Fable III is the third game in the Fable series of action role-playing games developed by Lionhead Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios and is the sequel to Fable II. It is scheduled to be released on October 26th, 2010 for Microsoft Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows.
At Game Developer Conference 2010 it was announced that John Cleese would be playing the Butler called Jasper, Stephen Fry is also confirmed to be returning to voice the character of Reaver, Jonathan Ross is starring as a currently unrevealed role and Academy Award winner Sir Ben Kingsley will also feature as the King of Mist Peak.
There are rewards for being a self-serving ruler, including a treasury filled with gold piles that grow or diminish based on the player's wealth. The player's in-game family will attempt to pressure the player into selfishly taking money from Albion to maintain and upgrade his castle.
The player is also tasked with dealing with how his society works on a day-to-day basis, such as how to handle crime, poverty, and taxation. Another example is the choice to go to war. While Albion is only a single continent in a much-larger world, Fable III is the second game in the series to expand the playable areas beyond Albion's borders.
Like the character-morphing that defines the series, where the player's character changes appearance based on his or her actions, growing beautiful or ugly based on good and evil actions respectively, Fable III expands that to location-morphing. If the player taxes a region heavily, the people will become visibly poorer, their buildings will start to fall into disrepair and the player will encounter hostility from them if he passes through the area. The player's melee weapon will change with use, as well as the player's ranged and magic gauntlets. If the player decides to kill innocents the weapon will drip with blood, and if the player kills a large amount of skeletons it will look more skeletal like. The example Lionhead gave was the town of Bowerstone: in the time since Fable II Albion has undergone the industrial revolution and Bowerstone has become "a mass of Victorian-era inspired churning industry," with the skyline being hugely affected by this. During the technological upheaval, however, crime, injustice and poverty have grown and the player can choose to eradicate it or let it continue unchecked. Either way, Albion will grow to reflect the player's decision or lack of.
Molyneux has promised to remove a traditional RPG mechanic from Fable III, the emphasis being on removing "clunkiness" and making the game more accessible. A new system also applies to general interaction, such as to shake someone's hand. Dynamic Touch allows the player to lead someone to a location. Molyneux gave an example of a child trapped in a burning building. The player could go into the house and comfort the child with Expression Touch before using Dynamic Touch to carry the child to safety.
Set fifty years after the events of Fable II, the continent of Albion, where the Fable series is set, is under the control of Logan, a tyrant king and the Hero's older brother. The player's character, the "Hero", is forced into a quest to become a revolutionary leader to defeat the king after an "injustice" happens to their parent (the "Hero" of Fable II), believed to be at the hands of the tyrant. Over the course of the first half of the game, the Hero will overthrow Logan and become ruler of Albion themselves. During the second half of the game, a foreign nation, believed to be called Aurora, will threaten Albion and the player has to decide how to react to it.
At the beginning of the Gamescon announcement of Fable III, Molyneux stated that the game was taking a different theme compared to the others as he believes the third game in a series to be hard to do correctly. "If all the rules have been established and all you offer is a new story and a handful of locations, people will start to lose interest."
In an interview with OXM UK, he spoke about how Fable was at risk of becoming a generic game where the player started off underpowered and weak but slowly got more powerful after they met the bad guy. After the player killed the bad guy, the credits would roll. Believing that is the formula that applies to many games, he asked why games "end at potentially the most excited bit?" It was this that formed the basis of Fable III, where the player can overthrow the tyrant before becoming ruler themselves. He stated that it was when the player was ruler that the consequences of "who you are going to be, are you going to be good or evil, cruel or kind" stopped applying only to the player, but affected the entire country.
Molyneux hinted that there may be drawbacks to leaving your castle too often to investigate crimes or fight wars, asking "Are you going to be a king that is the equivalent to Picard in Star Trek? Quite honestly, if the captain of the ship was going down to planets and getting involved in battles I'd be worried because I think he should stay in his chair. But if he chooses to go down and get involved, that's the freedom we give you as a king."
Talking about the inspiration for Fable III, Molyneux said "if in Fable I the inspiration was folklore and in Fable II the inspiration was King Arthur and Robin Hood, then Fable III is definitely the rebels and monarchs – both modern-day and historic."
|“||What's so interesting about that is you look at it and you realize that "Gee, these people who ruled our land up until very recently were actually very creative with their power and abused it and used it in many evil ways." Take Henry VIII, let's just go through some of the things this guy did. Rather than say, "Hey, this marriage is not working out so well," he just decided to completely kill off his wives. Not only did he do that, but to do the deed he just got rid of religion and replaced it with a new one. He also took five percent of the entire tax income – the equivalent of billions of pounds in today's world – and spent on his personal wine cellar, while many people within the country were suffering from starvation and plague. This guy definitely wasn't that nice a guy, and if you write that down he sounds really evil. Does history paint him as being really evil? Not really, it paints him as being a bit of a jolly chap who was quite infatuated with six women. That's fascinating inspiration and we really want to give you the power to be that colorful when you're ruler.||”|
There are also new takes on traditional Fable concepts such as morphing, where you and your weapon change depending on what you do and your alignment. If the Hero kills large numbers of skeletons his/her weapon will appear to be made of bones, whereas if they go around killing innocent people their weapon will begin to drip with blood. The weapon will also level throughout the game, making it sharper and more deadly. Another example is the "Extreme Emote" system. For example, if someone angers the Hero, he/she can show them their true nature, with either demonic or angelic wings sprouting out of their back. The theatrical trailer was released at E3 2010
Shortly before Gamescom 2009, images of famous revolutionaries and quotations appeared on Lionhead's website, causing discussion about what the next game Lionhead were making was. During the press conference of Gamescom, where Fable III was announced by Peter Molyneux, Lionhead had decorated the walls with medieval shields and banners.
Following the BAFTA games awards in March 2009, British presenter Jonathan Ross revealed on his Twitter page that he had been offered a voice part in Fable III. He also went on to say that comedian Charlie Brooker was to lend his voice to the game as well.
Currently there are two editions set to be released at retail. The first being the Standard Edition which contains the following:
- Disc containing the full version of the game
- Game Manual
- Standard Plastic Casing
And then there is the Limited Collectors Edition which contains the following:
- standard game disk
- game manual
- new in-game quest and a new region
- limited edition Fable 3 playing cards
- "Guild Seal Coin" to aid the player in making decisions
- new "Boxer" dog breed
- two new outfits; one for male, one for female
Lionhead Studios' Peter Molyneux annouced as well, that Fable III will also (like Fable II) be released in episodes on Xbox Live Marketplace, some time after the retail version will hit the market. The first episode will be available free of charge.
There will also be a PC version released, both a retail version and a Games for Windows Live-exclusive downloadable release. The Limited Collector's Edition has not yet been announced for Microsoft Windows.