Late Arrival: Hands-on with Fable III PC

By Alec Meer on April 13th, 2011 at 4:09 pm.

New Achievement unlocked: dressing like a gonk

It’s ok: there is a cursor on the menu screen. The PC isn’t being treated like the ugly stepson who’s only allowed a bowl of water and a rotten banana for dinner this time. Fable III’s conversion to personal computer may be a few months late, but that’s not because someone fell asleep and forgot to press the ‘Insta-Port!’ button. Lionhead have done this properly.

Last week, I ventured to the British developer’s headquarters in leafy, mobile phone reception-free outer Guildford and sat down with the impending PC build of their action-RPG for around three hours. I enjoyed them, and more than I’d expected to. While I am nominally a fan of the Fable games, I hadn’t yet got around to more than a fraction of III: largely due to word of mouth claiming it had strayed too far into the ‘anyone can play’ casualness the series has long-chased. Fortunately for the discerning PC gamer, Lionhead have taken some of that criticism on the chin and made some pretty significant revamps to make it a more meaty, challenging and tactical experience.

First up is the controls, which as well as imbuing menus with full keyboard’n’mouse control boost the one-button combat system seen in last year’s Xbox 360 version into something a whole lot more varied. While your basic stabbing, shooting and magic-splatting all happens with the left mouse button, the game merrily extrapolating your frenzied (or more ideally measured and rhythmic) clicking into an array of escalating animations that suggest you’re up to far more complex kill-fu.

However, bunging in number keys and mouse-wheel to switch between shoot, stab and magic (as opposed to choosing which of three separate buttons to mash, as on 360) makes it an immediately more tactical affair, with that one-hand management of how to best take down and contain what wastes no time in becoming a sizeable number of on-screen baddies. It becomes a matter of dexterity and quick thinking, as opposed to pressing whatever’s nearest.

I tend to favour the magic, purely because it gets across the fantasy superhero thing, but the pistol/rifle shooting really sings when a mouse is applied to it. Antique guns suit the world well, despite it being a fantasy one – these are slow-firing, noisy things rather than the well-oiled death machines of more conventional manshoots. When wielded against a fantasy foe, the accuracy of a mouse also allows for shooting blades out of hands and headshotting shambling skeletons.

Of course, all of this wouldn’t matter a jot if Fable III had remained a game in which you almost had to force yourself to get killed. Infamously easy, its original version alone would not have sat well with us quick-reflexed punishment-gluttons. The game’s PC producer nods silently and solemnly when I ask if he would recommend I dive straight into the new ‘hardcore’ mode rather than the standard one. I’m glad I did. Mention of ‘hardcore’ oversells the challenge, but it transforms the game from family-friendly ambience into combat you have to think about, combat you have to not rush blindly into.

I am not ashamed to admit to a few deaths; something I understand happened very rarely in the 360/normal version. Primarily changed is enemy AI, so they’re quicker and more reactive, and the health system – no more of that namby-pamby auto-recharge here. Instead, you’re reliant on potions and food, so tried and tested RPG inventory management and shopping sneaks back into the game. You’re a dungeon adventurer now, not a dungeon tourist.

Unchanged and likely to remain as divisive on PC as it was on 360 is a strong emphasis on collection and achievements. Well, capital A Achievements – being a Microsoft title, this is unavoidably a Games For Windows Live game. Without playing it in the wild, I can’t attest to whether its implementation is any better than the traditional horrors of that bloated choke-hold system, although I did notice that it insisted in dropping down one its of disruptive, Xbox-esque screens even for stuff like changing the names of your pet dog and customised weapons. So yeah, our ancient enemy is there, but at least it’s tied into an Achievement system that actually unlocks stuff in-game, rather than acts only as willy-waving.

Fable III is all about the unlocks. Persistent throughout it, both in its monster-splatting dungeon crawls and in its more free-form exploration of Albion’s towns and villages, is the collection of Guild Seals. This meta-currency is spent on upgrades – for weapons, for powers, even for the expansion of features such as building-purchasing and charming/outraging civilians. It is possible to unlock the lot, but much of the time you’ll be picking and choosing what you can afford and what you most desire. A bigger axe, or the option to flirt someone into bed? I’m going to have to see how this plays out across the game as the whole; I appreciate the idea of essentially building the game you want to play, emphasising only the features you’re most interested in, but I’m worried about the ghettoising of key features behind a fence of grinding pseudo-progression. We’ll see; I can’t judge that now.

