Fable 3 Intro

By Shamus
on Aug 7, 2010
Filed under:
Movies

The opening cinematic for Fable 3 is out, and it perfectly matches the tone of the series:


Link (YouTube)

A protagonist is introduced and then tormented in various “humorous” ways before they meet their end with injustice, all while author-insertion Theresa narrates. This is 100% Fable. It fits perfectly with the mass murder, torture, slaughter of innocents, murder of children, and wrongful imprisonment themes the game has been exploring.

The series presents a whimsical fairytale world and then systematically murders the innocents while all you can do is boink random NPC’s and perform fart emotes. Then at the end you get to sort of put a single bad guy down without any sense of justice or closure. It just ends. The world of Fable is ugly, stupid, and nihilistic. Imagine the original Shrek if Lord Farquad had raped Fiona, killed donkey, burned down Shrek’s home, wiped out the fairytale creatures, and then at the end Shrek just strangled him and wandered off. Roll credits. That’s the Fable series. I actually find it kind of sick. Imagine if the movie Se7en had been exactly the same, except Brad Pitt’s character had done a bunch of screwy pratfalls and Wayans brothers style comedy.

In the above movie, the audience naturally sides with the chicken. We naturally root for the underdog. We see her plight and we want her to win. Or – if you want a darker tone – go through all that struggle to end up back where she started. But to go through all that and then end with a “BANG, the protagonist is dead, the end” punchline is not entertaining to me.

You CAN present a dark world of injustice, but you need to get the people designing the world and the people writing your script on the same page. Fable is too cartoonish (in both presentation and depth) to support that sort of complex narrative. I can’t help but get the feeling Peter Molyneux thinks this is somehow funny.

There is something wrong with that guy.

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  1. H.M says:

    All true, but its not like the makers of Fable have to care about criticism, they’ll just call us nerds and roll around on their giant pile of money

  2. Deltarno says:

    Oddly enough, it’s rather like playing a train wreck. Or a car crash. Or the gaming equivalent of junk food. You know it is bad, yet you play it anyway.
    Ah well, the mantra of fallout 3 shall serve me well. “We do it all for the side quests”.
    Also, I know that The man with the plan says that he disliked the plot of 2, and wants to improve upon it. Given his track record with promises, though, I will take that with a grain of salt.
    Oh, one more thing. Here, we get to fake kill the (well, a) big bad halfway through the game, so at least we get that out of the way.

  3. eri says:

    I thought that this trailer was absolutely terrible – not so much because it’s bleak and cynical, but because it is so inconsistently that way. The music suggest whimsy and wonder, like the sort of thing you’d hear in some high fantasy, but then you realise that the stuff you’re seeing on screen has no relation to it. It starts off going for a comedy angle but flits between Disney-esque lunacy and downright depressing analogy. Moreover, the voice over doesn’t even match up with what’s going on. How is a chicken trying to escape from danger a “rebel”? Isn’t that just… escape, not rebellion?

    In short, I found it insultingly bad, half-baked and nonsensical.
    You know, come to think of it, it’s not even so much that it’s bad – the worst part of all is that it’s pompous and elitist about it. I get the distinct sense that Lionhead is trying to tell its audience “look how much better we are than you. We are makers of fine art and you can only gape at our magnificent works”, except they’re completely wrong. I guess as CG porn it’s like a bad Pixar proof of concept demo or something, but if this is what to expect from Fable III then I might be saving my money after all.

  4. Ernheim says:

    On the other hand, this is a far more interesting trailer than the standard ‘Ooh look, explosions’ fare.

    That said, it kinda fails when it comes to the ‘making the game look appealing’ angle. It only introduces the setting and hints of a story, neither of which are revolutionary and given what I’ve heard about the series’ past, aren’t the things they should be focusing on.

  5. acronix says:

    I guess Pete is going to the DARKER and EDGIER tone because that´s what every story is all about this days. It isn´t bad per se, but the implementation seems…”stupid” is the perfect word to describe it: it misses the point of grey morality and, instead, spits right in our faces a white´n´black setting in which Good is Dumb. The player character´s evilness in this game is nothing but a pathetic attempt at being part of the cool population: the evil ones. But you are still saving the world; no matter how many dogs you kick or how many live chickens you eat, you are still the good guy. You are still the hero. You are still dumb.

    The other possibility is that the Bethesda Syndrome is actually a plague, and he´s just trolling. And becoming richer while he does so.

  6. Senji says:

    My gripe with Fable is the console exclusive angle Fable 2 had.
    I’m not going to buy an Xbox JUST to play this game. What grind my gears even more is the platform lock was completely arbitrary, the game could run on PC as well, but noooooh.
    We’ll wait and see what they do for fable 3 but I’ve still not forgiven them.

    • eri says:

      You forget that Microsoft hates PC gamers. They want you to buy an Xbox because they make more money on that one game, the console itself, and then they’ve got the Trojan Horse in your living room.

    • Rosseloh says:

      Yup. I had to give Fable 2 a miss even though Shamus recommended it (well, everything but the main story that is), because I don’t have an XBox, I have a PS3/PC. If 3 isn’t on either of those platforms, well there’s another $60 they’re missing out on.

      Not that I would buy it right at release…I’d prefer to put someone like Shamus through the pain first! At least he’d be likely to get a review copy or something.

  7. Fists says:

    Killing the chicken after what it went through is pretty odd, it got trampled, had its neck wrung and got burnt to a crisp then it died when shot, thats like killing off wiley coyote.

    Also, as eri said, the chicken didn’t rebel, it ran away, like a chicken.

  8. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I didnt side with the chicken.In fact,I was just waiting for its inevitable demise.Besides,it did fly,so it had a full life.

  9. Jarenth says:

    I can summarize this trailer in three sentences.

    “Welcome to the city of Albion. This place sucks. Go somewhere else instead.”

    • Hitch says:

      My prediction? In the opening of the game you’ll get kicked out of the city and spend the next quarter of the game trying to get past some annoyingly contrived plot door to get back to the last place you’d ever want to be. Not because you have any reason for going back there except that’s where the game is.

      • J says:

        Well, from what I’ve heard you’ll try getting back into the place you’ve been kicked out of so you can take the joint over and install yourself as Queen/King.

