Fable 3
Lionhead's Josh Atkins Talks Fable III's Mission Structure, Mission Variety & Your Time as King
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Unfortunately for Microsoft and Lionhead's pre-release coverage of Fable III, it seems as if the limelight has been taken off it slightly by a little device known as Kinect. If people aren't questioning Lionhead's figurehead, a Mr Peter Molyneux, about the Kinect compatibility for their game - which has seemingly been put on hold - then they're asking his opinion on Kinect as a device and that pesky is-it-a-game-or-isn't-it Milo.

Today, however, there is no talk of Kinect and no talk of Milo, we're focussing on Fable III, the game. We caught up with Lionhead's Lead Designer, Josh Atkins, this week to talk about Fable's missions and quests in a bid to give you an insight into next week's release of their action-RPG.

We talk Fable III's mission structure, variety and even touch on your time as a king and why there's been a lack of coverage on that aspect.

How does Fable III’s mission structure differ from that of Fable II’s? And what can we expect to do outside the main quest in terms of activities?

Structuring a game like Fable is really tricky because we have to balance out a strong narrative against periods of nonlinear story telling. Because of this problem the previous versions of Fable felt a bit like the core story, the side quests and simulation did not have a lot of overlap and honestly everything felt quite self-contained. In Fable III we have worked hard to try and make it feels as if all these aspects of the game are well connected and that everything you do in the game is part of the narrative and your overall goals. One way we accomplished this is by creating the idea of ‘followers’ who are the individuals you collect who believe your hero would make a great leader. The player can collect followers by doing any kind of quest as well as by simply interacting with the simulated villagers across the game.

In isolated missions in Fable II, your outcomes often shaped the environment. Can we expect to see that mechanic return in Fable III? If so, how often will we see these sort of situations and will your decisions be more widespread this time?

Giving the player the ability to shape the world based on the decisions they make in the game is a huge part of Fable. It is an aspect of the game that is both fun to play (hopefully) but also fun to design and concept! In Fable III the player will have many aspects to truly change the world in ways that we’ve never done before in the past. For example once you become the ruler of Albion you will have the opportunity to do simple things like change the castle to more serious things like draining Bower Lake to mine it. The really interesting thing is that some of these judgements that change the world can also open up new levels and new quests which we hope players will find pretty cool.

Obviously the touch mechanic is one of the big innovations for Fable III this year. How much of a part will this play in the general missions and what have you done to make sure you don’t rely on it too much?

The term’ touch’ can mean a lot of things in regards to Fable III. The origin of the idea is built around an attempt to emotionally root the player into the game. When we think of features for Fable we often discuss what we want the player to ‘feel’ and how that feature will matter emotionally to the audience. Overall we felt that actually being able to touch another character or another player created an immediate emotional bond with that character. Therefore the touch mechanic can mean holding a child’s hand as you rescue them from a cave full of wolves, it can mean hugging a co-op player, it can mean kissing your spouse and it can mean shaking hands as you promise to make someone’s life better if they follow you.

A lack of mission variety can be a massive issue for most free-flowing games. What have Lionhead done to ensure that the missions stay varied – both main quest lines and side missions? And what sort of variety can we expect? Should we expect plenty of set-pieces?

The short answer is ‘yes’ you should absolutely expect a lot of unique experiences across both the core story quests as well as a lot of unique side quests. Overall we do our best to ensure that each of the core narrative quests feels extremely varied and unique but on top of that we create a substantial number of unique side quests that have unique creatures, stories and mechanics. One of my favourite side quests is one where the player gets transported on to an Albion Table Top game and must complete a quest for the three table top players.

Are you worried that making the game more accessible – simplistic combat, less RPG aspects, etc – will alienate the already established fan base? What have you done to make sure the game appeals to them as much as the first game did many moons ago?

This is a really interesting question because accessibility has been a paramount pillar for Fable since the first game. Our goal has always been to create an accessible experience that also has a lot of depth. Overall we like the fact that Fable is easy to understand, fun to play and a game that anyone can complete. With all that being said I do think we still want a certain amount of intensity from the game and if the game is so easy that the player just sits back in their couch and stops caring then I think we have made a mistake. Therefore a lot of our set piece moments in Fable III revolve around interesting and compelling combat encounters that really raise the blood pressure and create a sense of thrill and intensity.

Very little has been said about the latter part of the game when you’ve become King. How much of that makes up the overall Fable III experience and are you concerned that by potentially not revealing your hand for that, potential buyers won’t realise what they’re missing?