Certainly, though, I can get behind the idea of changing weapon upgrades from the traditional Buy A Bigger One system to hanging onto a favoured blade/firearm that instead becomes amped-up (visually and statistically – my hammer became a mega-hammer) as and when you buy the relevant skill upgrades. It’s more about getting better with your weapons, rather than the always faintly ludicrous concept of the guy who’s meant to save the world counting his pennies until he can afford a slightly sharper sword from the junk shop round the corner.

Oh, I should also mention that the game’s extremely good-looking. Having experienced a short time with the fuzzy-lookin’ console version, it’s one of those titles where you just can’t doubt the PC’s technical superiority. Obviously a reasonable 3D card helps, but even on lower settings it’s a lavish-looking, sharply-detailed place of colour and semi-cartoonish pastoral prettiness.

So: controls, challenge, graphics. All of these have been significantly overhauled for ‘our’ version of Fable III. We’ll find out whether the game as a whole holds together and rises above some of the criticism its console version suffered next month, but for now I’m totally content that we’re getting a proper PC edition of Fable III, rather than a token cast-off. Microsoft have made a lot of empty noise about coming back to the platform that made them over the last few years, and this is the first sure sign I’ve seen in a while that they might actually mean it.

The game’s due out Mid-May. Oh, and in a little while I’ll be posting an interview with Fable III’s PC lead Josh Atkins about Lionhead’s current take on PC and explaining the thinking behind the changes to this new, improved version of the game.

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102 Comments »

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  1. Teddy Leach says:

    Hooray! This gladdens me. Now, where’s the second one?

    • Kdansky says:

      Why would you want to play the second one in the first place?

      Refer to: http://www.shamusyoung.com/twentysidedtale/?p=2105

    • Enzo says:

      He would want to play the second one because it’s the best part of the whole series.

    • Stupoider says:

      Yeesh, Enzo, don’t scare me like that.

    • Kaira- says:

      Fable 2 was absolutely fabulous in my opinion. Not as a deep and engaging RPG, but a casual fun timekiller with RPG-features.

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      Dolphan says:

      Because the second one is excellent fun, whereas the third is just ok-ish fun? And the linked article seems to be whining about consistency plot holes, which a) You can do for almost every game out there and b) Is spectacularly missing the point.

    • DrGonzo says:

      What Dolphan said.

      Funnily enough, I would be more interested in buying a redone PC version of the second. Fable 2 was horribly flawed but still good and could have benefited from a do over. Fable 3 on the other hand, was just a bit pants.

    • Wilson says:

      @Dolphan – Actually it does quite a bit more than point out consistency issues. In fact as I skim through it I’ve hardly noticed it mentioning consistency plot holes, it seems to point out a whole bunch of really dumb plot. The writer says the game is fun, but the story sounds abysmally bad in terms of common sense. I guess it’s a warning in case you really want decent plot in your RPGs, not necessarily a denouncement of the whole game.

    • Archonsod says:

      So the main complaint about a sequel to a game which encouraged farting as a social interaction and had the player actually spend money to be known as something more heroic than chicken chaser (or alternatively, to be known as Arseface) is that it lacks a serious story?

      Am I the only one not seeing the problem there?

    • Wilson says:

      @Archonsod – As I understood it, it wasn’t a question of seriousness, but of satisfaction. An ally who can teleport multiple people around, but forces you to walk and fight your way everywhere, before sometimes turning up after you’ve reached wherever it is you’re meant to be just sounds lazy to me. Also, while the game world is apparently fairly light-hearted, the plot seems to have enormous amounts of really horrible stuff happen to the player. So perhaps it’s too serious.

      But as you say, Fable has never really been big on story, so it doesn’t really matter that much. But no harm done in letting people know. Plus it was quite an amusing read I thought.

    • Kdansky says:

      You do realize that the article I linked to is just the first page out of four? I would be hard-pressed to write four pages about the badness of anything, except if it is really horrible.

      Light-hearted fun just doesn’t work when the introduction establishes that suffering, torture (the Fable series has more torture scenes in it than all other games I ever played in the last two decades combined!) and murder (of your parents and sister, no less) play a major role in the plot, and having all-powerful NPCs that use their teleportation spells for buying bread, but not for saving your goddamn ass from 10 years of torture doesn’t strike me as particularly sane.

      People have incredibly low standards for plot in games. Three eyed-space Terminator! Best RPG evar! But I digress. Read a decent book sometime, and you will save oodles of money, because you cannot bear bad plot in games anymore.

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      Harlander says:

      Games can get away with worse plots than books because it’s not you driving the plot of the book.

