At the Game Developers Conference Peter Molyneux gave one of his first presentations concerning Fable 2. He showed off a collection of new features that were originally intended to appear in the much-hyped first Fable game. His talk was given behind closed doors, so while a write-up was originally online, Microsoft asked it to be removed since. So these are Spider‘s quotes:
Molyneux described the first new feature as “risky, but worth the risk”. A new canine sidekick will help players distract or threaten enemies, scout out new locations, and find hidden items. Molyneux described the feature as “something you’ve never seen before,” especially in regards to the dog’s intelligence. The dog will respond to your standard “yes” and “no” expressions, but is otherwise a completely independent character… aside from the fact that it will do nearly anything to help its master.
The dog will grow to adopt its master’s traits, so a wicked hero will see his dog evolve into a Doberman pincher-like beast, while good-natured heroes will boast furry, friendly pooches. The dog will open up a key aspect of Fable 2: emotion.
More specifically, love. Molyneux laughed as he described the importance of love in Fable 2, saying that reporters would be liable to call him crazy for his claim. But he insisted that the dog sidekick would open up all-new avenues of game design because it would make players forge an emotional bond with a fictional character. Molyneux described the dog’s love as “infectious” in nature: “Once you start caring about [the dog],” Molyneux explained, “I’ve got you.” Molyneux explained that the dog would factor heavily into the gameplay in almost every way. At one point, the dog was injured during a battle and limped slowly back to its master. Molyneux, however, commanded his hero to leave the dog where it was, adding that the injured dog would slowly limp back to its home even if abandoned.
Another key feature has been added to Fable 2: sex. As before, players can find mates (and yes, same-sex marriage is still firmly in the game). But in a new twist, players can choose to have sex with a mate… and more interestingly, can choose to engage in protected or unprotected sex. The latter option can result in a pregnancy, even for the main character (females are a new option for hero characters). Once born, your offspring will bear a physical resemblance to your hero, and will celebrate your victories when you come by the homestead to visit the family.
What won’t be in Fable 2? Miscarriages (Fable 2 “isn’t a pregnancy simulation,” Molyneux added), high-maintenance sidekicks (the dog “mustn’t p*ss players off”), and the mini-map from the first game (which Molyneux bemoaned as stealing all the attention from the graphics).
The graphics in the ultra-early build looked impressive but clearly unfinished. The dog was the most graphically detailed object on display, and featured advanced fur simulation, interpolated animation (which made for highly realistic movements), and massive outdoor environments. Expect the game to be released on Xbox 360 in 2008.
March 8 update: Found a Fable 2 screenshot, shown above.