Peter Molyneux Wants Fable III Players To Change Their Clothes

Peter Molyneux was smarting last week from the fact that half of the people who played his studio's last game, Fable II, didn't bother with half of its depth. People didn't even change their (virtual) clothes. His fault.

Molyneux's got a plan to fix things, and to induce more wardrobe changes.

The butler will do it - or, at least, endorse it. We're talking about the Fable III butler, voiced by Monty Python's John Cleese, appearing in the game when it launches late this year on the Xbox 360.

Molyneux explained: "The butler can say, 'Sir, you are wooing this girl. I can tell you the word on the streets is that you're just a hippie,' or whatever. 'Wear this and you're going to find out it's much better.' It doesn't come across as a tutorial. It comes across as a butler. And it's John Cleese anyway, so it's naturally funny."

The butler solution being implemented by the Fable III team at Molyneux's Lionhead Studios is the latest attempt to fix a problem gamers and game makers suffer from in different ways. That problem is the neglect of parts of a game that have been toiled over but then left unexplored in the shadows. Gamers don't mess with the ability to change clothes in Fable II and X number of hours implementing a clothes-changing system in the game are essentially wasted. And the gamer misses out of something that might have been fun, interesting or even useful for their virtual quest.

"The tragedy of it is there were these machines of [artificial intelligence]all running, anticipating you changing your clothes," Molyneux recalled, reflecting on the results of Microsoft's research into how people played the hit 2008 Fable II. "You could change people's attitude of you from good to evil, from kind to cruel, depending on how you looked. All of this stuff was running ..." And people didn't use it. "We had done all this engineering but no one knew about it at all."

Molyneux dismissed the suggestion that maybe players just don't care about changing their character's clothes as they venture to save the world with guns and magic spells. He thinks they would, if they knew they could and if they knew the consequences. So he finds the fault with Lionhead. "We did an atrocious job of making people realise that you could change your clothes."

The problem propelled Lionhead to a new system of in-game menus, ditching a two-dimensional pause menu that enabled text-based clothes-changing for three dimensional private quarters through which your character can walk to find his outfits. The John Cleese butler will hang out in those quarters, suggesting the player try different outfits and, perhaps, informing them of other elements of the game that are being neglected. Molyneux showed Kotaku that navigation through this virtual chamber will be swift, as it mixes character-walking with some eye-blink-fast teleporting from room to room. (Cleese may be the announced voice actor for the butler, but Fable III gamers better hope Molyneux is the role model. A demonstration of a Fable game is always improved by his presence as he points out features, makes under-the-hood calculations sound fascinating, or, as was the case last week, overrules the other Lionhead people in the room and lets Kotaku watch a flythrough of Fable III's new and improved Bowerstone that bears the marks of urban improvement and expansion.)

The Fable III butler won't be the first video game character who is included in order to direct the player's attention to in-game stuff that matters. The fairy Navi in The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time was used by Nintendo's designers to direct player's attention. She was a welcome aid in in the first Zelda that occurred within a three-dimensional space. Various voice-in-the-ear partner characters inform players of Metal Gear or Splinter Cell what they should do to get through a game level alive. Previous helper characters, though, were seldom, if ever, included to draw player's attention to the periphery the way the Fable III butler seems made to do.

If the butler really does compel players of a big action-adventure like Fable III to change their clothes, that might be more akin to a Japanese role-playing game that convinces the average player that it is worthwhile to indulge in the game's deep but optional cooking system. Or it would be the fix that could diminish the kind of neglect for side stuff that leaves side quests in adventure game unexplored, that leaves secondary weapons in an action game unused. Imagine if all we neglectful gamers need is a nudge from a butler.

With a butler, gamers will know better. And if Fable III gamers change their clothes a little more often, everyone, from the players to the creators will be the better for it. Maybe, virtually, they'll even smell better, not that a Fable game is ever going to keep track of that.


    Jesus fucking christ! Molyneux! Stop worrying about insignificant crap like this and try putting some effort into gameplay and story for once!

    If youwant people to change their clothes, then put some decent armour or cloaks or something, not the intensely lame stuff that ended up in Fable 2.

      i was thinking the exact same thing as i was reading it.
      peter, you are wrong. we dont care about changing clothes. if i "had" to do that in a game i reckon id get pretty annoyed as its more of a chore than anything. its taking you away from the actual game play. which is what we buy games for.

        Yeah, i Change clothes based on what looks cool and badass. if it looks cooler then what i got on, I change it. Not that i played fable 2, i tried it... got bored very quick.