        Which kind of counts as a reason, I guess.

  10. Sonnet009 says:

    There’s a lot of valid criticisms here, but my beef with this trailer is the completely superfluous narration.

    I didn’t need Zoe Wanamaker standing over my shoulder, constantly pointing at the events unfolding and saying, “See? The chicken is YOU. Do you see the metaphor we’re going for here?” YES, ZOE. THANK YOU. I GOT IT.

    • winter says:

      I watched it without audio. It seemed okay, though a little pointless and not really relevant to the game.

      • Raygereio says:

        What? Offcourse it’s relevant to the game! The trailer has a chicking being kicked in it. If you can point to anything in the Fable series and say “yeah, that’s Fable”, followed by a sigh; then it’s chicken-kicking.

        • Ramsus says:

          Yeah, I had to watch it twice because the first time I watched it all I was doing was thinking to myself “Ok, who’s gonna do it? Who’s gonna kick the chicken? This isn’t Fable without chicken kicking! Ah they’re probably gonna kick it at the end, I suppose that makes sen….hey they just kicked it…Oh uh…uh huh now it’s dead….yeah kicking it at the end would have been better.” So I wasn’t really even thinking about the story they were trying to tell me, the music, or really anything besides the perfect timing of chicken kicking.

  11. Tizzy says:

    I actually enjoyed that trailer quite a bit. I was expecting much worse. And it’s not as if the voiceover did not let you know what to expect. It’s bleak, but on par with the bleakness of the industrial age, and, more importantly, on par with the way that age described itself in fiction.

    Does it make me want to play a game in that setting? I can’t say that it does. (I have not played the other two installments, maybe one needs to do that to find the trailer grating.)

  12. Then at the end you get to sort of put a single bad guy down without any sense of justice or closure. It just ends.
    Fable III will change this (or so they said) in that what would be the end of Fable I and II is actually the middle of Fable III, the latter half of Fable III is supposed to be what happens (or you decide) after having “won”.

    I really hope Fable III does well with this as it will surely make some other games copy that idea.

    Nico in GTA IV for example, if the end was the halfway point the rest would be him climbing up further in society.
    And I forgot the name of Gay Tony’s bodyguard/business partner, but what if your character began opening your own clubs or taking over for Gay Tony, etc.

    In a way I guess is that what Fable III is attempting is what I’d call a “Double Ending” story, in which the halfway point is the first end (where most games would end) and then the rest of the game leads to the second end.

    It would almost be like if you took Mass Effect I, II and III.
    Moved I’s end into the middle of all 3, moved the ME II stuff before and after the middle “end”.

    A lot of duology games could be glued together to make one game with double ends. (or is Halfway endings more of an appropriate term?)

    It’s almost like two episodes each with their own ending stuck together but the story from the first carries to the second.

    I like the concept and really hope Fable III pulls it off, because there are several games I’ve played where I wish the game continue equally long “after” the “ending”. (open ended gameplay does not count as those do not carry the main story or plot further)

    Slight spoiler warning: In Fable III once you have become King (or Queen) where most would think a game would end, Fable III is only halfway done, the latter half of the game is you being the royal head and your exploits.
    So you get “The Climb to the top, carving yourself into history” then “The view from the top, as you begin to write history as you see fit.”

    So the first half of Fable III is almost like a “Hero” game while the second half is like a “King” game.

    Or to draw a comparison to MMO’s. the middle of Fable III is essentially what one might consider the “endgame” in other games, except that in Fable III the endgame is (hopefully) as big as the first half of the game. (conquering the lands maybe? building an army? who knows, I’m geeked though)
    Maybe it will end with your children or grandchildren taking over the reigns and continuing your legacy. (which would be an awesome ending if you ask me)

    • Hitch says:

      having played Fable and Fable II, I have a lot less faith in Peter Molyneux.

      Either the “first ending” will be like in fable II when Lucian shoots you out of the tower. (Sorry for the spoiler, but really…) It’ll just take a lot longer to get there. Or the main game is so painfully short, they decided to tack on a Broken Steel type extension from the beginning rather than release it as DLC because otherwise it wouldn’t seem like they sold you a whole game. (And even then, it’ll still seem ridiculously short by the standards of a game 10 years ago.)

      Yes. I’m bitter and jaded.

      • 8th_Pacifist says:

        I’m an optimist, but I’m not an idiot. Molyneux’s been saying the same things for years, and consistently delivering games that were mediocre at best. Choosing to believe that this one will be good because “we really mean it this time, guys” is more like self deception.

        • Tizzy says:

          We’ve all been burned before by those game designers who think of themselves as visionaries (Chris Taylor anyone?), and who want to change everything (what does Molyneux have against inventories?), so a cautious attitude is justified.

          At first glance, it looks like an attempt to package two games in one. Very daring, and if they pull it off, it will be a memorable success. But in all likelihood, one half will work better than the other, and even if the difference is not huge, that will be enough to dampen gamers’ enthusiasm.

          • Irridium says:

            Well, I didn’t listen to him at all and quite enjoyed the first two Fables.

            So perhaps the secret to liking Fable, or hating it less is to not listen to Moleneux.

            He burned everyone twice, if he gets you a third time, well then thats simply your fault for believing the same thing he promised for a third damn time.

            • Taellosse says:

              I stopped trusting Molyneux after Black & White. But I played, and at least moderately enjoyed, both Fable games. They’re not exemplars of gaming magnificence, but they’re decent titles with reasonably fun gameplay, some excellent side quests (a lot of them really are quite fun and amusing), and an admittedly discordant main plot. There are some silly mechanics shoehorned in there, sure, and some that could have been better if they’d been implemented differently, but they’re still better games than a lot I’ve played.

              I think you’re right, the key to enjoying Fable games (or, I suspect, anything by Lionhead) is to either ignore, or assume that he’s simply drunk on his own perceived magnificence, Peter Molyneux.

            • Tizzy says:

              My comment was not directed at Molyneux in particular, since I never played any of his games. (I mentioned Chris Taylor because of Dungeon Siege, which sounded really awesome and innovative on paper, but turned out to be surprisingly dull.)

