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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old 02-20-2008, 01:09 PM Thread Starter
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Xbox 360~ Fable 2 Co-op Details

February 20, 2008 - There were many things originally planned for the first Fable that didn't make it into the final product. One of these exciting features was co-op play. It was functional, playable and pretty damned cool at E3 2003. Now Molyneux's original vision of an RPG you can play on the couch with your buddy is soon to become a reality. Cooperative play is alive and kicking in Fable 2 and is the third of (what has now become) four innovations in Lionhead Studios' upcoming RPG.

In Fable 2, you are the last hero of Albion. At least, the last person who seems to realize he (or she) is a hero. Your primary goal is to search the world for other heroes and recruit them to create a sort of medieval Avengers. Time is of the essence as a mysterious rival is assembling their own group of heroes (or villains). Whether or not this ties into online functionality for Fable 2 is unknown at this time. All Lionhead mastermind Peter Molyneux would talk about was the single-console co-op mode.

Co-op is a simple setup where, at any time and at any point in the adventure, a friend can plug in a controller, hit start, and join your game world. This player is considered a henchman, who assists on your adventure. He can do anything he might do in his own game -- fart, kill Hobs, kick chickens -- and takes all his earned experience, gold and renown with him when he pops back off to his own version of Albion. The only thing he won't have is his own dog. In part because the team at Lionhead didn't want to create a butt-sniffing animation, but mainly due to framerate issues.

In the demo, "The Molynator" had created a female character. This was our first good look at a heroine in Fable 2. Molyneux's lass was dressed in daisy dukes and a low-cut top. And yes, there are boob physics that allow a lady hero's fleshy parts to move independently with DOA-like bounciness. Hopping into the game was a hard-nosed male hero, who would serve as henchmen.

Before entering the game, a menu screen allows the two players to negotiate a split of money, XP, and renown earned while in co-op. If you are having trouble beating an enemy, you can "hire" a henchman, promising him all the renown and gold to assists you while you snag the bulk of the XP. Or however else you want to set things up. This is certainly going to allow for some cheating, but hey, it's your game, Molyneux says. If you want to be the hero that cheats, so be it.

About 5 years ago in Molyneux's game world, his heroine chatted up a bloke in a pub and took him home. "We had unprotected sex and I ended up pregnant," Molyneux admitted. His heroine has a five-year-old son whom she hasn't seen in nearly six months. It's off for a visit back home with the family.

On the road, we had a chance to see how the "HUD-less interface" worked. As you may recall, the first innovation in Fable 2 is love in the form of a faithful dog. That dog acts as the HUD in most cases. If there is danger, he steps forward, looks in the direction of an enemy and snarls. This is in lieu of a radar. If you are near a quest item, you get a similar reaction alerting you. The same when you are around an important character and so on. It seems well-integrated and perfectly natural. It's a bit too soon to affirm Molyneux's claim that the dog in Fable 2 is the "most amazing AI in a game ever," but it's certainly slick.

Just because your dog points something out doesn't mean you have to listen. Fable 2 is an open-world game that grants the freedom to choose your own path. Your dog will try and lead you towards your current objective, but you can go a different way and he'll follow. As Molyneux promises, "Every fence can be jumped over; every cliff can be jumped off."

As it turns out, Molyneux's pooch has come across some Hobs. Combat with two players works much like it does solo. You have a single button for melee combat, one for ranged attacks and one for magic. But in co-op, you have the opportunity to earn extra XP with tag-team combos. If you launch an enemy in the air and your friend shoots them, you get bonus XP. In fact, combat itself is built around the idea of looking cool (like a swashbuckler) to enhance the experience earned. When an enemy dies, they leave behind an orb of XP. The better you are at combat, the bigger the orb. That's particularly important with co-op, because you are sharing the XP and renown. There is only minor scaling of enemy strength when in co-op, so if you plan to earn your share of XP, you'll need to master maximizing combos.

Gold, by the way, is not earned through combat. To make cash, you need to work the economy -- Invest in some houses or get a job. Become a blacksmith or a barman or a henchman for another player. No word yet on if you can be a forklift operator in Albion, but our fingers are crossed. If you just want to blaze through the game, you can certainly do so. Just know that you'll be a dirt poor hero when the credits roll.

Your family in Fable 2 is completely reliant on you for money (and therefore food). If you never bring home the bacon, they will begin to starve. If you want to be cruel, wait for your child to come to you famished. "Mum, I'm really hungry." Whip out an apple pie and eat it in front of him. That's always good for a laugh, you cruel bastard.

After a few skirmishes, our heroine and her henchman arrived homed. They were greeted by Molyneux's virtual son who begged his mother, "Don't ever leave us all alone again." He then went on to declare he would one day be a hero, like his mother. The old man wasn't so happy to see his adventuring wife returning after a six-month absence. All he did was complain about how he thought she was dead, how she didn't appreciate him. And on and on. It got so bad, you sort of wanted to shoot the guy. But as in Fable 1, you can't off your own spouse. Fortunately, your henchman can.

One bullet later and the nagging husband was gone and the son was fatherless. The moment mommy dearest leaves the area, the son will be placed in an orphanage. He can still be visited, but he may grow up to resent his mother. Who knows, he could even become a bad seed. Don't worry about losing out on some nookie. You can have a different family in every city in Albion. If one is dead, just move on to the next. Why the hell not?

It should be noted that murdering your boss's husband is a pretty evil thing to do. NPCs react both to the main hero and her henchman. And if you are playing a good character, but hanging with an evil compatriot, people will take note. It won't ruin your reputation, but it certainly will be a negative.

Having a buddy play co-op play isn't just about combat and speedy divorces. There are two other benefits. The host hero can gift items for the henchman. So you could perhaps take all the XP and renown earned while playing in exchange for giving the other character a valuable item (or your favorite hot pants). Returning from the first Fable are the popular Demon Doors, which are each opened by meeting specific requirements or performing certain actions. Some of the doors only open in co-op play.

We suspect there will be online functionality with co-op play. However, because Molyneux kept it under wraps, we should assume that online play will have something extra to it aside from what was shown during the GDC demo. The final major feature of Fable 2 will be revealed at E3 2008. And yes, believe it or not, it looks like Fable 2 will come out this year.

Last edited by Hellbound; 02-20-2008 at 01:09 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost
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