Fable III Dev Lobs a Few Word Bombs at the Haters

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Fable III Dev Lobs a Few Word Bombs at the Haters

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The lead combat designer of Fable III goes off on why his game wasn't received better.

By most accounts, including Susan Arendt's, Fable III was no masterpiece. It was good, sure, the game had some great features while others that were just annoying. Both the critical and commercial reception to the game was a collective, "Meh." True to the shining example of Lionhead Studio's fearless leader - Peter Molyneux - lead combat designer Mike West had some choice words for those who didn't like his game, while talking about what PC gamers can expect with the port that is available today.

"Generally what happens when there's any information about Fable or about Peter Molyneux, you get a complete black and white - pardon the pun - split of forum replies. Half of the people, whatever it's about - if Peter has made the most sensible comment about games development ever - just spout obscenities and terrible, ridiculous things," West said.

But it's the people who criticize the story that really bug him. "People saying the story wasn't very good was unfair. It's an interesting situation of you gather people together and then defeating the main bad guy. It's a pretty good story and it's pretty fun," he said.

Part of the problem may be that gamers don't know what they are playing. "It's a frustrating situation to be in because we make good games, but people expect something that no one else is doing," said West. "We're making a co-operative role-playing game - there aren't any co-operative role-playing games out there, we're the only one."

The difference in tone is also something West doesn't think people understood. "[Fable III is] a different type of game: it's more of a fun, comedic TV show than a serious Lord of the Rings film. I think a lot of people that play it think it's a Lord of the Rings - and it isn't.

The vocal talents are something that he wishes got more credit instead of some random FPS. "I'm slightly disappointed we haven't won any audio awards to be honest, because our music's great, our vocal talent's great - and then you'll see a standard shooter get an audio award. I just think that's because they're more popular than us."

So how did it work adapting the game to the PC controls? "We didn't want to make it feel like a port. The main thing was to completely redo the control system. It's a modal system now where you switch between modes and the mouse buttons do different things," he said. "The second big change is the engine, with the high resolution and the 3D as well. Fable and Albion have never looked better for anyone on any machine. The Xbox guys got it first, but the PC guys are going to have a much better version.

"This is definitely the best Fable PC - it's much better than Fable 1," West said.

Well, seeing as there was no PC version of the second game, that's a pretty short list.

Source: Eurogamer

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Greg Tito:
The vocal talents are something that he wishes got more credit instead of some random FPS. "I'm slightly disappointed we haven't won any audio awards to be honest, because our music's great, our vocal talent's great - and then you'll see a standard shooter get an audio award. I just think that's because they're more popular than us."

He speaks the truth!

Honestly, I could care less that some people absolutely hate fable. I think that it is a good game that is made by a developer that puts much more compassion into its games than many developers out there.

Oh, so opinions count as facts do they now, Mike West?

Fable 3's story was awful, as a co-op game there is little to do besides make the already easy combat even easier for another player, and it's not even amusing like the last Fable was. It's really really terrible.

At the end of the day though, it doesn't matter what he says because as soon as Peter wants to start plugging Fable 4 he'll be ripping on Fable 3.

Summary: "Nuh uh! It is good! You're all poo poo heads!"

Greg Tito:
We're making a co-operative role-playing game

Oh ho ho that slaps me on the knee

Whilst I agree on vocal talent (even if the voice of the main female character was bland and flat) and music, I disagree on story. It was dull, predictable and unimaginative. I loved Fable II, but the same can't be said for III, it didn't suck me in, I didn't really like the characters and I traded it in because I couldn't bring myself to finish it.

Co-op was miles better than in Fable II, though.

If it's better than Fable 1 I'll definitely get it. Sure they're not perfect games, but I love how pure FUN they are!

I really want to know if there's any conceivable way to do co-op on PC without buying 2 copies of the game though. Would love to try playing with my girlfriend.

Ah the age old argument of "You just don't get it, man!".
Foolproof.

....Forget what they say, Crawler is the scariest enemy ever seen.