              Whenever I heard anything from Molyneux himself, my reaction has always been: “it sounds interesting, but let’s wait and see”. So far, the reactions when the games came out did not give me the overwhelming urge to try them out. Maybe I’m missing out…

        • wootage says:

          He works for Microsoft. That’s EXACTLY their entire mindset. “Never mind how much the last thing we put out sucked, even though we promised it’d be great. THIS time we’ve really got it, so come on, buy it already.”
          I would be morbidly curious in a count of how many times they’ve managed to do that.

  13. MrKite says:

    Hm. I don’t think the whole point is to mix darkish with humourish (yes I know those words don’t exist), I think it is a classic case of mixing sillyish and epicsh (Again). Think about the opening cinematic of Fable II, a bird flying in the sky of Whateverthenameofthistownis-Ville and ending up crapping on the main character. This is the Jar Jar Binks Effect. The writer puts sillyness in an epic univers and thinks he is cleverly funny.
    It’s the same in this cinematic here. The great tale of a hero struggling for his life, only it’s a silly chicken. And at the ends it dies. It’s like a greek tragedy. With a silly chicken. The Jar Jar Binks Effect.

    The Jar Jar Binks Effect people, it’s out there. It’s a thing.

  14. Gothmog says:

    Populous, Dungeon Keeper, Black & White… they are ALL dark games. In fact all of his games, have similar themes of genocide and despair. So yeah. The guy has issues.

    • Adamantyr says:

      Except Dungeon Keeper was actually FUN to play. My only beef with it is:
      – Only playable through DOSBox now
      – No 3D hardware support (Okay, for the time, not a big deal, but cmon, patch!)
      – Really hated fighting rival Dungeon Keepers. Why not just keep it at good guys?

      • Kdansky says:

        Patching in 3D-Hardware support means that you basically have to rewrite your graphics engine from scratch. Serious effort, for absolutely no gain.

        That said, I have fond memories of Dungeon Keeper one, and the original is somewhere on my shelf. Which is rare, since I did not have much money for games when it was released.

        • Will says:

          Most of the ‘revolutionary’ developers like Peter and Chris Taylor did something revolutionary in the past. Dungeon Keeper, Populous, Total Annihilation, these were all games that were way ahead of their times. I think they’re trying to recapture those revolutionary games, and failing because they’re working commercially.

  15. Teldurn says:

    I have not played the first two games so I cannot comment on the content of the intro. It didn’t quite have the punch enough for me to want to play the game, however. Also, I dunno about the rest of you, but I was irked that at the very beginning, the flag was blowing to the east, while the billowing smoke was tilted to the west.

    In fact, I watched the intro twice, but was really only paying attention to the modeling/animation/effects side of things. I didn’t really even hear the voiceover the second time around.
    (I used to be an animator). :)

  16. Old_Geek says:

    Why does the chef kill the chicken anyway? He doesn’t bring the body back to the kitchen to cook, just leaves it out in the street. The bird was no threat, hadn’t done the chef any harm and was leaving as fast as it could. Just a waste of a good bullet.

  17. The intro makes me more interested in playing a game where you are chicken running through a city and getting into all kinds of shenanigans than playing Fable III. Maybe someone should make that game instead… I’d buy it.

  18. I assume that the end of the intro where the feather lands on the window ledge, is actually right outside the room where you start the journey with your character.

    I don’t mind a intro like this as it’s kind of a showoff,
    it lets you see some of the world, people in it, etc.

    Remember it’s the intro to the game, not the intro to the character (which if it’s anything like Fable I) will be a interactive/playable intro after you’ve been playing around a little first.

    Although I guess they could have done it the other way, using the intro to show you getting born… (watches Shamus get a nasty flashback to Fallout 3 “birth” segment).

  19. Mari says:

    My 12-year-old was watching that over my shoulder. When it was done I sat, stunned and speechless. Luckily she managed to do both our talking, “That poor chicken. Y’know, that kind of – sucked.” I was busy being confused that somehow a chicken managed to survive the process of being fired into a kettle but was killed by a gunshot. As Fists said, kind of like killing of Wile E. Coyote.

  20. GM says:

    Why do i feel the chicken would have lived if i had just ran on,and wow that was curious. I found it more that the message is alone die yet work together succeed!

  21. H.T. Black says:

    Wait….you mean that isn’t funny? I though humor like that was the whole point of Overlord, but you’re telling me it isn’t comedy?

    …Suddenly I don’t feel too good.

    • Syal says:

      If every event injured the chicken noticeably, it would be black comedy. Treating every injury except the last one like it’s a Looney Tunes episode is just jarring.

      • Raygereio says:

        ^This. Also Overlord knows what it wants to do and does it consistently. You are the Saturday-morning cartoon villain. Period. Gnarl isn’t trying to convince you’re some awesome hero that has rainbows coming out of his ass while you’re busying yourself with kidnapping women, grinding Halflings under your heel and committing elf-genocide.

        Up until the gunshot the animation is somewhat entertaining to me. That is, if I ignore the voiceover which is desperately trying to shove the fact that this is going to be a serious, epic quest down my throat, all the while the chicken is having hilarious zany adventures.

        Consistency is important if you’re trying to express some kind of feel. Take this game intro with some inappropriate music dubbed over it: http://tubedubber.com/#SFkFo5SBx-g:llyiQ4I-mcQ:0:100:0:0:true
        It was supposed to be 40k’ish grimdark, now it’s just silly.

        • Syal says:

          I had no problem with the voiceover until the end. I’ve always been a fan of pompousing up everyday activities; it’s not a chicken getting loose, it’s an EPIC STRUGGLE FOR FREEDOM AND THE START OF SOMETHING HUGE! And it would have worked brilliantly if the chicken had flown away through the power of determination. Or if the guy had shot the statue, which then fell on him as the chicken ran away.

          Instead, the chicken dies.

          (Oh yeah, nice link.)
          EDIT: After watching it again, I realize I completely tuned her out after the initial escape. I’m pretty sure it worked better that way.

        • Roll-a-die says:

          You do realize the point of 40k right, it’s not really to be grimdark, but to be a serious parody OF grimdark.

