Peter Molyneux Interview

GameDaily had the chance to interview Lionhead’s Peter Molyneux about Fable, Fable II, and life in general.

2. When you kicked off the visual development process to the design team at Lionhead to begin working on Fable 1 and then Fable II, what were the key design philosophies and inspirations you asked them to take from when designing the world? Is the style of the characters and environments in Fable II being taken from one particular artist, or is the team drawing from a blend of movie references, books, or established style guides?

Actually I’d like to hand this question over to John McCormack, Fable IIs Art Director. JM explains the aesthetic philosophy behind the Fable franchise was our natural desire to create a world based on “fairy tales” rather than the usual “dungeons and dragons/ traditional fantasy” fare. We wanted to live in the worlds of “The StoryTeller” (80’s Jim Henson TV production starring John Hurt), “The Company of Wolves,” “Labyrinth,” “Dark Crystal,” “Jabberwocky” and “Sleepy Hollow” and carve out a little place of our own that felt like it had its own history, its own stories and was distinctly European within the RPG genre.

We wanted to create a similar atmosphere to these influences that would allow us to have some emotional polarisation in the experience whereby the player would feel safe, amused and happy with his family and all the other villagers in his little hamlet, but when he walks into the woods the tone would become very dark indeed. This became the driving force behind much of the art direction of the game along with our desire to “rethink” all the “easy” ideas for creatures, characters, abilities and locations and rebuild them from their emotional core, upwards.

When the art team were all up to speed and on board with the direction we were taking, it was then the time to face some serious challenges. Another part of the visual direction of the game was to make our little world feel alive and dynamic, so, along with adding secondary motion to much of the on screen art (the screen constantly shifts in light values, wind direction, etc), we had to develop each region, character and even prop with the ability to change over time… be that with aging, rotting or growing.

The world of Fable will always be one of colour, dynamism, humour, darkness and freedom and there are plenty of stories left to tell… and more directions and developments in the aesthetic to come, I hope.

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