To be honest the reason we have not shown the ‘rule’ portion of the game is because we felt that showing it out of context without the player feeling like it’s their kingdom, their promises and their responsibility would be a mistake because it would not convey the kind of emotions we are aiming for. Personally I have avoided describing ruling as a percentage of the game because I think the amount of time players spend in ruling will vary across our audience. Overall the most import thing is not how much time the player spends in ruling but whether or not they feel like the ruler. The goal of that portion of the game is to make the player feel responsible for Albion and if they do and the player spends time thinking about ‘what is the right thing to do” and ‘how do I keep my promises’ then I think we have been successful. 

Fable III is out next week. Keep an eye out for our review on Tuesday.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 584
Comment #1 by Captain Urahara
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 03:09:05 PM
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Great answer as always from Lionhead. Bring on Fable III!

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #2 by ChaosPhoenix7
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 03:10:49 PM
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Forum Posts: 522
Comment #3 by PrinceOfThralls
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 03:12:17 PM
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Maybe will get this.

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #4 by Khaine2000
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 03:12:48 PM
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Looking forward to losing manu hours in this.

Forum Posts: 43
Comment #5 by paddycfc22
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 03:13:39 PM
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a wish i actualy played fable 2 so a could think about getting this but a just cant be arsed, way too many other games too play

Forum Posts: 227
Comment #6 by Ganon113
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 03:13:50 PM
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I can't wait for this game

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #7 by Davou1
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 03:15:00 PM
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Looks mega awsome!! Cant wait!!

Forum Posts: 43
Comment #8 by paddycfc22
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 03:15:12 PM
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@4 (manu) a wonder how u play those hours lol

Forum Posts: 171
Comment #9 by WogDogg
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 03:17:59 PM
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@8 On a football pitch, presumably.

Really looking forward to Fable now.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #10 by Skywalk
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 03:18:23 PM
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Amazing Interview and great answers from the Lionhead studios!
Fable III will be really awesome, maybe better than fable II i guess.

Forum Posts: 51
Comment #11 by Gsmittyunit44
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 03:19:13 PM
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Oh yeah I just love the Fable games. Be on the lookout for some achievement video guides from yours truly. After all, I was the first one to show the location of the Regal Purple Dye.

Forum Posts: 210
Comment #12 by xXI A ROD IXx
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 03:19:47 PM
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Lets see how well this game will turn out heh.

Forum Posts: 80
Comment #13 by kingpalmer89
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 03:30:18 PM
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something about the answer to the last question doesn't sit right with me and makes me wonder how short this games going to be...

Forum Posts: 536
Comment #14 by StephenJ360
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 03:36:27 PM
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@11 Aren't you awesome?

Anywho, I'm just honestly concerned with how many quests will actively exist in this game. The lack of content from Fable 2 upset me a little bit considering I did everything you could do in the game within 33 hours. So I'm hoping for more out of this game.

Forum Posts: 12
Comment #15 by Epic Gamer Will
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 03:56:36 PM
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@9 I love you.

Moving on though im gettin this after a few days of thinking!

Forum Posts: 178
Comment #16 by Fullbrook
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 04:13:45 PM
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Fable 2 was pretty short I thought, and I bought all the DLC which was also very short.

So may just rent this and buy the DLC, or buy it after some reviews are up, still undecided.

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #17 by mR II FLaMe x
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 04:19:10 PM
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i'am gonna wait and see how this game turn's out to be and then consider getting it if it's a good game.

Forum Posts: 19
Comment #18 by Jakesays
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 04:26:23 PM
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Pre-ordered this and i can't wait.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #19 by Footnuggets
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 04:32:30 PM
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I wish I had a time machine!

Forum Posts: 157
Comment #20 by oXStarKillerXo
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 04:44:24 PM
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Still on the fence about this. Got it pre-ordered but I'm considering cancelling since Fable II wasn't that great

Forum Posts: 51
Comment #21 by Gsmittyunit44
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 04:46:30 PM
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@14 Yes I am awesome. And so much more than you.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #22 by Jeffmann50
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 04:55:05 PM
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let go fable 3

Forum Posts: 813
Comment #23 by XxStuartxX 1990
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 05:29:39 PM
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@11 how nice for you

OT: I'm looking forward to this but I know I will be disapointed as PM is prone to lying and over hyping

Forum Posts: 51
Comment #24 by SumHydroponic
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 06:32:48 PM
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I was going to buy this on day 1 until my wife let it slip that she had already reserved and paid for 3 different games I was wanting. So I will be waiting ever so patiently for Christmas to arrive. Fable 3 and Call of Duty Black Ops and Assassin's Creed Brotherhood are all arriving on Santa's Slay. Yea Me!!!