          Also the music made it awesome. And actually synced up at some points.
          EDIT: try this http://tubedubber.com/#UID6LEzvRRo:kffacxfA7G4:0:100:0:0:true

          • rayen says:

            completely off topic but those dubs were hilarious. the second one scared me though. i thought it was some pop princess or something ryhanna or a britney wanna-be or something then i saw it was justin bieber.

            I had never heard him before now. to that end. WTF!?!?!?! how old is he? why haven’t his balls dropped? why in gods name is ludacris singing and not popping a cap in his ass? gahhh! heard all the hype and thought it was typical hate the new celebrity tabliod stuff. it all makes sense now…

            also i never thought WH40K was suppose to be a parody. i thought it was just suppose to be a morally ambiguous dark spin on traditional sci-fi space and fantasy themes. but maybe that just cause i read the books. although i will admit the orks are a parody and are usually just for laughs.

            • Roll-a-die says:

              Answering each paragraph in reverse

              A serious parody is when something is played so straight that it becomes laughable. Basically, making something serious that’s not meant to be, like a homosexual, blood porn version of toy story. Giving that a serious plot that explores the ramification of what the society would be like in loose terms, without getting rid of the straight face. Think TimeCube.

              WH40K was founded on the ideals and genres that were played straight in things like Dune, Alien, SST, Star Wars, LoTR, and many other things, then taken to the extremest maximum possible. Mix in some communist rambling and paranoia and you have a recipe for what should be a tongue and cheek parody, but when played straight is entirely different, and becomes all the more funny.

              And really if you thought massive macho men in massive 2 foot thick power armor, wielding massive pistols, that shoot massive amounts of rockets at a massive rate, while mowing down a massive number of massively overpowered enemies, while singing a massive number of chants to keep themselves clean from the massive threat of a massive organization of massively powerful demons, whom massively destabilize the massive amount of people on a massive number of worlds, using a massive number of tactics, on a massive scale, was REALLY serious than you… I don’t even know about you.

              Justin Bieber is 16, I have no clue about his testes, he may be a eunuch, Ludacris sold out a LONG time ago, and facts tend to do that.

              • rayen says:

                well i take WH40K as seriously as i take metrosexual elves fighting semi humanoid monsters spawn from the underworld and people of a short stature growing enourmous beards and digging for treasure inside caves with streampunk technology. That take it seriously is a stretch, I see it as I see all fantasy.

              • Soylent Dave says:

                I hate it when people do this on the internet, but I’m going to do it anyway:

                Speaking as someone who knows/ knew some of the GW design team, they take 40k’s grim darkness pretty seriously. 40k is GW’s baby – it’s their unique selling point (carefully comprised of umpteen intellectual properties nicked from all over the bloody place..!). Space Marines in particular (despite being ripped from Heinlein).

                You’ll notice, for example, there’s a lot less ‘comedy’ happenings in 40k than in Warhammer. e.g. Warhammer Orcs & goblins are farcical; 40k Orks are barbaric.

                They’ve also spent a lot of time excising the less ‘serious’ bits from the 40k universe (squats, zoats, the way Orks used to blow themselves up all the time, noise marines with electric guitars etc.).

                Of course, the fact that all of this stuff existed is evidence that some of the 40k designers didn’t take the whole thing too seriously – but as a whole, the Grim Darkness bit is played pretty straight down at the Reichstag (GW Head Office has a massive Imperial Eagle blazoned across its front).

      • H.T. Black says:

        My god…you mean we’re supposed to take the Fable games seriously? My entire world was just spun on its head.

        • Syal says:

          …I am now thoroughly confused. What exactly are you trying to say?

          • H.T. Black says:

            I thought the Fable games were self-parodies in the vein of Warhammer 40K or Overlord, only you were cast as the strawman hero instead of the strawnman villain. The stupid accents, the undisguised and nonsensical railroading, the unabashed way that they go for “Shoot the Shaggy Dog”-style moments…I thought the entire thing was just the writer poking fun at the archtypical heroic tale. That’s why I thought watching the chicken go through all that crap only to take a cap at the end was funny; because it was lambasting the industry’s recent obsession with darkness.

            But then you up and tell me that it’s meant to be serious, and my view of the game suddenly switches directions.

  22. rayen says:

    pre-order now eh? how about i do what i did last time and, you know, not. my first experience with the game was fable 1, i played through up to getting out of the castle of heros thing. I said “this makes no sense” and stopped. Then my friends came back and said “wait! fable 2 came out and is better.” i then got a taste of fable 2 in the form of the reaver’s escape quest. i then went home and played morrowind to remind myself what a good fantasy RPG is. i then moved 800 miles away from the people who suggested fable to me (this was actually unrelated but funny when i thought about it).

    What i think the trailer is trying to convey is you aren’t suppose to THE ONE in this game. that there is going to be a bigger battle going on around you. that there is a rebellion and you are going to be part of it. and that alone you will fail and that you are going to have to part of a bigger movement. and that is a great thing. be part of something larger is never bad. being part of a team is cool. team fortress, WoW, star wars battle front, those are examples that made that kind of aspect fun. I love games where you charge in into the fray fighting for your life and beliefs, an entire army at your side.

    BUT this is a problem for this game. this is a game where you are suppose to be THE ONE. hercules would not be improved by the entire army of greece backing him up. neo going against mr smith would not be better if nebuchanezzer (i have no idea how to spell that) dropped in on the fight and flattened smith. a fable is about a stalwart hero of the land taking on impossible odds and coming out triumphant, usually there being a morale to be learned. Mass effect would not be as good if the concil immediately believed sauren was bad and sent a giant fleet after him (plot holes aside). sometimes it pays to be THE ONE and THE ONLY ONE. which is what this trailer/opening is saying you aren’t, because if you try to be THE ONE, the game will respond with “bang. your dead.”

    • Mari says:

      I dunno, I kind of got the impression that you’re still THE ONE but you’re now THE ONE LEADER instead of THE ONE FIGHTER if that makes sense. It’s about the captain of the army instead of Hercules. In anime terms think Rick Hunter from Robotech. The story is about him but he’s not the only character in it working toward a common goal. He’s the squadron leader and inspires his men (boys?) to greatness (less suckitude?) but when the Zentradi attack the whole squadron goes out there to fight. OK not the best analogy but my goofball husband has Robotech on my mind.