    • Kadayi says:

      Likewise. No doubt I’ll get this (at some point..going up against Witcher 2 seems slightly suicidal tbh), but I must admit I’d of really liked it if they brought the 2nd game out, if nothing more than for consistencies sake.

  2. Yosharian says:

    The problem with this news is, it’s still only Fable 3…

  3. mogofogo says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed The Lost Chapters on PC.
    It was a shame that I didn’t realize there was a teleport function till I finished my first playthrough.

  4. cmi says:

    Mid-May? Good plan. My advice: release it the same week as Witcher 2 and then cry in the public how dead the PC as a platform is.

    • Tuco says:

      Funny thing: they are going to be released the very same day, 17th May.

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    drewski says:

    Ianteresting stuff. I must say, I never really got the “lol 4 noobs” criticisms of Fable III even on Xbox – it’s a Fable game. They’re *all* stupendously easy. I didn’t die at all in Fable and I only “died” once in Fable II, not that you actually can die in Fable II.

  6. Tuco says:

    I’m so NOT excited about this.

  7. Benjamin L. says:

    I applaud them for actually spending time on actually improving the game for the PC version. Who else does that?

    GFWL and lack of RPGness aside, I might pick this up at some point.

  8. VA1N says:

    I own the game on the 360 but that was before I bought my new PC and became a full fledged PC gamer. I’m thinking about picking this one up to go through another romp in Albion. I have always been a fan of the series and more Fable is not a bad thing.

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    Big Murray says:

    GFWL unfortunately makes this a no-go title for me.

  10. deadstoned says:

    I wont get this unless GFWL is fixed or relaunched again.

    • Bhazor says:

      Out of curiosity, when was the last time you used it?

    • deadstoned says:

      Yesterday. Tried to play Bulletstorm demo, GFWL asked me for a CD key…. on the demo…. The game also crashed 2 times just as GFWL was loading at the top. My NAT’s open I’ve checked the forums, I’ve checked my ports. GFWL is rubbish.

    • Wulf says:

      That’s exactly what turned me off Bulletstorm, I downloaded the demo to see whether I was being too hard on it, and GfWL pretty much stopped me in my tracks. “Right then, not getting that.” I had enough of the issues in RF:G, until finally a way was released to remove GfWL from it.

      Haaaate GfWL, so much. And it was horrible in Fallout 3 as well until it was removed.

      I might pick this up, but I’m going to wait for the patch where someone removes GfWL from it, first, and then I’ll get it, but not before.

      Steamworks. Really. Will they never learn? For all one might complain about Steamworks, at least it isn’t obtrusive, and it doesn’t break games or harm their performance in a noticeably negative way.

    • Max White says:

      ugh GFWL hated using that to play Fallout 3, Dawn of War II, and GTA IV. Thank god that Dawn of War II Retribution got rid of GFWL

  11. Kdansky says:

    wrong reply chain

  12. Milky1985 says:

    Do you steal have to manually repair EACH of the building you are renting out (meaning you have to spend 20 minutes every 5 or so hours to repair stuff)

    “Primarily changed is enemy AI, so they’re quicker and more reactive, and the health system – no more of that namby-pamby auto-recharge here. Instead, you’re reliant on potions and food, so tried and tested RPG inventory management and shopping sneaks back into the game. ”

    I read quicker and more reactive as more cheaty (and button reading) but thats just me

    I do have to say tho, if theres no auto recharge i’m hoping to god we get a sodding health bar. The ommision and use of the red mist of death was really really stupid.

    Unfortantly we have had months to find out that the game is a bit bad, a bit too simplistic and generally a bit too crap to be purchased, will not be touching this one (not cause of GFWL , i am perfectly fine with that , but i seem to be the one person who actually doesn’t mind it/it works for as it links nicly with my live account and not had any issues with it at all yet)

    • Bhazor says:

      To me the frothing GFWL hatedom seems to boil down to Valve can do no wrong whilst Micro$oft is like Satan (sorry $atan) but worse. Go figure,

      GFWL has it’s problems (lengthy install of patches, store only available in certain territories).
      Steam has it’s problems (banning customers, persistent server problems, repeatedly broken offline mode).
      But only one of these programs are referred to as the worst thing to happen in the history of videogames.

    • Tuco says:

      @Bhazor: Maybe that’s cause of its objective flaws?

      http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=25072153&postcount=146

    • Yosharian says:

      My problem with GFWL is that I can’t get it to connect to the internet.

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      @ Bhazor

      Valve are gods and Micro$oft are the anti-christ, this is just the way things are. Also your GFWL issue list is way, way too small.

