Edge Online Goes Inside Fable II

Edge Online has kicked up an informative five-page feature that explores Lionhead Studios’ Fable II in great detail. There’s quite a bit of developer commentary scattered within too, so if you haven’t been keeping track of the game previously, this is the article to read:

It would be easy to go into detail on how much more advanced the physical morphing of your character is in Fable II (apparently, the development team realized it may have made a slight error when all of Fable’s reviews featured screenshots of more or less identical evil characters). The biggest change, however, is a simple one: you can now choose your hero’s gender. (That was the main thing I wanted after Fable,) says Copley. (We prided ourselves on our morphing hero and you could be this angelic guy or horrible guy, but you’re always a man, and I wanted to broaden it.) If you were being cynical you might insist this is just a question of skins, but at its most fundamental level Fable is about people reacting to you or, more specifically, to the character you present to them. In the context of Fable II’s emphasis on things like marriage, something as simple as a gender change can alter this paradigm completely and in some ways you might not expect. (We won’t let you quest while you’re pregnant, but we make it very quick it was one of those debates we had: ‘˜Do we want a labour minigame?’) laughs Copley. (It’s about the way you morph, the way you develop yourself, the accessories, the clothes having the choice to be female is about creating something you want to play the game with. You’ve got a whole living situation there that will react to you differently and really tailor the experience. It keeps you on the same journey we’ve carefully crafted, but allows you to really be who you want to be.)

That living situation, even in the few short hours we spent with it, is full of little secrets and caves, but what really makes it living is the constant NPC dialogue. It still has more than a dash of ye olde Fablespeak about it (how could it not?) but the occasionally grating plumminess of the original has been toned down a little and, most importantly, it steers well clear of the pitfalls marked ‘˜forsooth’ and ‘˜verily’. (It’s incredibly easy to write as if you’ve got a massive stick up your arse, incredibly easy, and I’ve seen so many people do that,) says Carter. (Especially in fantasy good god, you can really sound like you’ve got a boner for yourself in three seconds flat.) There’s also no repetition during our time in the town, not a single line, and Molyneux is keen to emphasise that the 120,000 lines of dialogue have been recorded for precisely this reason. Will that bear out after days with the game rather than hours, though? (Honestly? I’m sure there might be some you’ll hear again in your entire play,) says Copley, (but we’ve balanced the stats so heavily, and we’ve so much dialogue that it’s quite unlikely unless you’re hammering the same interaction again and again and again and trying to break it.)

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