fable II

Redis­cov­er­ing Al­bion and ex­ces­sive flat­u­lence in Fable II

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - START - Daniella Lu­cas Pub­lisher Mi­crosoft / De­vel­oper Lion­head Stu­dios / for­mat Xbox 360 / re­lease date Oc­to­ber 2008

There was great ex­cite­ment in the of­fice when the news broke that Play­ground Games (the stu­dio be­hind the Forza Hori­zon se­ries) is work­ing on a new Fable game, and with the prospect of a re­turn to Al­bion firmly in my mind, I de­cided it was time for another go with one of my fa­vorite games on Xbox 360: Fable II. Set 500 years af­ter the first game, it boasts a more fleshed out world and some won­drously funny writ­ing.

You play as Spar­row, who sees a tragedy as a child be­fore be­com­ing an adult (as you do) and ad­ven­tur­ing across Al­bion. He searches for the de­scen­dants of great he­roes and aims to put a stop to the evil Lord Lu­cien, with plenty of mishaps along the way. It’s open-world so you have a lot of free­dom, so you can be su­per evil if you wish. With its em­pha­sis on hu­mor, the things you’re ca­pa­ble of do­ing and the re­ac­tions cit­i­zens have are of­ten sur­pris­ing.

I had for­got­ten the joy of the mo­ment you dis­cover you can fart on com­mand with the press of a but­ton, so of course I do so ev­ery­where I go, be that out in the woods or in the cen­ter of town. Most seem re­pulsed by my gassy dis­play, but oth­ers whoop and ap­plaud, and some even seem to be rather in­tox­i­cated by my im­promptu per­for­mances. I se­cretly wish try­ing to pick up dates was as easy as just let­ting one rip and hav­ing them judge the out­come; any­one who is at­tracted to that is the type of man I know I could party with.

In the dog­house

Speak­ing of mak­ing friends, I’m also thank­ful for my ca­nine com­pan­ion— he’s adorable, and stops me from get­ting lonely as I walk across the coun­try­side. He’s also rather help­ful, point­ing out dig­ging spots for me and un­earthing ev­ery­thing from trea­sure to con­doms. It’s at the point where I un­cover my first lit­tle rub­ber marvel that one of the game’s unique me­chan­ics comes back to me, where hav­ing un­pro­tected sex (shown with a cen­sor­ing fade to black, of course) can lead to un­wanted preg­nancy or even STDs. Yikes. It makes me won­der about the ru­mored re­make. It was a very dif­fer­ent time when the first games came out and was han­dled with a nod and a wink—would a new game ever bring that as­pect back? How would they han­dle it now? You would ex­pect fam­i­lies and re­la­tion­ships to re­turn, but let­ting you get some­one else preg­nant and then run­ning off never to be seen again feels weird now. As does ini­ti­at­ing or­gies by se­duc­ing mul­ti­ple towns­peo­ple at once. Sex is a core part of the Fable se­ries’ iden­tity, but if not han­dled well in a mod­ern ver­sion it’ll be ab­so­lutely cru­ci­fied for it. It’s a very nar­row tightrope to walk if Play­ground wants to main­tain that cheek­i­ness with­out be­ing in­sult­ing, and it’s dif­fi­cult to pic­ture a stu­dio that’s fa­mous for driv­ing games be­ing great at han­dling sex.

Al­bion is a beau­ti­ful, var­ied place that feels fan­tas­tic to ex­plore, so a

Witcher- like tra­di­tional fan­tasy RPG ap­proach would also fit the set­ting, side-step­ping the child­ish hu­mor as­pect of the se­ries com­pletely. Though while that fits the lo­ca­tion, would it re­ally be a Fable game with­out its slightly rude quirk­i­ness? If my re­play has taught me any­thing, it’s that if the ru­mored new Fable game is to suc­ceed, all it needs to do is em­brace the small silly mo­ments that nat­u­rally emerge. That in­cludes more good dogs, and a greater vari­a­tion of farts—that’s enough of a game to make any­one happy.

“When I un­cover my first lit­tle rub­ber marvel one of the game’s unique me­chan­ics comes back to me”

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