot of the dreams are about being lost in Albion, which is probably more about development process I suspect. And there was one where I had a pet Balverine!