        Dragon Age im staying in my warden commander armor because as far as ive seen so far, its the one that looks the best on my female warrior :)

    Is it just me, or am I right in thinking that he should have not made Fable as a predefined story, but instead a Sims-style game featuring medieval combat, where you can affect the world?

    Sure, I would not play such a game, but with the ideas he wants in his game, is this not a more preferable direction?

    The Fable II system for changing and dyeing clothes was slow and cumbersome. If he's really worried about clothes on a character's back, they should implement a system that automatically changes the characters clothes.

    It's simple.

    Have three kinds of clothing catergories: Casual, Formal and Battle. And either let the player choose three costumes for each catergory, or if no costumes are chosen, automatically generate one.

    IE: If the player is in town, select any of the "casaul" clothes purchased from the stores. If they're in the castle or attending some special event, change to the player-chosen costume within the "Formal" wardrobe. If no costume has been chosen, automatically pick clothes from that catergory. And if the player runs out of the town to kick some bad-guy ass, change to their preferred "battle" clothing.

    No one wants to waste time in some fricken wardrobe menu picking out new clothes every time they buy something new!

    It's called being creative Pete. Think about it!

    I love the idea of molyneux calling someone else a hippie, man.

    Oh great! Make it even HARDER to access the clothing!

    The reason no one changed their stuff too often is because you put it in a GOD AWFUL menu system that often crashed you DOLT!

    Some of us did though, and we didnt care how the identical NPCs running around saying the same stupid stuff reacted.

    Know what we cared about Molyneux? We cared about the fact Fable II had NOTHING but two enemies, no Krakens, no Dragoons, nothing.. just theives and those.. orc things.

    Oh thanks btw for releasing it bugged to hell, and having an ending that was just a ten minute conversation. That was a REAL edge of the seat moment as I realised the game had already ended without a climax of any sort.

    Wtf happened to BC? And why are you such an idiot? Fell for this idiots hype one too many times, never buying any of his horrible games ever again. All hype, no content.

    I rarely changed clothes because I was min/maxing with attractiveness/scariness etc.

    If the clothes didn't all have attributes attached to them (and obviously if the menus were better) I might've actually used them some time.

    It's bad when the correct option from a gameplay perspective makes for horrible visual choices.

    You know what? I would have changed my clothes in Fable 2 more often if there were more than about 5 outfits and 3 other random bits of clothing in the whole game.
    Most of which make your character look more like a bum or some random npc and not the world saving hero you are supposed to be.

    Dear Peter Molyneux,

    Please read any and all Human Interface Guidelines documents you can get your hands on. They will tell you why your games are over thought pieces of rubbish and why gamers don't discover the integral "gameplay" modes you have.


    P.S. You want RPG Gamers to change clothes? THEN LEAVE THE STATS ON THE CLOTHES!

    Wait, what? Navi was a welcome addition? Pretty sure I'm not the only one that got sick of "HEY! LISTEN!" real fast.

    I liked Fable 2, but I don't see how people really missed the ability to change clothes. The sort of people who didn't notice it were probably the sort of people who wouldn't have cared anyway. The menus took far too long to load and were cumbersome, but I imagine that it will take even longer to load and navigate through a walk-in menu room.

    I'm sure that Fable 3 will be an over-hyped disappointment like the last one was, but I'll still pick it up.

    he whole thing he doesnt seem to realise is... people want to look like a specific something, some want to look like a ninja, some want to look like a pirate, some want to look like a badass guy in a long cloak and some want to look like a wizard.

    The only reason people ever changed armor in fable 1 and in any rpg for that matter was progression. unless different clothes later in the game give you bigger stat bonuses, the majority of the users will not expand on their outfit, add onto the fact fable 2's menu system was crippling enough to turn everyone against changing outfits.

    Fable II had the worst selection of clothing available, how about that Moly(however you spell it)? If Fable II had clothes that looked as cool as Fable's or if it had some fricken awesome armours, we would have used this ability more. For me in FII it was nearly impossible to get a decent wardrobe so I had to settle for a suit that was okay looking. Nothing heroic in that game, just awful and plain.

    "The fairy Navi in The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time was used by Nintendo’s designers to direct player’s attention. She was a welcome aid in in the first Zelda that occurred within a three-dimensional space."

    No, no it wasn't. LISTEN! HEY! LISTEN!

    Lots of people saying the same thing here, and I agree with most of it. Thought I'd throw in my thoughts that haven't already been mentioned.

    Why do we even need clothes? I want to go back to armours. I want to feel like my character is progressing and achieving something by putting on bigger and meaner looking armour. I want to get new items, I want them to be more powerful, I want to upgrade my armour over time until I have the best stuff. Not just get handed some clothing at a store that will make everyone think I'm pretty and then be done with it.

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