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Peter Molyneux: Fable II, From Conception To Reality
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Peter Molyneux: Fable II, From Conception To Reality

October 27, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4

Now, did you record that just for internal reference?

PM: Yeah. Because the problem is that when you've got a dramatic scene, you say to your scripters -- they're coders actually -- "Yeah, Okay, the hero is talking to Balthazar, and saying these lines."

The poor old scripters have no idea how to stage that. Should that Balthazar character be looking at you? Should they be walking over here? Should they be nodding their head? Should they be shaking their head?

So what we did is we filmed the entirety of that process. The actors ad-libbed all over the place which was absolutely fine -- because we rewrote the scripts again. And when the scripters went to put the script in the game, they watched the video. And just then, watching the video means that this was staged more far more easily.

[Molyneux demonstrates in the game, showing a scene with a guard speaking to the protagonist from atop a wooden gate.]

You see, this thing was staged. And, before we did the staging, this guy here [atop the gate] was down the bottom, here. And what happened was that people started trying to mess around with that guy, because this is right early on in the game when you've first gotten a lot of your abilities.

And people were trying to kill him and express to him, and not paying attention in the slightest way to what he was saying. But putting him up there meant that they didn't have to do that.

We would have probably got to the same conclusion by putting it in the game. But we would have done that in the last six months of development, rather than in the first six months of development.

So then did you re-record the dialogue in a studio later, the final version?

PM: Yes.

So you had the original version of the script. You basically, essentially workshopped it through this process? The writer took this version including ad-libs...?

PM: The ad-libbing. Everything was filmed. We re-wrote the scripts on the day, so some of the scenes took a whole day to... because there was so much ad-libbing going on. And, oh my God, you know, because there were two cameras the whole time -- for what your gamer's view was going to be, and what the cutscene could be -- because, as the player, you wouldn't have control of that.

And there were some other moments where you realize, "Jesus, you can't see his face!" You are over here [indicates screen] and you can't see what he's saying. Going back to it, there were some moments like that, where we had to iterate around.

And then at the end of that process we went away, rewrote the story again, and we went back into the studio again one last time, because there were some scenes that just weren't working, and then that was all put into the game.

Then we got the voiceover talent. And you have to work like that, because the voiceover talent here -- there's Stephen Fry and Zoë Wanamaker... and these are big name people.

You can't mess around with them and say, "Oooh! I don't know what you're going to say next, but just make something up!" And that's what we would have done in Fable I, probably.

You had your writer as integrally part of the process throughout?

PM: Yes, yes, yes.

Because very often when people are brought in it's, "Deliver me a script", and it just doesn't work, is the consensus, I believe.

PM: No, no, no. Absolutely not. In fact, Richard came over. He's American, but he came over and he lived in England for six months with his wife and children, and he was in every design meeting, because the game mechanics in Fable II... [Reaching for controller, indicating screen]

Because, this dog here. The dog is actually a game mechanic but he is part of the script and narrative as well. So he had to have an appreciation of that, you know, to write the script.

I had this fantastic moment yesterday. Because, you see, the other thing is, when you finish a game, you never meet anyone who has really played the final version.

You know, the testers at Lionhead, they're about as objective as a brick wall, because they have played it a thousand times and seen ten thousand bugs. So you never meet anyone who's actually played and enjoyed it.

And I was walking through the [Tokyo Game] show and there's quite a few people now who have played the game cheekily without waiting the final build, a lot of the regional people. These two people came up to me almost at the same time. And they'd played the game. And it was just fantastic to hear from their experience of the game. It really was. It was some fantastic moments. I actually got really emotional. It was quite embarrassing.

Article Start Previous Page 4 of 4

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