Sure, he does NOTHING to kill you, but the way he is there...Oh god.

In terms of story...I actually like it, but one thing that annoyed me was they keep using the word "Revolution." You are not performing a revolution, you are staging a coup and a damn good one at that. The 2nd part of the game in terms of story is pretty much the best storyline in the fable series.

What are you willing to give up to save your kingdom? Of course it's simply easy to buy every single house and shop, set the rent low and you be raking in the cash faster then you can say "Chicken kickin."

All in All, I just wished to go back to fable style. Become a hero in the guild, fight in quests and get marry or be a insane evil prick.

Andaxay:
Whilst I agree on vocal talent (even if the voice of the main female character was bland and flat) and music, I disagree on story. It was dull, predictable and unimaginative. I loved Fable II, but the same can't be said for III, it didn't suck me in, I didn't really like the characters and I traded it in because I couldn't bring myself to finish it.

Co-op was miles better than in Fable II, though.

Huh, that's about the same story as me.
I just couldn't get as much play out of it as Fable II.
I played through Fable II about four times. I almost played through Fable III twice, but I never finished both times.

That's a whole lot of excuses. Really if Fable 3 didn't have glaring plot flaws, an incredibly rushed third act, any kind of interesting or enjoyable boss battle(at any point, but most particularly the thing at the end- who my friends and I just called 'Mike', as he was about as un-threatening as a monster who only has the power of insults can get,) or the slightest amount of common sense.(Too many to list, but the 100+ day skip to the final battle, certain characters hating you for making one choice they disagree with even after you single-handedly slay every criminal in town, as well as not even fighting off the invasion until it reaches your city- I can't see any reason why the protagonist cannot just stand on the border and cast area magic until all the weak little beasties are taken care of then and there.)

I got Fable 3 because I really liked the concept, it sounded good enough to get over my prejudices over the first 2 games. Unfortunately the ending pretty much totally ruined my experience and left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

I find Lionhead a little embarrassing, not in a horrible way. Its just that they put so much effort and passion into their games that somehow always end up... just plain bad really.
Im sorry they are! I liked the first few games (black and white, Fable the lost chapters The Movies ect) but other than that Black and White 2 and Fable 2/3 were all arguably very poor games with plots significantly weaker than advertised which makes it even more baffling that each time the creators boast about how fantastic its gonna be. Fable 2 was mind blowingly overhyped when really the story was riddled with holes, the combat was flicky and unsatisfying and the levels lacked pacing or structure.

Lionhead complains that gamers don't like their games, which is reportedly because gamers are all stupid and have no taste. But if the majority of your target audience dislike your game then I think the mindset of "Its them who are all mad not me" fails to be practical.

Remake it so it doesnt contain humor that you grew out of at the age of 10 and I might actually like the games.

Is this going to be a new trend? Execs of games that have decent scores and a mild hatedom coming on the internet and throwing a tantrum at gamers and telling them they are wrong? Do we really want the people who make games to look just as stupid and entitled as the truly awful members of their customer base?

Mike West:
This is definitely the best Fable PC - it's much better than Fable 1

Really just his opinion isn't it?

That's a pretty bold claim, that they're the only ones doing co-op in an RPG.
I must have imagined playing Diablo 1 and 2, Baldurs gate 1 and 2, baldurs gate dark alliance, Icewind Dale, Titan Quest, Guild Wars, Phantasy Star Online, Dungeon Siege 1 and 2, Neverwinter Nights, Sacred, and any MMORPG I've ever played with a friend.

So... people dont love your game because they're just stupid is sorta what your saying? Fable the Lost Chapters waas great, loved the hell out of it, very fond memories. Fable II was a pretty fair disappointment after following all the hype and very little of it coming true. Fable III was exactly what the article said, meh. The vocal work is truely great and they should be applauded for it. The art styles fantastic and the story does have a number of interesting bits. Problem is they manage to fuck up ALOT. The lead combat designer should be appologising for being a main problem with the last two games. Its smooth, but really boring and just badly designed. Alot of things have no depth, they're all cookie cutter things, easily removed or added in with no impact.