Forum Posts: 26
Comment #25 by elsnoggler
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 07:06:58 PM
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#24 -

I'm sorry, but I have to do this. It's sleigh.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #26 by Grossmesser
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 07:49:10 PM
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@25 Yeah, look at his gamerscore. He needs to spend a little more time reading than playing.

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #27 by RD Valdarok
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 07:49:45 PM
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@24, on the one hand thats a nice little xmas bundle ;) but on the other the wait will kill you if the reviews come back good.

Havent played the fable series as of yet, i did pick up 2 for a cheeky bargain a bit back but have been pre-occupied on other things, will more than likely wait to hear some reviews before purchasing this, however many people i know are getting it so i may be tempted, the Q&A from lionhead is promising in my eyes, lets hope it delivers.

Forum Posts: 103
Comment #28 by InfamousTruth
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 08:35:19 PM
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The first Fable, was by far the better of the current two. Especially if you had the Lost Chapters edition. Fable 2 only let me down during the ending. How can one beat the final boss by just push a timed button sequence? They added a lot of tings that kept the game interesting for me to beat it a few times over. The DLC was lacking and confusing, but allowed me to get excited about the game again. I have pre-order the Collector's Editon of the game and guide. Hell I work at GameStop so just getting the guide for keep sake. I am interested to see how this whole Ruler part of the game works out. The remarks from Atkins about hoe the physical game will game based on you decisions is intriguing. Should I drain Bower Lake to mine? And that doing different things will open different areas? And let's be honest, I can't wait to be evil with that Inquisitors Sword.

Forum Posts: 41
Comment #29 by puressenceuk
Saturday, October 23, 2010 @ 10:08:08 PM
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Finally finished Halo: Reach on Solo Legendary this weekend so can invest lots of time into this game when my Collector's Edition arrives on Friday.

Forum Posts: 240
Comment #30 by Grado
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 12:15:01 AM
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Im ready to sink 1,000,000 hours into this game if at all posiible :P cant wait

Forum Posts: 70
Comment #31 by tayboone
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 12:33:23 AM
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I have already preordered, and I will definitely be sinking the same number of hours as #30 into this game xD

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #32 by cerberus0485
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 01:46:34 AM
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Cant wait

Forum Posts: 14
Comment #33 by N1NjA II
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 02:07:41 AM
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I was going to pre-order this, but something just doesn't seem right. Fable II was a major let down, I think I'll just wait for the reviews to come pouring in. I doubt I'll play any game until Black Ops now. That will last me till about the end of the month anyway.

Forum Posts: 175
Comment #34 by i Eat Kittenzx
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 03:22:05 AM
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2 more days!!!! im going to die if i dont get this lol loved all the games so far

Forum Posts: 48
Comment #35 by AncientSymphony
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 04:41:51 AM
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@30 You want to sink 114 years into Fable 3? I think Fable 60 will be out by then and Lionhead will be working on Fable 61 or maybe some decent DLC.

Forum Posts: 7
Comment #36 by Vigorous Ninja
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 06:44:06 AM
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@26 - You're seriously slating him for one mistake? really? And it wouldn't be reading as he most likely just read all that unlike you waiting for something like this to come up so you could 'Troll'. Pathetic.

OT - I got Fallout so I'd have a week to complete it and move straight on Fable. If I don't finish New Vegas screw it. Fable all the way!

Forum Posts: 38
Comment #37 by Kroesis
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 07:30:14 AM
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I'll wait for the price to be reduced drastically or slightly in addition to an abundance of good reviews. Been let down by both previous Fables. Mind you, perhaps it was due to the fact they didn't live up to Molyneux's hype.

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #38 by H4rdc0r3pl4y4
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 01:34:31 PM
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cant wait :P it'll be awesome.. so much good games are coming out in the period of 1 month though.. first Fallout new Vegas, Fable 3 and then AC brotherhood

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #39 by tMelon
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 02:00:09 PM
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I need this game

Forum Posts: 200
Comment #40 by Simlaurel
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 02:06:54 PM
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@11.... Dude, I'm not even looking forward to the game, just your videos!

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #41 by akuma1432
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 03:15:59 PM
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i love this game, but i really wish the multiplayer lets us bring our normal heroes not guests in to other friends games.

Forum Posts: 4
Comment #42 by THE TERMIN8TOR
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 03:56:02 PM
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I bet that at the end of the game you become the King and then after that you have to buy DLC to play out that storyline.

