When it comes to Peter Molyneux, creator of Black and White and the man behind the popular Fable series, there is no shortage of good ideas. Once known for making outlandish promises that never came to fruition, Molyneux has learned to mitigate his enthusiasm for a feature or a mechanic until testing has proven it feasible.
Unfortunately, with Fable 3, Molyneux hyped and made Lionhead put so much effort into a feature — being able to level your character on the ‘Road to Rule’ — that it ended up distracting from important development duties like refining the final product. Instead of making what was already there better, Lionhead hoped to implement just one more mechanic that might make the concept of leveling your character a bit more fluid.
According to an interview with Gamasutra, Molyneux feels that Fable 3‘s ‘Road to Rule,’ although a wonderfully clever idea, never became what he and his team at Lionhead Studios hoped it would. And, as a result, that last minute push to get the feature right ended up robbing the entire game of some much needed testing time.
“The game came together so late that we had so little time to balance and refine…There was just a few weeks to do it. That meant that what could have been a great mechanic turned out to be a good idea.”
Sure, the ‘Road to Rule’ leveling mechanic — and even being able to make the tough decisions of a king — were great ideas on paper, but when muddied by a somewhat subpar experience they don’t have the impact one might expect.
Thankfully Molyneux has shown himself to be a developer who learns from his mistakes, and vows never to repeat them again. While we don’t suspect that this misstep had anything to do with his motivations to create Fable: The Journey next, it does bode well for the development of the project.
And then, as revealed by Molyneux at E3, gamers will have Fable 4 to look forward to — which is most likely in development as we speak. Molyneux is definitely an idea man, and often times what he delivers is quite unique, we would just like to see his vision make it to retail every time.
Do you agree that certain features in Fable 3 helped bring down the quality of the overall title? How would you like to see Lionhead improve on features introduced in Fable 3 like the ‘Road to Rule?’