I do love the arguement though, "Its not well recieved because people dont understand what type of game it is." Oh contrare monfrare, we understand exactly. Its a very disappointing massive waste of potential type of game

AC10:
Ah the age old argument of "You just don't get it, man!".
Foolproof.

That pretty much sums it up. If people don't like your game, don't get whiny and defensive and start talking about how the game industry is a mainstream popularity contest - just work to improve your game for the next time. Although perhaps too much "improvement" is Fable's problem - the franchise has been steadily declining since Fable 1. Remember when we had real boss battles guys?

Diligent:
That's a pretty bold claim, that they're the only ones doing co-op in an RPG.

Can you really even call it a co-op RPG? Like sure, you can play online with another person, but considering that the multiplayer is so frustrating (not least in part due to the camera) that I doubt anyone played it with a friend for any longer than the five minutes it takes to get multiplayer achievements. Fable's a single player game and we all know it.

So calling a bad story bad is being unfair now? I'll definitely keep that in mind. It is an interesting scenario but that does not a good story make. It's slightly hampered by its complete inability to make me give a shit. Also doesn't help that you force my character to make retarded decisions. What if I want to roleplay as a reasonable leader? That option is conspicuously missing. Gaming the system is the only smart choice possible.

Mister West should feel blessed that his mediocre at best games consistently receive far more praise and attention than they deserve.

Hubris: the weakness of many a developer.

Don't criticize your audience. If they don't like your product, it's you who failed to deliver something compliant to their standards, not them choosing to not like a game they have no reason to hate.

My opinion about this seems to be the same as everyone else, this seems like a lot of opinions beings called facts. The story wasn't bad, and that plot twist that explains your brother's tyrannical behavior was actually fairly awesome, it was just that a lot of the big moments felt kind of weak. The end game was pretty easy and was mostly just a short walk through part of the town, though that part I could live with. The part that really disappointed me was the Revolution. The actually one had some cool moments, but the fighting actually seemed fairly small scale. Maybe I my judgment for how epic the revolution would be was swayed by the trailer, which even though it didn't show much, made me think something more epic would happen.
The game wasn't terrible, but sadly I still like the first one better, and that's not just nostalgia. I've gone back and played the game in the past two years. If everything they have done in the third game remained the same but the fighting system returned to the first game's system, I would be happy.

MasochisticMuse:
That pretty much sums it up. If people don't like your game, don't get whiny and defensive and start talking about how the game industry is a mainstream popularity contest, just work to improve your game for the next time. Although perhaps too much "improvement" is Fable's problem - the franchise has been steadily declining since Fable 1. Remember when we had real boss battles guys?

Kind of. Those battles weren't that hard, especially Jack of Blades. In the first one (I never had untold chapters) that final fight was sad. I still enjoyed the hell out of the first game.

A shame a lot of people didn't like Fable III. I found it quite fun. It did have flaws, but they didn't take away much for me.

But going out, and in escense saying "You just don't get it" to your fans is not the way to go.

Still, the latest Fable 3 DLC looks to set the stage of Fable 4, which is a nice idea in my opinion.

I'm sorry, was the story supposed to be great? Really all I noticed were quite a few similarities to Dragon Age Origins' story and then wondering at the end why people couldn't just deal with my "evil" decisions so that we would all survive.

Greg Tito:
The difference in tone is also something West doesn't think people understood. "[Fable III is] a different type of game: it's more of a fun, comedic TV show than a serious Lord of the Rings film. I think a lot of people that play it think it's a Lord of the Rings - and it isn't.

This has always been the biggest problem with the franchise to my mind.

But that isn't the fault of the consumer, it's the fault of the devs and the marketing department. They continually refuse to address it in any real sense. None of the trailers, none of the art, none of the discussion for any Fable game ever suggests that it would be anything but a typical, totally serious RPG. Hell, the trailers and promotion for Fable 3 made it look like it would be more serious, gritty, and realistic than the previous games.