  23. SatansBestBuddy says:

    Don’t you hate it when good game designers are convinced that they’re good writers, too?

  24. Neil Polenske says:

    “There is something wrong with that guy.”

    What, Milo wasn’t a big enough clue?

  25. Irridium says:

    I rather liked it. I love the Fable series’ dark humor. This looks like more dark humor.

    Hopefully the actual plot is better than Fable 2’s poor excuse for a plot.

  26. Eljacko says:

    This is going to sound like massive fanboyism (because it is) but I think that’s Lionhead’s intention here: I think the entire point of Fable is a beautiful, cartoon-esque land consisting almost entirely of evil acts and shallow people. Overlord did the same thing by making everyone a giant douchebag and then having you murder them. That said, Overlord did it in an interesting, relatively sophisticated manner by taking common tropes from the various fantasy races and then exaggerating them so that it made those various races seem more evil than good: the Elves are all lazy bastards, the Dwarves are all selfish and greedy, and all of the Halflings are gluttons. And then you kill them all. In Fable the people are a bunch of fickle, shallow jerks who only exist to clap and laugh when you do tricks for their amusement and be killed when you get bored. Their personalities are inconsequential at best and never have any significant bearing on anything you do. The wife and children the game allows you to have exist only to leech money and never provide anything beyond minor set pieces and blacked out sex scenes. The developers don’t seem to realize this and so they never really hit the full level of exaggeration and satire that Overlord does, and so everything just seems contrived and contradictory: even if you do horribly evil things (which you certainly will) the game still has you save the world from the horrible evil blighting this picturesque fairy tale landscape, even though in many cases the character you create seems more like the sort to side with the evil villain. In Overlord, of course, you are the moustache-twirling, flappy-cape-wearing Snidely Whiplash of the fantasy world, and that game has you embrace it. In Fable you’re supposedly trying to prevent evil, even though all you really do is propagate it.

  27. Scott McMillin says:

    Fable is too cartoonish (in both presentation and depth) to support that sort of complex narrative.

    So something that’s “cartoonish” can’t have a complex narrative? Sounds like a generalization that won’t stand up to scrutiny to me.

    But to go through all that and then end with a “BANG, the protagonist is dead, the end” punchline is not entertaining to me.

    I’m curious as to whether you were entertained up until the point the chicken was killed? There are quite a lot of films, for instance, that are very entertaining that end with the protagonist(s) dying. I didn’t like that they died. I didn’t want them to die. But I loved and was certainly entertained by many of those films (I won’t list any here just to avoid any spoilers).

    The series presents a whimsical fairytale world and then systematically murders the innocents

    Methinks you all should take a look at the original Grimm’s Fairy Tales; here’s a collection of the “grimmest”. Folklore held a place that horror films hold for us in modern culture. “Rumplestiltskin gets torn in half, Cinderella’s stepsisters get their eyes pecked out, and Snow White’s stepmother dances in red hot iron shoes until she dies from exhaustion.” Just doing a quick search on Grimm’s stories brings back descriptions like “Incest. Child abuse. Cannibalism. Severed limbs in bloody basins” and “graphic descriptions of incest, murder, mutilation, and cannibalism that fill the pages of these bedtime stories for children.”

    Before Disney sanitized, and for all intents re-defined, what a fairy tale is, there was a long tradition of folklore and fables that we would consider inappropriate for contemporary kids. But then again I see plenty of pre-adolescent kids in the theater (with their parents) seeing incredibly violent action films piled high with blood, gore, violence, and death.

    I, for one, prefer the dark stuff to Disney any day.

    • Irridium says:

      Which is why I love Pixar.

      They seem to be the only movie studio with the balls to use dark themes in their movies. Yes they look like kiddy movies, but don’t be fooled, they deal with mature themes.

      Plus they’re like the only ones who realize that family entertainment means entertainment for the entire family. Where almost everyone else sees “family entertainment” as slapstick for 5 year olds.

    • Shamus says:

      “So something that’s “cartoonish” can’t have a complex narrative? Sounds like a generalization that won’t stand up to scrutiny to me.”

      Now, you jumped right over the important part of that sentence like it wasn’t even there. Methinks you should read what I actually wrote. I even said dark stuff is fine. You can go for gritty dark. (Vampire.) You can go for black comedy. (Overlord.) You can subvert existing stories for humorous effect. (Shrek.) But all of these take skill and and a writer with a sense of purpose. Fable is just childish, shallow, and ugly. As other s pointed out, this movie is like killing Wile E. Coyote.

      And yes, I read Grimm Bros.

      “Man, Battlefield Earth was retarded.”

      “You must not be aware of Star Wars.”

      Uh? The existence of those stories does not magically elevate Fable. It still needs to stand on its own in some way, and it doesn’t.

      At any rate, those stories (in their original form) are not popular today for a reason. Disney didn’t just clean them up because they’re a soulless corporation. They did it because most people don’t like dismemberment and rape in their entertainment.

      • evileeyore says:

        “At any rate, those stories (in their original form) are not popular today for a reason. Disney didn’t just clean them up because they’re a soulless corporation. They did it because most people don’t like dismemberment and rape in their entertainment.”

        Your wrong.

        Those stories are still popular in their original form today. They are not “mass media friendly”. They are not what the politically correct agenda would prefer “civilized” people enjoy. However they are still enjoyed.

        Why else are the original fairy tale books till printed and sold? Why do games and movies like this still find market space? There is nothing wrong with Mr. Molyneux.

        • Shamus says:

          I guess we argue over what we mean by “popular”. I would say that nearly everyone thinks of Disney when I say “Snow White” as opposed to the Grimms. They’re AWARE of the work (one hopes) but that doesn’t make them popular compared to the newer works.

          “There is nothing wrong with Mr. Molyneux.”

          Shrug. I think you’re giving him too much credit. American McGee explored the works of Grimm and contrasted them with their modern incarnations and while the game itself wasn’t fun, you could see where he was going and what he was saying. I think Molyneux pours out the blood & injustice because he’s a hack who doesn’t know how to make a good villain.

