Continue of Fable III info #3

IGN AU: It's fundamental – the mechanics behind that. Natal is different by its nature – but it's the concept and intentions behind it that are key.

Peter Molyneux: The interesting thing about touch that you really discover its worth once you implement it. You can grab someone – really grab them and drag them, or hold their hand, when you're passing judgement on someone as a king, you can literally grab them and throw them in the dungeon. And because you can do that to someone, with them kicking and fighting against you, it just feels a lot more emotional and ethical that just pressing 'B'. It just does. And you're right about that connection with Milo.

IGN AU: I guess, related to ethics, few adventure games and RPGs have truly done politics well. I mean, there are strategy games that use elements of this, but it's difficult to convey realistically the nuances of political manoeuvring. Mostly it's just been cause and effect. In Fable III, it sounds like you're loosening the choker a bit; can characters challenge you for rule, create risings, revolutions and anarchy, for instance? Can the game push back at you, if you're pushing one way?

Peter Molyneux:
Okay, so – yes, is the answer to all of those things. The beauty of this mechanic and the judgement mechanic is that it enables you as a player to get involved in whatever area you'd like to get involved in. So whether you're passing judgement on a small case about a loaf of bread or whether it be a big case about this community should go under military rule, you can decide 'no, I'm going to go out there as king and sort it all out'.

IGN AU: You're the 'active' king.

Peter Molyneux:
Exactly. You can be an active or a passive ruler. Or you can say 'my judgement is...' –and I need to be very careful about how I say this, because of spoilers—'one of my advisors is going to go out there and sort it out for me.' And I would just say to you, 'be careful, man – power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.'
Molyneux wants to create a convincing politicial atmosphere that goes beyond the usual transparency and predictability of cause and effect.
You know that element from Fable 1 and Fable II that we had called 'Renown'? That is super-important now! It's related entirely to what the people think of you and your rule. And if your renown goes too low, don't expect them to just sit there and take it, man!

IGN AU: I want to see some pitchforks and burning stakes!

Peter Molyneux:
Exactly! Exactly. And also, when you become king, don't expect it to be all that simple.

IGN AU: That's an interesting point too. We know now that the player can choose to be an active king or a passive king. And this all needs to be directly related to gameplay – and this is also a Fable game, so it needs to revolve around combat and it needs to be fun. So where you have diplomacy and politics on one side, you need to have combat and spells on the other. Ultimately, how do you explain to the player a king or queen taking up the sword and diving into combat? Does it still work like that?

Peter Molyneux:
Well, a huge amount of what we did with the mechanics in Fable III are inspired by actual events. Take Richard the Lionheart, for example. He chose to go out to the middle east to lead his troops through the crusades. Back home, King John was trying to usurp him – and Robin Hood was there as a rebel... that's the sort of thing I love.

IGN AU: So we can expect a framework of real historical events as your building blocks.

Peter Molyneux:
Yeah, and if you look at the history of Amman in Jordan, the two brothers – it's well worth looking at that stuff as well. That's almost a spoiler. Look at Henry the VIII – not only did he have six wives, but he also threw all religion out of the country and reinvented it. And, he taxed people enormously heavily; that's where the 'window tax' came from – taxing peoples' windows in their houses – and he used five percent of that total tax income just on his wine cellar!

IGN AU: That bastard! ...But I bet there were some incredible bottles in that collection.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Lionhead's other major project, Milo and Kate, also incorporates elements of dynamic interaction. It's a common thread at Lionhead, it seems.

Peter Molyneux: [Laughs] Yeah, I wish I had just a sample of some of that stuff! But we look at that kind of stuff. And it's easy to just look at Henry the VIII and say, yeah, he's just a king. But he could also be viewed as being hugely immoral! He was running the whole of England for one purpose: his own pleasure.

IGN AU: Sounds like another recent US President...

Peter Molyneux:
Well! I don't want to get too political and contentious, but - why is it that all these politicians and leaders, juntas, revolutionaries and rebels promise so much just to get into power – and then deliver so little?

IGN AU: Backpedal, backpedal, backpedal. And right now, in most nations it's a case of the people still living in fear of their government, rather than the other way around. Anyway, a bit of a tangent, but – this, Lionhead, is really just a series of passion projects for you. A way to do something constructive about something you clearly love.

Peter Molyneux:
Yeah, exactly. It's strange, but it comes back to emotion. If you're playing a game and you recognise some elements in that game world, it brings back that instant connection. I am reading a book called 'One Second After', which is about the destruction of America by the dropping of an EMP bomb.