Molyneux "pretty ashamed" at Fable III review scores
Game was "not the dream" as industry veteran laments short development cycle
Peter Molyneux has spoken in detail about his experiences working on Fable III, admitting disappointment at the end result and implying that the development process at Lionhead Studios will change significantly as a result.
Speaking to Gamasutra, Molyneux was asked how he felt about Fable III failing to reach the critical and commercial goals (of 5 million units sold) he had originally set out for it. The veteran designer began by lamenting the short development period, which at less than two years was the shortest ever for the company.
"The game came together very late. That is one of the things that we're changing; that is just such an old school way of working," he said.
"That being said, I still think it was a good game! I just don't think it was a great game that took us to 5 million units. I know I probably should say it's a great game just respective of whatever it was, but the Metacritic score was sort of low-'80s. I think I'm pretty ashamed of that, to be honest, and I take that on my own shoulders, not the team's shoulders.
"That being said, it still sold millions and millions of units, and it's probably going to net out, with the PC version, closer to the 5 million than perhaps you would think; but it's not the dream. It didn't end up being the game that I dreamed it would be, because I thought the mechanic of the ruling section were really good ideas. I thought they were good ideas, but we just didn't have time to exploit those ideas fully."
Molyneux also appeared to express frustration at the general concept of creating sequels and the stagnation which this encourages.
"I hate the fact that people know what to expect from something like Lionhead," he said. "'We know what Fable's going to be; we know what's coming next from Lionhead.' I hate that idea. We should, again, double down on freshness and originality without sacrificing - because often originality can sacrifice quality - without sacrificing quality."
Although he was not specific about future changes to the development process at Lionhead, Molyneux did imply that significant changes had already taken place at the studio.
"It's because of those things that, now, when we approach development, it's very different, because we want to know precisely how long the experience we're crafting is up front, rather than waiting to the end, so that we have a clear idea how each of these mechanics is used, how they're meted out, how they're exploited, and how they're really used to amplify the whole drama of what that is.
"We've spent a long time thinking about that and doing our research on how you can have a creatively-led production process and how you can take the complete randomness out of the way that a lot of ideas are developed and evolved."