          “How can I make the player care about this villain? I’ll have him mutilate their sister, burn down their home, kill their dad, kidnap their mother, and torture the player.”

          Actually… if Molyneux hired McGee to do the writing for Fable, that would be pretty awesome. We’d get Molyneux’s gameplay and McGee’s writing.

  28. BeamSplashX says:

    This reminds me of Tim Burton films. I dislike Tim Burton films.

    “Ooh someone was decapitated! Isn’t that naughty? Cue the gothic-yet-comical music! Teeheehee!”

    If the game is fun, I can forgive a lot. Yes, even Resident Evil.

  29. (LK) says:

    Maybe it’s just a failed attempt at parodying the obsession with “dark” themes in mature entertainment.

    Emphasis on “failed.”

  30. Studoku says:

    I have to agree with Shamus about the trailer. Lionhead should have just done a trailer made up entirely of the hero shooting things (and occasionally cutting things with a sword of course) like Fallout NV. Or every frigging game that comes out these days.

    • Not possible really as you haven’t created the character yet.
      The only way they could do such an intro is to not show the character.

      Mass Effect 2 did its’ intro in a interesting way, you never saw the face or heard the protagonist speak.

      I assume Fable III will allow some customization (thin, strong, short, tall, fat, etc.)

      That chicken run was just the intro to the game, not the intro to your character (which starts inside that window at the end).

      I’m crossing my fingers that the first half of the game is you getting revenge and the second half is what to do with your newfound power.

      I am however curious as to why the PC release will be delayed, and I’m hoping it’s for the better. (key remapping, proper mouse/keyboard support, better textures, more scalable effects etc.) I certainly
      can’t think of any other reasons. As long as Fable III is at least 50% better than Fable I and II I’ll probably end up getting it.

  31. ngthagg says:

    I can forgive a lot, but a couple of the scenes, specifically in the factory and the kitchen, were completely unoriginal. I’ve seen them before. Many times. That was the big conflict between the narration and the video for me. The narration on its own is a lead-in to a potentially compelling story. The video, on the other hand, is generic.

  32. Mantergeistmann says:

    Am I the only one who couldn’t figure out where the crane is trying to unload that crate to at the beginning? It looks like it’s just taking it off the boat and then swinging it right back around. Maybe it’s supposed to be a metaphor for not actually changing anything?

  33. Maldeus says:

    Here’s the thing. I’d love to play a game in a bleak world where I get to be the force that restores hope and justice to the world, mostly by having a million people say “there is no way to overthrow the evil empire” and then getting a band of rag-tag rebels together and saying “watch me.” Also, I should be able to kill the source of the oppression with extreme prejudice at the climax of an epic boss battle at some point.

    But Peter Molyneux’s track record suggests this isn’t what’s going to happen. We’re going to wander from one inconsequential, frequently nonsensical black and white moral “choice” to another, fight villains we like better than some of our allies, and then be a king for a while.

  34. X2-Eliah says:

    Err, Okay. Watched the video to get some backing to my ‘You are all ofer-analyzing jerks, and the video is actually quite cool if you don’t over-criticise it’ stance, but, ya know, after watching it, I’m not too fond of it anymore either.

    I can forgive the jar between the narrative and the video – It actually does a good job of showing exactly how the game blends comical with serious, it serves to give an insight in the setting and the situation of the world.

    The problem lies with the video itself. The music is, indeed, disjointed – and only seems to notice what goes on in the visual field after the chicken’s feathers detach.
    The awfully cliche-ic chase scene (especially the kitchen) is not really than fun once you’ve seen it time and time again in other places.

    But the most problematic thing is that the ‘humour’ used here is beyond dark, it is simply cruel. I am not sure if the developers of the video though it would seem funny, or did they really intend to spark other, deeper feelings.

    To counter shamus’ point that the ending parts don’t invoke entertainment for you, well, I expect they are not supposed to. They are supposed to set your mood up for the game – so if you leave it depressed, disillusioned, then that’s great.

    All in all, the comedical presentation aspect is what fails the result. If they had made the same script and graphics, but with a truly dark-ish, serious overtone, I bet people would applaud the result as ‘moving’ and ‘well-planned’.

  35. rayen says:

    watching and commenting on this again… as i watched it i tried understanding what the narration said combined with the video and i came to one overpowering realization. niether has any bearing on the other except the beginning and the end. it’s not meant to set a tone, nor convey any plot info (well not much). you are not the chicken nor are you important. it’s just fluff. the cook is the bad guy and the chicken isn’t the plucky hero. to call back to my personal favorite, in morrowind it’s starts with some text scrolls and a voiceover with ash storms in the background. this is basically that. it could be easily replaced by panning scenery, wildlife or an assembly line. we are all digging in too deeply, searching for a meaning that isn’t there. we’ve been jaded and burned by games in the past and trying to calclate whether it is good or bad based on the opening is exactly what marketing wants. this just hype. teaspoon thin hype. that we are even talking about it is the whole point. by the end of fable 2 we decided whether we were going to buy fable 3 or not. this is just reinforce the notion to buy it and reignite buzz about fable.

    what i’m saying is stop paying attention to it because thats what it wants. don’t look for sweater in a cotton ball.

  36. Saint_007 says:

    …It makes sense to me. It really does. Either I’ve gone insane (a real possibility), or we haven’t realized what the whole deal is.

    It’s a Deconstruction.

    A Deconstruction is where you take a story or story idea, and then tear the hell out of it, explaining why it’s ridiculous or contrived. You nitpick at it, brutalize it, and rip out the idealism and stupid optimism, revealing how ridiculous the whole concept is. And that’s what Fable is. It’s a Deconstruction of the whole fairy tale/heroic fantasy video game. You’re a hero in a fantastic world, fight for right and freedom… then get promptly abused, mistreated, cheated, and your loved ones needlessly killed. And then when you do kill the bad guy, it’s unsatisfying and you know other a lot of other assholes got away.

    I’m not saying it’s a good deconstruction, much less a good story. It comes up with some pretty cheap twists from what I read (having never played any of the series myself). But that’s what it is; it takes the original heroic story, and rips it apart, revealing its weaknesses.

