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Fable II is a role playing game exclusively for the Xbox 360, which was developed by Lionhead Studios and was published by Microsoft Game Studios. It is a sequel to Fable and Fable: The Lost Chapters. Announced in 2006, the game will takes place in Albion, 500 years after Fable's setting, in a colonial era resembling the time of highwaymen or the Enlightenment. Guns are still primitive, and the entire area is broken into 20 large regions and more developed (large castles and cities in the place of towns). Unlike in the original, the player may choose to be either male or female.
Fable II enhances the innovative system of morphing one's character based on their actions. Character morphing revolves around two main alignments: Good and Evil. New aspects of the character alignment system include corruption, purity, kindness, and cruelty which will enhance a character's features. Purity and Corruption are more representative of what your character is like socially. You can be good but a loner, or unpopular socially, or you can be evil but really charming, etc.
Announced at E3 2007, all melee combat takes place on the X button. All ranged combat runs on the Y button and magic on the B button. Flourishes will be shown in a different perspective and time will slow down to show finishing moves. Moves done in melee combat are also dependent on where the player is located. For example, if a player is on top of a tower, pressing the X button may cause the player to throw a certain enemy off of the tower rather than attack with a weapon. If an enemy is above the player, such as on stairs, they have a tactical advantage . Also, the X06 edition with a currently incomplete combat engine shows that the player can use the environment which leads to different combat reaches. The character can get into a bar fight shown in the combat demo (the first tested engine). A player's combat style will change according to the kind of weapon they're using. The player can also unlock more skills and combos with particular weapons as they become better at fighting. While using a gun, the player can aim more accurately by using a crosshair.
There are multiple different weapon types: guns, axes, swords, hammers, staves and maces. It has been confirmed on the Lionhead blogs that the longbows will not be in Fable II due to the appearance of guns in Albion. However, crossbows will still be available.
The player will encounter a pet dog that will stay with him or her for the rest of the game. Molyneux has stated that the dog is an entity that will get the player to care, to experience love or hatred, when he announced this feature at the GDC 2007. Every dog will be unique in some way and morph depending on a variety of factors, such as the player's alignment. The dog will assist the player by performing a variety of tasks. The dog can alert the player to threats without alerting enemies of the player's presence. In performing this task, the dog has replaced the mini-map which was present in Fable. The dog can also attack whichever enemy the player is most vulnerable to. The enemy chosen will depend on various factors, for instance, which weapon the player has drawn. For example, there are two enemies ahead, one has a gun and one has a sword. If the player decides to attack with a sword they would be vulnerable to the enemy with the gun, so the dog would attack the gunman, and vice versa. In a recent interview and game demonstration Molyneux showed some of the interactions players can have with their dog, including buying toys, playing fetch and rewarding or punishing their dogs for their actions. The dog will morph according to the player's alignment; A pleasant character's dog will appear pleasant while an evil character's dog will appear scary.
Obeying three main laws (do not irritate the player, unconditionally love the player and self-preservation), the dog features advanced AI. Although the dog is not directly controllable, it will respond to the player's actions; moving to attack will bring it to attack, running somewhere will have the dog run. Behavior is context-specific, and the dog will stay much closer in towns or when the player is hurt in battle. If the player goes to a shop the dog will wait outside until the player leaves the shop. He is, to a degree, trainable using expressions.
Molyneux also revealed that if the player does not want a dog, they have to run away from it; preferably when it is injured, although the dog will track down the player, causing him or her to run away again. One example given is of the dog being injured and the player leaves and goes to the pub, later there will be a scratching at the door. Someone will open the door for it and observers will react negatively upon seeing the abused dog faithfully return to its undeserving owner.
The initial design was for the player character to die for good when he or she was defeated, and have the character's children take over as being playable (if they had any). This did not work, however, as playtesters harvested children as dozens of extra lives, prompting Lionhead developers to create another new "death" system.
The second design was that the player's character would not die upon defeat. Rather, he or she would fall unconscious once he or she loses all of his or her health. The enemies would then injure the character while they were unconscious by beating, kicking or stabbing them, which would have left permanent and humiliating scars. Falling unconscious could be avoided with one of three sacrifices: gold, reputation or experience gained.
At GDC 08, Peter Molyneux indicated in interviews that the design for death had changed due to player feedback during play testing. It was found that players would rather turn off their console than subject their character to permanent disfigurement.
Though no replacement design was known, on the 24th of June 2008, Dene Carter, creative director of Fable II, revealed the new design. Upon losing all health, the hero falls and loses an unspecified amount of experience. This experience is exchanged for a 'burst' of energy, allowing one last 'heroic struggle' in which the player rises to their feet and knocks all enemies away, leaving the player momentarily safe from harm. The area is not reset and the player does not replay the scene upon death, they simply carry on from the moment of death.
The family aspect of the Fable series will be further built upon, around the love and emotion themes touted by Molyneux. This was demonstrated in the GDC '08 demo, where Peter's female character returned to her home, greeted by a small child and her husband.
The sex aspect, relatively unimportant in the first game, has also been built upon significantly. Players will be able to choose to have protected or unprotected sex, and by extension choose whether or not to have a child. Female player characters also by extension will become pregnant, and they will also undergo the relevant physical changes. Sex will, however, fade-to-black as in Fable.
