Fable III Officially Unveiled Page: 1

As reported would happen, Lionhead Studios officially unveiled the latest addition to the Fable saga at Microsoft's X10 conference last week.  Perhaps the most significant info out of this announcement is the fact that Fable III does away with the traditional health bar and experience systems.

"It's an RPG without a health bar or experience," Molyneux said in a demonstration. "Because we put the levelling up into the world, with followers, you don't need experience."

Instead, health is represented by a COD-style screen color effect while experience manifests itself in the power you hold over the game's world and its people, as well as aesthetic and effectiveness changes in the player's weapons and armor.  When asked by Eurogamer why the changes were being made, designer Peter Molyneux essentially said the previous systems just didn't make sense.

"The absolute main reason is that most people didn't really understand it," Molyneux told Eurogamer later. "When you asked people how to get red experience, they'd say, 'I don't know, sometimes it's green, sometimes it's red, sometimes it's blue'."

Molyneux came to feel that experience was out of date, and out of step with Fable's themes. "Why do you just get experience for combat? It seemed wrong. This game is expressions and getting married and doing things in the world that should be as significant as fighting. So as soon as we said the word followers... just saying the word followers, what people think of you, meant more to the entirety of the game.

"Experience seemed 1990s, it seemed old school."

It was the same thing with the removal of the health bar, he said. "We haven't removed the health bar, we've just copied other games. First-person shooters, the health bar's in the world. When your health gets low the corners of the screen go red, sometimes it goes black and white - that's a health bar man, it's just the same as a little bar, it's just that people see it.

"As soon as you say those things you think, Jesus, why was I so stupid beforehand," Molyneux said. "It just seems like these are legacy things."

A week before the event, Molyneux was quoted saying people would be "super pissed off" by the game's official reveal.  It seems he possibly had the fear that there would be an outcry for breaking the mold of the traditional RPG and doing something different.

"If I remove experience and health bars, and I put levelling up from a 2D interface to a 3D interface, some people are going to get really upset, but that's not a reason not to do it, man. It's actually a reason to do it."

With the game not to see actual release until sometime this winter, it remains to be seen how these changes will be truly received by the public.