    I’m familiar with the mecha anime genre, so I’ll use that to show how deconstructions work. (PS I’m going to be pretty spoileriffic, so be forewarned)

    Original Concept: Mazinger Z by Go Nagai. Kouji Kabuto is a hot-headed, tough high schooler who pilots the giant robot his grandfather created and beats the crap out of an evil criminal organization. He loses friends along the way, but he’s angry, not angsty. Eventually, he wins, destroying evil and saving the day.

    Deconstruction: Mobile Suit Gundam (original series) by Yoshiyuki Tomino. Robots are not badass machines, they’re military hardware built for a purpose. Amuro Ray fights the evil Zeon, but it’s a bad world. According to the backstory, half the human race dies before the start of the series. That’s pretty bad. Eventually, though, through blood, sweat, tears, and the loss of good friends, Amuro and his ragtag bunch of misfits beat Zeon’s armies. The sequels get progressively darker, but there you go.

    Further Deconstruction: Macross (or Robotech, your choice). They take apart the concepts already introduced in Gundam (including those taken from Mazinger and already dissected). The biggest deconstructions shown are Lynn Mynmei, who comes off as the beautiful girl, but revealed to be emotionally immature, and the final attack of the Zentraedi, who proceed to wipe out 90% of humanity before getting beaten. This completely wrecked the idea of the heroes able to save the world, since it’s obviously cliched; how can a few folk in a single super-ship, no matter how uber, fight off a fleet in its thousands before it’s too late? It logically doesn’t work, and it shows.

    Yet ANOTHER Deconstruction: Neon Genesis Evangelion. Just… NGE. Shinji Ikari deconstructs the kid pilot who falls into the cockpit; instead of being tough and heroic, figuring things out in a few episodes (like Kouji, Rick Hunter or even Amuro Ray), he bumbles on in terror, barely managing out of sheer luck. NGE’s been discussed in depth so much that you can read it elsewhere; suffice to say that NGE was designed, from start to finish, as a “take that” towards mecha anime and even the fans themselves!!

    What we need is a REconstruction.

    A Reconstruction is when you take a concept, tear it apart like the Deconstruction… and then put it back together in a way that makes sense. It’s probably not going to be as innocent or hopeful as it used to be, but if you rebuild the concept right, it’s satisfying. Well and truly satisfying.

    After the darker age of mecha initiated by NGE, we had a couple of mecha shows that were pretty dark and brooding. So some people said “screw this, we want the good old heroes back”. And so they Reconstructed the mecha anime genre.

    I know of three reconstructions of the mecha anime genre (Gurren Lagann, GaoGaiGar and Heroic Age), but let’s focus on the one I actually watched.

    Reconstruction: Gurren Lagann. Simon is a wimpy, panicky little kid who really only knows how to dig holes. He falls into the cockpit of the mecha, and with the help of his big bro/role model, Kamina, he fights Beastmen. He’s prone to panic and running away, and only sticks through it because Kamina inspires him. Then Kamina dies. Boom. Simon is a wreck, and can’t do anything worthwhile for a good while. But then he gets back, realizing that he’s his own man, and God DAMN does he ever kick ass. The villains are revealed to have good intentions and trying to save the world their own way, but their ends don’t justify the means, and even though we lose a few loved characters on the way, the happy, or rather, bittersweet ending is there. Humanity is free once again.

    Let’s take the above scene again.

    Original Disney Concept: Chicken runs away to live free in the forest. Everything’s peachy keen.

    Deconstruction: Chicken tries to flee bravely… and gets killed. Even if it made it to the outside world, it would probably be eaten by a wolf.

    Reconstruction: Chicken tries to escape, loses a wing, gets brutally scarred, almost eaten by stray dogs and wild animals… but at the end, it’s leading its little chicks through the forest to scrounge up some grub. It’s not going to be an easy life, but somehow we know they’ll grow up and have kids of their own. It’s a happy ending.

    Basically, Fable tore apart the heroic fantasy genre. We need someone to stitch it back up in a way that makes sense.

    For instance:

    Original Concept: Hero fights bad guys, loses love interest, fights all the way to the villain and kills him or tosses him to rot in jail, and lives happily ever after with the tomboy who turns out to be a bombshell.

    Deconstruction (Fable): Hero lives in apparently beautiful world, but as we go on we realize how awful it is. Innocents suffer, bad guys thrive, and evil killing the main villain isn’t satisfactory, if they allow us to kill him at all. Oh, and you don’t get the girl.

    Reconstruction: Hero goes to fight evil, is manipulated, mistreated and lied to from all quarters… but then wises up, and if he can’t turn the tables on those playing him like a puppet, at least he can force his own happy ending. And the bad guy, assuming he survives the highly satisfying ass-kicking he thoroughly deserves, is in deep, deep shit for the rest of his miserable life.

    Too bad video game companies seem to lack that kind of vision.

    • Maldeus says:

      Problem with trying to make a deconstruction is that so many people play video games to win. It’s okay to make winning difficult. It’s okay if certain decisions on the players part lead them to a tragic ending where they don’t get the girl and the villain gets away, and their protagonist barely escapes with his life to eke out the rest of his pitiful existence in a godforsaken forest, constantly on the run from the villain’s troops for fear of being captured and executed. It’s okay if one of the possible endings has your hero enjoying a Pyrrhic Victory, with all the villains beaten but everything worth fighting for destroyed in the battle. It’s okay if one of the endings leaves your hero at the bottom of Toluca Lake.

      But there has to be a way to win, to beat the bad guy, save the girl, and the rest of the world, too. Or if not, there has to be a choice between several of these. Maybe you can save the girl or the town, but not both. Or maybe you can do both, but the game is designed around you just doing one to progress, so trying to do both is going to make things at least twice as difficult and probably lead to a lot of frustration.

      The only way deconstructions, where the bad guy wins and the good guy loses because the premise of the good guy winning was ridiculous in the first place, the only way these kinds of stories can work in a video game is if the player is the bad guy. See: Dungeon Keeper, Overlord, etc. etc.

      • Jarenth says:

        In Peter Molyneux’ defense, sort of, he probably thinks that the trinary choice at the end of Fable II is exactly the sort of ‘possible to win, possible to lose’-ending you describe here.

