Fable 3…yay. From this trailer it seems like they’re skyrocketing Albion into the revolutionary war era. Okay. The combat looks pretty similar to previous incarnations. Okay. The combat was always pretty fun and interesting, and has never really been my beef with the Fable series. In case you’re still wondering, yes, I’m highjacking this edition of Trailer Trash to complain about Fable.
The game touts itself as an immersive RPG where all of your actions have consequences. In my experience with past titles, this has been technically true in the sense that if you killed everyone you came across, others would react to you with fear. Whether it was fear at your reputation or at the gross mutations you underwent as a reflection of you allegiance with evil is not really addressed. You can cultivate relationships with numerous women, with the possibility of marrying them and having offspring.
But these are more like “results” than consequences. It doesn’t matter if nobody in the world likes you as a demonic reaver who would sooner kill than chat. It doesn’t matter if you marry all the women, or none of them. See, I’m used to Dungeons and Dragons, so when I hear that actions have consequences I generally think a little bigger than “you will get fat if you eat nothing but pie” or “if you kill a lot of people, the remaining people won’t like you.”
Now if my recklessly spawned progeny decided they wanted to rise up against me and claim my power? If eating nothing but pie could give your character diabetes and put a finite limit on their lifespan? If women I’d spurned hired assassins to kill me? Those would be consequences, and they’d make a way sweeter game. As it stands you have numerous options in Fable, but no compelling reason to choose any of those options. Marry a girl? I guess. Have a kid? I suppose. Buy all the property? Why not?
I’d like to see a Fable game that fixed these issues. New spells and equipment are all well and good as far as they go, but if I’m not invested in an RPG behind the glitz on the surface, I’m not going to be able to play the thing through to completion. And even if I could it would completely ruin any idea of replay value for me.
So, Fable, you have your homework. This time, come back as a game where not only does every choice have a concrete consequence, but also a tangible weight within the storyline and the way the lives of the adventurers’ play out. Then you’ll have a real honest-to-goodness RPG on your hands, worthy of both the video game and pen-and-paper communities.