What a journey it's been. Two weeks ago we brought you the first part of the biggest and best interview with Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux on the internet, where he revealed his thoughts on the PS3, Fable II's dog and why Microsoft have set PR policemen on him. Last Friday we brought you the second part, where the PC gaming legend told us why Fable II's online co-op is only possible on Xbox LIVE, dished the dirt on the chances of a PC version and laid down the law on DRM. And here, in the third and final part of our extended chat with the brains behind Fable II, Molyneux answers VideoGamer.com readers' questions on one of the most anticipated RPGs of 2008. Big thanks to FantasyMeister and Bloodstorm!
VideoGamer.com: When your character finishes the main storyline in Fable II can you go back and complete side quests and explore with the same character?
Peter Molyneux: You definitely absolutely can. You can go out, you can complete all of the side quests in the game. You can continue to buy stuff which will unlock more side quests in the game. You can even buy the main castle in the game. Only then do you get access to the dungeons in the castle. If you buy certain houses in the game you've got access to the cellars and the sewers. I actually don't know of anyone that's totally completed Fable, and all the side quests.
VideoGamer.com: Any plans for DLC?
PM: Without any official announcements, I would say that we'd be pretty dumb not to plan it. What I would say, if we're going to do DLC then I definitely don't want it to be just a whole load of new weapons and armour. I just don't want it to be that. It needs to be something a bit more tangible and it would be nice if you didn't have to wait months and months for it as well.
VideoGamer.com: Can a co-op player that joins your game impregnate your wife?
PM: He can certainly flirt with your wife and chat your wife up. I'm wondering whether we had to take that feature out. I'm not sure. Technically it's absolutely possible to do that. Bear in mind that the way the co-op system works it means you, the husband or the wife, are actually watching while it goes on, but that aside, we may have been asked to remove it because of political issues. But if it didn't get removed it is more than technically possible to do that.
VideoGamer.com: Will your spouse in the game occasionally give you gifts like new weapons as they did in Fable?
PM: Yeah, definitely, they give you gifts. Not only that, of course when you get married to someone, if you're marrying someone above your class you get something called a dowry which is a huge sum of money. Also they give you certain bonuses and certain power ups as well.
VideoGamer.com: Does Jack of Blades make an appearance?
PM:That would be too much of a spoiler!
VideoGamer.com: Are there any other pub games to play in Fable 2 other than the ones included in the Xbox Live Arcade Pub Games version?
PM: There's not only the pub games which you know about and are playing, we're also planning some web based games which you can play and of course you've got jobs as well, which are mini-games in themselves. We decided the Pub Games that are released now are all to do with gambling, so they're the only gambling like games. The jobs are much more skill based games. You've got to be skilful at them. And then what we call investment opportunities, things like investing in houses, more strategy based games. So there's three types of games to do with earning money. And then lastly of course you can always earn money by becoming an assassin and by being someone's henchman.
VideoGamer.com: Is there an option to turn the 'breadcrumb trail' off?
PM: There is an option to turn the breadcrumb trail off. I don't know anybody who's chosen to do that yet. The thing is you're going to think that you don't need the breadcrumb trail or don't want the breadcrumb trail, but after a while you'll realise it's more of a game mechanic than just a compass. How brightly it flashes and how far you can see it in the distance and when it's on and when it's off is part of the gameplay.
VideoGamer.com: There is no fishing in Fable 2. Why was the decision taken to remove that feature?
PM: It was one of the features that we decided not to have because we had so much already. And I know that sounds like 'oh my God that's a feature you dropped or don't want', but you've got to remember that everything had to be programmed from scratch so fishing didn't quite make it in there. We said if we wanted to do fishing in Fable II we wanted to make it a much better fishing experience than we had in Fable 1 so we decided in the end it was one of the features that we cut. But whether it's cut forever or not remains to be seen.
VideoGamer.com: Do you have to have a dog?
PM: You are given a dog and everyone is given a dog. There is an opportunity for you to, if you don't look after your dog and you don't heal your dog your dog will try and follow you but you can just run away from it and leave it behind. But you'd have to be a pretty cruel person to do that.
VideoGamer.com: Will there be a co-op marriage option?
PM: You know that was a feature that I should have thought about. And I know it sounds dumb but I didn't. It didn't really occur to me. I don't know why. But it's the first thing that everybody asks, is can you get married? And unfortunately not, no.
VideoGamer.com: Is there anything you would have liked to have included in Fable 2 that's likely to appear instead in Fable 3?
PM: Well there were a load of features that we experimented in the early days that never went anywhere. There were things like wolves and horses and carriages and a huge crime system, all of which may resurface in Fable 3.
VideoGamer.com: Is it possible for you to return to B.C and bring that out in the future?
PM: Well B.C has not been killed forever. It is one of the designs that we have on our shelf and we might pull it down from that shelf at any time.
VideoGamer.com: You've said your next project is more frightening than Fable II. Can you elaborate?
PM: I can't. I got enormously told off for just saying that. I can't really say any more. If it was up to me I would tell you all about it. But don't forget my rule now is I won't talk about something unless I can actually show it, and I can't quite show it to you yet. It should be ready some time early next year to show off. It is pretty amazing. Well it is incredibly amazing, actually. I was just demoing it just before this call to someone, but it is just incredible.
VideoGamer.com: Does anyone call you Dr. Molyneux, given that you have an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Southampton?
PM: I've got a few of those things now actually, which is an amazing honour to get. I always feel a bit like an imposter when I get them. I've got a Doctorate from Abertay Dundee, Bournemouth, Surrey and Southampton University. And no-one ever calls me Doctor Molyneux. If they did perhaps they should call me Doctor Doctor Doctor Doctor Molyneux, but no-one ever calls me that.
VideoGamer.com: Do you miss the days and late nights of being buried deep in code programming your own games or do you prefer your current executive oriented role?
PM: I miss programming like a junkie misses drugs. Like an alcoholic misses alcohol. I'm always going to miss it. If I get a free moment I start to dabble around with code again; I get terribly involved again. I do miss it but for me the world goes dim from a keyboard. It's just fantastic nowadays to feel that you've got a team of people around you who listen to what you're saying, and enjoys talking through problems. That's nice. It's not like the old days. The way I think about it is, if I was an alcoholic, programming was like drinking neat vodka. Where now I'm not a programmer any more it's like Elderflower cordial. It's very nice and refreshing and lovely but it's not that hard-hitting coding.
VideoGamer.com: If license issues could be resolved what one game from your back catalogue would you return to?
PM: I think it would probably be Syndicate or Populous again.
VideoGamer.com: What are the license issues surrounding those games? Could you ever return to those games?
PM: No. The rights are completely with EA. They're hardly going to pick up the phone and say: 'Hi Peter. Why not do these games?" They'd want to keep it for themselves I would suspect.
VideoGamer.com: How would you feel if EA got a developer to make a downloadable remake of one of your old classics?
PM: Oh I'd love it. It would be fantastic. I've got no qualms whether somebody else is doing it. I'd just love to see it updated, the concept kept alive. It would be second best but it would still be great.
VideoGamer.com: That's great Peter. Thank you so much for your time.
Fable II is due out exclusively for Xbox 360 on October 24.