        “See, you can save the world if you want, by saving all these people — but you’ll end up all poor and alone! Or, you can save your dog and the people you love, but at the cost of leaving the world a poor rotten place. Or, you can choose for money — but get this, it’s really not all that much money, and you find out afterwards that it wasn’t really worth it anyway! Haha, I’m so deep!”

        Of course, this doesn’t actually work because the world and story of Fable II actively discourage you from getting immersed in and caring about the world.

      • Nihil says:

        Obsidian’s Mask of the Betrayer is the one game I know of that did pull this off. It required four separate endings, one of which is very, very difficult to achieve, but the key technique was really to punch your character in such a way that you can’t help but change over the course of the game.

        From the goody-two-shoes or inexplicably-asshole-hero that you were at the end of the original campaign, you become a tormented protagonist who is aware of having been manipulated by a long sequence of both spiteful evil and – worse – well-intentioned pragmatic entities.

        So, when you win, it doesn’t feel like you achieved greatness – it only feels like you brought the barest modicum of balance to the crap that’s happened so far, whether through forgiveness or nasty, cruel revenge.

        The last few chapters of this Let’s Play of the game (appropriately entitled “Only Love Could Be So Cruel”) illustrate this pretty well, particulary this one.

  37. Mina says:

    I know my first reaction to a random chicken running through my kitchen is to grab the cleaver.

  38. MichaelG says:

    Imagine the original Shrek if Lord Farquad had raped Fiona, killed donkey, burned down Shrek’s home, wiped out the fairytale creatures, and then at the end Shrek just strangled him and wandered off.

    Sounds better than the original Shrek… And no sequels!

  39. Jeremy says:

    It’s quite depressing that you get such high production values going into something that’s so jarring. The chicken thing could have been interesting if all the other characters weren’t so cartoonish and pixarish and if the ‘rebel’ thing was dropped entirely with the arc of the opening just being about being downtrodden instead.

  40. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Funny thing that just popped to my mind:You liked the path,and that one is daaaaark.Way darker than fable.Way darker than this trailer.But,you didnt like fable 2,so you attack this trailer as being too dark.It seems your dislike for the previous game is seeping into this trailer.

    I dont blame you though.Its made by(mostly)the same people,so it will probably suck as well.Im just saying.

    • rayen says:

      he didn’t say anything was wrong with dark and even said it works in alot of cases. it just doesn’t work with this art style and concept. it sets up a bugs bunny cartoon and gives you Saw.

    • acronix says:

      Don´t see how we could compare The Path and Fable. The Path is a dark psycological drama that sells itself as a fairytale while Fable is fantasy-fairytale-ish with dark and grimm tones that sells itself as a funny fantasy action rpg.

    • Shamus says:

      You are 100% right that my perception of the previous games is coloring my perceptions here. But to be clear, I didn’t attack fable for JUST being dark. It’s dark, stupid, and shallow. It can’t support the narrative it’s trying to pull off. The Path is a great example of Dark Done Right. It has something more going on that Pete yelling, HAHA! Gotcha!” At the end.

  41. Irridium says:

    Also, in case anyone’s interested, that design a villager pre-order thing is actually open to anyone. You just need to pre-order if want to upload them in the game. Its a great time waster if nothing else.

    http://lionhead.com/Fable3VillagerMaker/

  42. Kevin says:

    Doens’t sound terribly far off from the tone of the Warhammer 40K universe the way you described it.

    In Warhammer, you have humanity 38 thousand years hence that has turned into a cult of personality that is so over-the-top fascist and chauvanistic that you can see it as tongue in cheek in a way (I ask you, is a chain-sword, awesome as it is, really that practical of weapon, synergy with jet-packs, power-armour, and blessings of the Emperor aside?)

    Then on the other end of the spectrum we have the Tau, a totalitarian collectivist society. And for god’s sake, there’s space-undead (Necrons), space-elves (Eldar), and space orcs (well, Orks).

    And the Orks, whose goffiness I admire, don’t loot and kill as a means of propagating their species, they do it because it’s fun (and it’s literally hard-wired into their genetics, which is hilarious as well.).

  43. John Magnum says:

    I think I’ve got it figured out: Garth Ennis is secretly writing the Fable games.
    It’s the same juvenile “we’ll ‘deconstruct’ fantasies by turning them into SUPER DARK AND GRITTY realistic things filled with gratuitous violence and sex and violence and violence and mean people” thing. Although Garth doesn’t have the tone disconnect of Fable; he generally has matching dark gritty art, and his stories are pretty unrelenting.

  44. equinox216 says:

    I’ve enjoyed the previous 2 games, but I suspect that’s because I don’t bother paying attention to anything Molyneux says about them, ever. Or the press releases, or the lead media. “Got a world, some customization, some exploring, with a generally comedic bent.” is enough for me to give it a shot via GameFly.

    Also, so I can torment my wife with another game where people randomly yell “Oh, yas, ‘e’s a chicken-chaser, ‘e is!” at me as I run past. Honestly, the emotes are my favorite part.

  45. Mazinja says:

    I will probably buy Fable 3 if I can do two things:

    1) Find Reaver
    2) Kill Reaver

    because seriously, FUCK that guy.

  46. ima420r says:

    The chicken almost flew away at the the end. it flapped and flapped, and actually lifted off the ground before *bang*. I was sad. I mean, a chicken trying so hard to fly that it *almost does is determination. I felt for it.

    Poor chicken.

    Doesnt make me want or not want the game any more or less.

  47. Bluedrake says:

    I finished the game yesterday. More of the same, really. I’m guessing Shamus, Yahtzee and AngryJoe are going to tear it to shreads. Just a feeling.

  48. natureguy85 says:

    As usual, I know this is old, but I just found it. I hate this trailer. I hate “shoot the shaggy dog” stories. I always think “What was the point? What a waste of my time.” The outcome did fit with the narration, but it was just a horrible tonal shift from the presentation. The bad things happening to the chicken were all silly and didn’t have a lasting effect. I probably could have gone with it if it wasn’t for the last scene of the chicken flailing, either calling to the other birds for help or desperately trying to fly. That was what made the end so sad. The chicken wasn’t bested by a superior opponent; the universe just said “fuck you.”

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