...he's joking, right?

This is some clever satire of arrogant developers...right?

...right?

He can't possibly be serious with this shit...

The game simply sucked, especially with the King session.

How come I cannot postpone the good decisions AFTER I have defeated this evil corrupting force? What's the point to celebrate for one year before winding up dead?

It was a mediocre game with idiotic binary choices. I really lost all respect and hope in this franchise. I am one of these types that does everything in a game, as well with Fable.

Nothing is satisfying. No focused content.

The best part of Fable 3 was when you first encounter the crawler. It actually got pretty badass and was a definite mood change to what I had been playing thus far. I got a bit excited thinking it was an actual plot twist; I was sadly wrong as the whole crawler stuff became nothing more than a footnote for me to go stomp out after I'd taken over the kingdom.

I think the game really improved on it's combat system from Fable 2, unfortunately it's story still suffers from lack of attention.

I have a question for the dev who said all that though, wtf do you mean co-op RPG? Are you saying I wasn't supposed to play it as a single player game and that any lack of enjoyment I experienced was because I didn't have a buddy playing it with me? Yeah sorry mate you sound like you're being a whiny d-bag saying it's our fault for not enjoying the game. Instead of taking the high and mighty "but we're so much better! You guys just don't understand us!" route I think it might be time to step back and actually take into consideration what people don't like about your game. I understand perfectly it's supposed to be a tongue in cheek commentary on the fantasy genre, it just needs to be better.

Having played 2 and some of 3 on a friends xbox I can say if the combat gets any easier it will be a kinect game that registers that you are sitting in front of the screen and will play it's self so long as it knows you're watching.

No one wants simple controls every one wants easy to learn hard to master controls and gameplay, this isn't a fighter it isn't stepping into the timed half circle sweeps cancel into something else. I will say it again every casualized game is an insult to gamers intelligence, so give it up and stop basing things for people who will play the game for a little bit and then go back to farmville.

A developer should never blame the customer for not enjoying their product.
If people came away unsatisfied, it is the developer/Publishers fault for making either a sub par game or misleading people about the games content.

And strangely, this is becoming a trend among stuck up developers. I remember the Dragon Age 2 team blamed RPG fans for not accepting their "genius" and the lead writer Gaider outright insulted people by calling them childish names.

Now, that said, I liked Fable 3. I went in with pretty low standards and only really had fun because my girlfriend absolutely loves the franchise, and so its one of the few games we can play together.
The story was garbage, though I don't know why anyone hopes for better with Lionhead anymore.
The gameplay was passable.
The world was small and linear, again.

But dammit, the game is charming. I do love the look and humor of Fable. It's very unique, and so I cant help but like Fable.

Still, importantly, this developer is out of order. Your game was poor overall. Get over it. Make better games in future.

Ham Blitz:

MasochisticMuse:
Snip

Kind of. Those battles weren't that hard, especially Jack of Blades. In the first one (I never had untold chapters) that final fight was sad. I still enjoyed the hell out of the first game.

No, it wasn't that hard, but it was definitely an ending that left you with the satisfied feeling that the game was over and wrapped up - unlike Fable 2 where you kick the game's big baddie off a cliff with a single button push, or in Fable 3 where you dispatch the evil "darkness" (which was only introduced to you in the last five minutes of the game) by throwing a bunch of money at it. Plus Fable 1 had a bunch of interesting little mini bosses throughout the game like Twinblade, the White Balverine, the Arena (which included trolls, Whisper, and a giantass scorpion), Maze, and the Kraken. Maze was also the only character betrayal twist that ever took me by surprise in a video game, though that may be largely due to the fact that I was 12 years old at the time.

If I ever have to write a story I'll remember the mark of quality of a great story is nothing but, "gather people together and then defeat the main bad guy."

Gamers don't know what they are playing? Sorry but no matter how much you polish a turd its still going to stink.

