"Wrested Peace"

"The Mummy's Tooth"

"Scarred Straight"

"The Survivors"

"Sights for Sore Isotopes"


comic updated October 24, 2008

Peter Molynieux was asked in a recent interview what he thought of "Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion." This was an interesting question, largely because, on a technical level, "Oblivion" arguably came closer to Molynieux's vision for the original "Fable" than the original "Fable" actually did.

Molynieux replied that, when he hears that a game takes 70-80 hours to complete, that's basically a 20,000-page novel. And if someone hands you a 20,000-page novel, are you likely to finish it?

In my case, the answer would be, "Depends on the novel."

I have Oblivion, and while I HAVEN'T finished it, and probably never will reach 100% completion on it (a feat I've never even managed with any of the GTA games), I still play it from time to time, and that's the more-important issue. I CAN, if I so wish, run through the five or six remaining hours it would take to complete the main quest, and I'd have, effectively, finished the game. But, as anyone who's played the Elder Scrolls series knows, you don't play them for the masterful storytelling. You play 'em because they're DEEP.

For me, the whole question is: how big a part of the game IS the storyline? If the storyline didn't exist, would there still be a game worth playing? In "Oblivion's" case, there honestly would. In the case of "Fable 2," there would, as well, but it wouldn't be as appealing as story-less "Oblivion." This isn't a slam on "Fable 2" or a compliment for "Oblivion", it's a simple appraisal of what they're about.

I don't mean to make too much of this -- I'm a confirmed Molynieux fan, and the guy's probably had four hundred interviews over the course of this game's development; if he put a lot of thought into EVERY answer, the game would have never been made. But it's important to remember that video games are NOT novels, and not every game is going to have the same purpose. Is the point of a five-course-meal to get to the end? Do you get up to that last bit of broccoli, put down your fork because you just can't eat any more, and say, "Well, THIS was a total bust."?

Different strengths, different weaknesses. I realize I STILL haven't spoken about "Fable 2" on its own, yet. Maybe monday. Happy weekend!

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