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #43 by Oxolus
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 04:06:16 PM
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@42 Have you not shown any interest in the story of Fable? Molyneux clearly states that halfway through the game you become king as you overthrow your brother from the throne and the whole plot unveils to greater lengths as king... although for DLC there may be more quests for you to do as king, say go to a different location.

Forum Posts: 4
Comment #44 by Banedain
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 04:14:27 PM
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@41 You can use heroes as 2nd players in fable 3 you can even marry other player's heroes (bye stupid henchmen system)

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #45 by Demineon
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 08:05:57 PM
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Hey. im looking for some 1 to play Co-op with only thing i want from you is to be nice and well nothing else i thing :P i am from Denmark but that dosnt matter?

Forum Posts: 16
Comment #46 by nugletman
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 09:47:05 PM
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Forum Posts: 216
Comment #47 by samjustsam
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 10:12:06 PM
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pre ordered this and getting it when it comes out. the only problem is that i cant access the village maker for the pre order deal on got my code and am ready to do it but it wont work. called xbox support and they told me that like 100,000 other ppl are having the same problem so hopefully it will be fixed soon.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #48 by Major Luck777
Sunday, October 24, 2010 @ 11:00:14 PM
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Can't wait. Pre-ordered this tonight. Only standard unfortunatly. Still looks sick though. :)

Forum Posts: 401
Comment #49 by Elendanis
Monday, October 25, 2010 @ 09:41:47 AM
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Less RPG elements? whaaat DX I mean it was very easy in fable 2 to max your character out... does that mean it will be even easier? :c

Forum Posts: 70
Comment #50 by Ihazcandy4you
Monday, October 25, 2010 @ 12:13:51 PM
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Meh...Ive been stoked about this (I love Fable 2, people need to gtf over it) but due to saving up to move out Im just getting Black ops, and putting this and Brotherhood on my christmas list and seeing which one(s) I get..

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #51 by JJGGuevara
Monday, October 25, 2010 @ 01:26:24 PM
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#49...I'm also worried about losing some of the RPG elements (because I like RPG)...I'm just glad you don't have to collect annoying glowing orbs any more.

Forum Posts: 292
Comment #52 by ViNyLek
Monday, October 25, 2010 @ 01:52:41 PM
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Exciting! Too bad I had to cancel in favor of other games:-( Oh, well will get it some time next year for half the price^^

Forum Posts: 141
Comment #53 by Rastaman20
Wednesday, November 03, 2010 @ 02:57:13 AM
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ehhh ive heard mixed shit from ppl who have this its either hit or miss with people

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #54 by netwitbrian
Saturday, November 20, 2010 @ 01:14:46 AM
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I love this game!! Games like this with a little bit of rpg, action adventure, fighting is really great because it has something for everyone.

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #55 by anonomis
Friday, November 26, 2010 @ 11:21:07 AM
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@ 53 if you enyojed the fable franchise, I would suggest getting this. At first, its a bit to get used in regards to the structure of the "RPG" aspects, but overall, it is a quality game. There really is a lot to do in the world of Albion, and the game continues for quite a bit even after you "beat" it. Some of the achievements push you to play the game at least twice, creating a character of the opposite sex, and with a dif alignment. It's nowhere near as amazing as the original Fable, or even Fable 2, in some ways, but the depth, graphics, and world created are top notch.

Forum Posts: 1
Comment #56 by ryan21terry
Thursday, December 02, 2010 @ 02:38:42 PM
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fable 3 is a top knoch game its pritty good even compared 2its predicesorers {fable,fable 2} the only complaint i hav is they still havent managed 2 work out theglitches in the game yet my butler is still not speaking 2 me :( but other than that i agree with anonomis complettely comment #55

Forum Posts: 2
Comment #57 by wildlife
Tuesday, December 28, 2010 @ 10:40:03 AM
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Game was ok, except enormous slow downs. Stable gameplay should be a main point of console games.

Forum Posts: 92
Comment #58 by Thrall51906
Saturday, January 08, 2011 @ 09:41:29 AM
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love it its been patched

Forum Posts: 140
Comment #59 by MAD MAZTEC
Saturday, January 15, 2011 @ 05:37:23 PM
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Prefer fable 2 than the 3rd one.

F3 was far too short and easy.
F2 was more fun to play with endless possibilities.


Forum Posts: 0
Comment #60 by Alucard666
Thursday, February 24, 2011 @ 03:35:14 AM
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I love Fable 3 and Black and White this games rulez!!!!!!!!!!

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Game Info
Lionhead Studios


US October 26, 2010
Europe October 29, 2010

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