As for them being the only company to make "co-op rpgs" sorry but there is Eternal Sonata, Dungeon Lords, Baldur's Gate 1 and 2, Icewind Dale 1 and 2, Dungeon Siege 1 and 2, Neverwinter Nights 1 and 2, Diablo 1 and 2, Sacred 1 and 2, Titan Quest, Borderlands (It's about as RPG-ish as Fable is), Secret of Mana. Those are all that I can think of right now, I'm sure there are more.

I don't think anyone really takes the Fable series as serious as LOTR since the only way to communicate with npcs is by farting, dancing, or some other stupid gesture the developers thought would get a cheap laugh the first 500 times doing it.

Without a PC demo Fable 3 is still on my do not buy list because usually when a demo for PC gets canned it screams crappy port.

You start of in the game with a dog, girlfriend and brother which the game expects you do care for, just like that!
And the game comes to a brutal end, with you sleeping for half a month after gathered enough money to raise an army (which you never see btw...) and killing some piss-easy boss.

And while the missing boss fight worked in Fable 2, there was nothing to compensate for it in the third game. No mysterious story, no emotions no anything!

Everything in between the beginning and the end also somehow seemed bland and boring... Enough to stop a friend and I from completing it Coop halfway through... And we have completed both Kaine and Lynch1+2 and Army of 2+ 40. day... So yeah... It was pretty damn bad!!

Yeah, this is pretty whiny on his part. Ill give him credit however, in that he was the combat designer, and I have no complaints about the combat. And I may even give you one on having good audio...but hes still being whiny. The biggest problem with the story, for example, is that they were knocking on the door of something absolutely great...and then decided to fail miserably instead. My biggest problem with it was that it teased you with the possibility of a real, compelling moral choice system, and then crashed into the utterly generic, lifeless, and dull. Just man up, figure out what you could do better, and move on. Don't blame your fans for not likeing the game. Either they have a real issue that you shouldn't undermine, or they are trolls, which will only end poorly for you if you feed them.

I've only ever played the first Fable, but I have to say: he makes a lot of sense. I feel for them. The criticisms that are heaped on the game seem so unfair, and I think a big part of the problem is, as he says, the fact people are judging it based on parameters it doesn't set out for. More than that, they strive to be an open and accessible game, but games journalists are anything but casual gamers, and always review through a certain lens that makes them have particular expectations and demands that wont be what most people want in game.

For what it's worth I'll grab up Fable III BECAUSE, like he said, it's pretty much the only co-op RPG out there. But I'll be waiting until it goes on sale because, hey, it has Games for Windows Live and I'm not a saint.

Played it.
Beat it.
Didn't like it.

Then again my views are likely flawed since I've only ever played the Xbox version. Either way, it wasn't even the combat that broke it for me: it was how limited the NPC interaction had become added to the cumbersome new sanctuary menus. I need to find my old copy of the original Fable but until I can, all I'm really qualified to say is how Fable 3 was about one step to the left and a hop behind Fable 2.

...

I did like duel-casting magic though: that was great. Also, I don't feel like a good King knowing that after the final events of the game, my people are all knee-deep in children and alcohol (almost all of them drunk 24 hours a day)

Oh my god. They're children! They're man children who can't accept that people didn't like their game!

ManChild:
It's a pretty good story and it's pretty fun

No! It's not! It's cliche-ridden shit!

We're making a co-operative role-playing game - there aren't any co-operative role-playing games out there, we're the only one.

With about as much cooperation and role-playing as a game of Halo.

"[Fable III is] a different type of game: it's more of a fun, comedic TV show than a serious Lord of the Rings film. I think a lot of people that play it think it's a Lord of the Rings - and it isn't.

People understand that just fine. That was one of the few things that I gave legitimate praise to.

I'm slightly disappointed we haven't won any audio awards to be honest, because our music's great, our vocal talent's great - and then you'll see a standard shooter get an audio award. I just think that's because they're more popular than us.

I'll let the arrogance of this slide just because the ignorance of reality here is so much easier to criticize. There was nothing special about the sound effects or the voice acting in this game.

If I bother with any more, I might just enter a blood frenzy.

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