In our "15 Coolest Games of Fall 2008" slideshow, we describe Lionhead's Fable 2 as "a colonial-era fantasy" in which you can have sex (safe or not), get hitched, raise kids, train pet dogs, battle eldritch critters, follow bread-crumb trails if you're ever lost, and -- depending on whether you're naughty or nice -- exhibit "good" or "evil" physical traits while grappling with the long term repercussions of even the most innocuous actions.
Turns out that's hardly scratching the surface.
Peter Molyneux is one of the industry's most respected figures, the creative force behind genre-defining games like Populous, Dungeon Keeper, and Black & White. He was inducted into the AIAS Hall of Fame in 2004, and holds an OBE (Order of the British Empire). His first Fable game debuted in 2004, eventually winning more than fifty awards and going on to sell over 2.5 million copies worldwide.
We caught up with Molyneux to talk about Fable 2 at his Guildford, Surrey, UK studio recently. (This is Part One -- Part Two, Part Three)
Game On: How are you?
Peter Molyneux: I'm fine, I'm in seventh heaven, because Fable 2's finished, and it's due out in six days time, and that's a pretty exciting place to be.
GO: Well I have to tell you, we'll have to wrap this up in like five minutes so I can get back to playing it.
PM: So how far have you got?
GO: I'm at the part where... [spoilers excised] ...and win their respect, but I have gotten married, and I have a kid.
PM: Oh my gosh, you're going to have to...there's an interesting thing that's coming up soon, and you're going to realize that getting married early in the game... [spoilers excised] Because even though you've done a lot of things already, really I think the game starts now...and you're going to come out the other side of this experience and realize that there really is a game there, and a lot of stuff up to that point has been left up to you. You know, it's up to you whether or not you get married, how wealthy you are and such.
How much money have you got, can you remember?
GO: I'm not exactly sure, because I've been spending it on titles and things like that, you know, just sort of pushing the different edges of things around to see what they do. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 12,000 gold pieces?
PM: Have you bought any houses or shops yet?
GO: Yep, the marital suite in Rookridge, aka the dilapidated one-story farm house up the lane from the pub beside the carrot field.
PM: Because if you buy a shop or buy a house then rent it out, then you accrue gold every five minutes, whether or not you've got your 360 on. So you will be earning money, even though we're talking on the phone now.
That is a whole area of the game which I personally get fanatical about. I think "I'm not going to stop playing until I own another property, because I'm going to go to bed and when I wake up in the morning I'm going to have like 5,000 gold more. And you start getting more...I find myself starting to get really greedy, and wanting to own things, and put the rent up, just because I'm going to go to bed. It's a fantastic feeling to come down to the game and think you've got all this money.