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E3 '10: Fable 3

Choice and consequence. These are the hallmarks of the Fable franchise and is one of the reasons I enjoy the series so much. One of my first E3 appointments was a chance to see Fable 3 demoed for me by the inimitable Peter Molyneux and once again, choice and consequence play a huge part in the player experience Yet, Fable 3 takes the concept of the original two games and expands on it, creating an entirely different experience entirely for the player.

Fable 3 brings you back to Albion and once again you are "The Hero," but this time, instead of straight up adventuring, you will work to become the king of Albion and then rule it. If you are fortunate enough to have a Fable 2 saved game on your hard drive, your hero will be the son or daughter of the hero you played in that game. Parts of the story and game will also be influenced by the final decision you made at the end of 2.

For the first half of the game, your main focus will be to gather enough followers to eventually overthrow the evil Logan who rules Albion with an iron fist, turning the once beautiful land into a miserable, industrial wasteland. Logan also happens to be your brother.


What Lionhead has done here is taken the gestures and of the original games and given them purpose and meaning. These gestures, good or bad, will have en effect on the way people react to you and whether or not they want to follow you and join in your revolution. Followers can be gained by threats and manipulation or by kindness. Marrying into society can gain you followers while pushing children down in the street can cause people to not like you so much. Threatening people can also bring you followers albeit more out of fear than of love.

Once the kingdom is under your control, the second half of the game becomes all about ruling your kingdom. How you decide to rule is your choice but don't forget all the little people who helped you along the way. Remember that promise you made to that farmer to give him a tract of land if you become king? Well he didn't and eventually he'l be back to claim his stake. Are you going to make good on that promise, or leave him to his fate? Whichever you choose will have a bearing on how your subjects perceive you, so rule carefully.

One question that has been on many minds around this site is the inclusion of same sex marriages. The answer is yes, same sex marriages will still be in place and you can rule your land as King and King or Queen and Queen if you so choose. You will also be able to adopt children from the local orphanage, but be careful: get a divorce and the little ankle biters may end up back in the orphanage. In a little twist on Fable 2, you can once again invite other players into your Fable world, but this time you can actually marry them (and have babies with them as well)! And in a much needed mechanic, the multiplayer aspect will be played via a split screen so both players may explore the world as they choose.

One of the main improvements of the game is a complete overhaul of the menu system, what Peter called "The worst 2D GUI ever made." When pressing the pause button you are no longer taken to an endless number of lists and words. Now, everything is visual and action based. Pausing will take you to your sanctuary occupied by your butler, voiced by John Cleese. All clothing and the various weapons are now chosen from a room full of statues, each bearing a different item. You can mix and match parts if you choose, but no more running through lists and cards. This is undoubtedly a huge improvement and one that needed to happen long ago. From here you will also be able to access an updated and much easier to navigate map system that will allow you to find your family and other towns much easier.

Weapons in the game have changed as well. Upon picking up a new weapon, it automatically begins morphing itself to your fighting style. Once you have used a weapon for a while you can feel free to sell or trade it to someone online and then perhaps buy it back again later once it is imbued with all the things someone else has put into it. It sounds a little confusing and I'm not exactly sure how the weapon will change other than visually, but it is an interesting concept that I am anxious to see in action.

Another exciting feature is the ability to pull off multiple weapon attacks by using button combinations. Fable has always prided itself on the one button attack system, but this addition is most welcome. Similarly, you can now dual wield your magical powers via gauntlets worn by your player. As in Bioshock, you can actually combine your magic abilities for a real one two punch. Is that whirlwind not quite doing the trick? Add some fire to it and you'll be sure to send the enemy running.

Fable 3 looks to be much improved in gameplay as well as graphically over Fable 2 and it's good to see Lionhead thinking beyond the scope of solid adventuring. Don't worry, there will still be plenty of questing involved, but the chance to rule an entire king and all that entails is quite intriguing and I look forward to seeing how it all plays out when it launches on October 26, 2010.

7 Comments

Pauwow said:

I played the first 2 and I always felt like I didn't get all the gameplay possible out of them. I think I will be buying this one this time.

Paul said:

Just to clarify, can same-sex couples adopt in the game? Or just mixed-sex couples?

Pauwow said:

@Paul, That's a great question, I never tried too much the dating options on Fable but it will be nice being treated equally at least on a fantasy world!

Nexus said:

Still no explanation on how my gay character from the last game got a son or daughter.
Although I suppose they could say that your Fable 3 hero was adopted as well.

Feri Zsolnai said:

One day I hope I'll understand why people think Peter Molyneux is a genius. I've played Black and White, Fable, and I tried Fable 2, and this last one was more stereotypical and shallow than anything I've played before. It wasn't pretty, either, just think about the horrible water effects.
PM has a very strong marketing talent ans using that he can make people believe that his games are highly innovative and original When he pitched Fable 3, he was talking about the brand new game mechanic nobody has ever seen before (not even the likes of it!) called Touch. It means, you can grab the hand of an NPC and make them come along with you. Really, it only sounds familiar to me from Ico. No, wait, he even mentioned that he got the idea when he played Ico (although he pronounced it as if it was an English word). It was all the same when he pitched Fable 2, then the game mechanic nobody has ever seen before was called Love. Meaning, you'll have a dog in the game. I mean, a pet. Highly original, really.

His stories are shallow and uninteresting, and his games are typical action RPG's. If the Japanese come out with a title such as Fable 2, westerners usually say it's mediocre. If PM does the same, it's perfect, original, innovative and sacrosant.

I'm sorry if I hurt someone with this, it's not my intention (unless it's Peter Molyneux), I just really really really don't understand the hype.

Dragonrose said:

@Feri Zsolnai

While I agree with you on the Fable franchise, the Black and White franchise is like no other. Sure, you could say it's like sims or sims city or some other strategy/micromanagement game out there, except...well, except it's not, is it?

The Black and White games are what mostly made Peter Molyneux a genius, and perhaps a game that is less known called Theme Hospital (if memory serves me right).

Feri Zsolnai said:

OK, Black and White was innovative, but ever since then he only makes action rpg's mixed up with tamagotchi and no story, and he still shows off himself as if he was everyone's favourite.

And girls who like girls who like rumble packs!

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Feri Zsolnai on E3 '10: Fable 3: OK, Black and White was innovative, but ever since then he only makes action rpg's mixed up with tamagotchi and...

Dragonrose on E3 '10: Fable 3: @Feri Zsolnai While I agree with you on the Fable franchise, the Black and White franchise is like no other....

Feri Zsolnai on E3 '10: Fable 3: One day I hope I'll understand why people think Peter Molyneux is a genius. I've played Black and White, Fable,...

Nexus on E3 '10: Fable 3: Still no explanation on how my gay character from the last game got a son or daughter. Although I suppose...

Pauwow on E3 '10: Fable 3: @Paul, That's a great question, I never tried too much the dating options on Fable but it will be nice...

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