The player's child or children will look upon the player as an example and will also follow their alignment, looks, etc. A player's family can also be killed by a henchman co-op player, only if friendly fire is made active by the host player.
Same-sex marriages, as in the first game, will be possible.
Albion is 10 times the size from the original game with 20 fully free-roaming regions and roughly 30 dungeons to explore. There are around 100 augmentable weapons, 70 augmentable clothes, and 20 different tattoos and haircuts. There are only eight basic spell types, but they are upgradeable to varying degrees, allowing for around 80 spells. There is more than 160,000 lines of "AI-driven dialogue", over 150 unique quests and more than 6 minigames. While Molyneux has stated that the player can complete the main story in 12 hours if they rush through it, it would take much longer to complete everything in the game.
There are limited cutscenes in the game, one in the beginning which lasts approximately 1 minute. There are 'points of interest' that a character may focus on by the press of a button, similar to the feature in Gears of War. There are also interactive cutscenes in which a player can use their expressions during the dialogue (such as laugh when a character reveals a sad story) or even run away from the scene, thus skipping it.
A co-op mode was announced and shown at the 2008 GDC. The mode of co-op is somewhat similar to that of LEGO Star Wars; in that players will be able to drop in and out of other player's games at will. The host player can set certain rules; e.g. how loot gained is split between the players and if friendly fire is active or not. Guest players will get an hourly rate of pay for helping the host out. Guest players can keep all the gold and experience they earn to take back with them into their own game world. Molyneux demonstrated the possible consequences of active friendly fire in the GDC demo; the "henchman" player killed his character's husband, leaving his (female) character's son an orphan. Molyneux mentioned that the player will be able to visit his/her son/daughter in the town orphanage, however to also expect the child's disposition to possibly go to the extreme of resentment. Molyneux demonstrated this as a degree of the freedom available in the game. The actions of the henchman player are permanent in the host player's game, so killed NPCs will not be revived. Also, the henchman player's dog will not be able to join the host player's game. Molyneux also mentioned that the host player will be able to give items to any visitors that enter their world during co-op.
It has been hinted at repeatedly for some time after the show casing of "couch co-op" at the GDC that there may be a multiplayer element. After months of hinting and speculation on the Fable 2 forums at Lionhead's website an interview was posted where Peter Molyneux said that Fable 2 did indeed have some sort of online interaction and that it would be something that has never been done before as far as he knows.
The world in Fable II is fully dynamic. For instance, the player is able to jump over fences and climb certain objects. The player is not assigned a set path or quest to follow. Since the game takes place over a hero's lifetime, many things will change; Molyneux gave an example of a trade camp that the player could either help or destroy. Trading in such camps would increase their profit, resulting in a small town growing around them, while stealing from the camp or massacring the camp will result in the abandonment of the area. Additionally, every accessible property (properties that can be entered by the player) in the world is ownable by the player, often unlocking further content such as quests. Molyneux also announced that players will be able to purchase furniture and fully customize their houses and property. Titles will be awarded for buying property; if one were to buy every building and piece of land in a town, they may become known as the mayor, king, and eventually emperor of the entire land of Albion.
The environment in Fable II features trees with branches and leaves that are individually animated according to their own unique physics, each tree having roughly 120,000 leaves. There are also around 15 million poppies, a common flower, in Albion.
Fable II Pub Games
Fable II Pub Games is an Xbox Live Arcade game with three minigames included called Keystone, Spinnerbox and Fortune's Tower to be released in August, a few weeks before the release of Fable II. They are unique in that they share functionality with Fable II and all three games will allow players to potentially become rich before even owning the main game. The games are being developed by Carbonated Games and will also be featured in Fable II as pub games. Fable II Pub Games will be free for those who pre-order Fable II.
Just as Lionhead has done with The Movies, online competitions were made available through Lionhead's forums. One such competition was naming a title to be used in the game, similar to the first game wherein a character was addressed by various titles that the character purchased from a "Title Vendor" Lionhead has stated these titles will be bought but they have to be earned first. They are bought from a town crier in Fable II; the winning title was Lionheart. An "insult the hero" competition is also taking place and the winner is yet to be announced. On May 30, Lionhead held a competition for artwork that would be used in the game. October 1 is the rumored date for the game to be released because Peter Molyneux puts a rectangle around the word october in video diary 6.
On May 24, 2007, episode one of The Lionhead Diaries, examining the love and emotion aspect of Fable II.
On July 30, 2007, episode two was released, highlighting the one-button combat system, and featured the Lionhead staff playing a game of soccer against fellow Microsoft satellite games:Rare and winning. It also included a professional combat specialist instructing the animation staff.
On October 8, 2007, episode three was released, going in depth about the Central Technology Group, and featured Lionhead's 10 year Anniversary.
On January 11, 2008, episode four was released, focusing on how the graphics department made the world of Albion.
On March 19, 2008, episode five was released, looking at magic, GDC 2008 and co-op.
On June 24, 2008, episode six "Art and the Hero" was released.
The graphics engine is written in-house, but middleware is integrated for several other parts of the game: Havok is used for a physics engine and Kynapse is used for some AI. AlienBrain 8 is used to track assets such as 3D Models, files, and art.
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