      My experiences with GFWL have been you install the game in about 10-15 minutes, then spend anything from an hour to a week trying to play the bloody thing. I have a friend who bought Bulletstorm on launch for PC, he has installed the game countless times, tried official patches, installing GFWL manually, all the suggested tweaks under the sun, to this date GFWL has not let him get past the log in screen. He has however used the service before for Kayne and Lynch, had a few problems but got them sorted, we tried installing that, it went ok. GFWL just goes randomly tits up and can never be trusted.

      Seriously, I know Steam has problems, I’ve experienced them, buying games with my PayPal has messed up before, I’ve had a few periods of crashing and general instability that eventually went away with updates, but I have never, never bought a game and not been able to play it full stop, due to a Steam fk up. I’ve also only played 5 games using GFWL and had problems with 4 of them, a major problem that took ages to get around once, with Steam I’ve bought hundreds of games and had pretty much the same number of problems, minus the serious one that took ages to work out.

      Steam > GFWL, Valve > Micro$oft, PC Gaming would be better with out GFWL, it would not be better with out Steam.

    • Dominic White says:

      Valve have an immensely lengthy track-record of giving people vast quantities of awesome stuff for free. See TF2s constant expansion, Alien Swarm, this whole ARG and the level-packs it has delivered, etc, etc.

      Microsoft have a strict company policy that nothing can be free, ever. They’re apparently considering maybe possibly letting some F2P MMO stuff onto Xbox Live sometime mid-2012. They consider this a forward-thinking move. I wish I was joking.

      I love my Xbox 360, but Microsofts policies are eternally scummy in a vast number of ways. It’s really not surprising why people would find Valves treatment of customers preferable on a variety of levels.

    • Wulf says:

      Not to mention that Steamworks has never been directly responsible for breaking a game (Bulletstorm Demo) or harming its performance (RF:G), both of which I’ve observed myself. GfWL games are the games that give me the most trouble of any games. What you don’t want from a game is it crashing randomly and slowing down, all of which has been documented by hundreds (all out there, on the Internet, I won’t search for you).

      Whereas I’ve not seen Steam bannings become a problem, where Valve haven’t rectified the problem, and offline mode nonsense is just that – nonsense. And PEBCAK. I’ve spent up to three months in offline mode and I can say that anyone who thinks it’s broken is just using it wrongly. I say this because I’ve seen people explaining why offline mode doesn’t work for them, not realising that they needed to hit cancel on Steam connecting, and then click the ‘start in offline mode’ button. They’ve just sat there waiting for Steam to connect and assumed that offline mode was broken, instead of, you know, just trying the obvious option.

      I’ll take Steam any day of the week as an option that works, over an option that reliably breaks games and harms their performance.

      Just ask yourself this: Why did Bethesda think that it was worthwhile to switch to Steamworks, from GfWL, for future games?

    • Barnaby says:

      I have 150 games in my Steam account all of which I paid less than half of what the game cost when first released, if not much more than that. I use Steam a lot and practically have zero problems with their service. GFWL is superfluous bullshit. I think there’s a pretty stark contrast between the two, so much so it’s not worth making the comparison.

    • subedii says:

      To me the frothing GFWL hatedom seems to boil down to Valve can do no wrong whilst Micro$oft is like Satan (sorry $atan) but worse. Go figure,

      I really hate responses like this. They pretty much just say “You’re HATIN’ on something bro! And it’s because it’s because it’s COOL to hate it!”.

      And of course, we luurrrvve Steam so much just because it’s Valve, and we’re sheep for Valve and believe they can do no wrong.

      So let me be clear here.

      No.

      No, I hate GFWL because it is tripe. It is a terrible community system and it has frequently gotten in the way of my gaming.

      Let me preface this post by saying most of this is my experience having had to deal with it for Dawn of War 2 for 2 freaking years before it was finally kicked to the curb. I will also preface this that for SINGLEPLAYER games, I generally don’t have any issue with GFWL. That out of the way: It. Is. Bad.

      Its community system is bad, without so much as basic chat functionality (you have to effectively E-mail each other to correspond) and has no external client (so you can’t even see who’s online, what they’re playing, or even send them a message unless you’re in-game yourself. Pointless for a community system).

      The VOIP is bad and has even broken games before (DoW2 in particular, what a nugget that was when it happened eh? I did so love the fact that someone with their mic turned on would literally crash the entire multiplayer session for all players. Big warning message scrolling across the bottom of the start page telling everyone to NOT USE the GFWL voice chat).

      The savegame system is bad because of the whole encryption thing preventing people from transferring them properly.

      The native install limits are bad, ESPECIALLY when they don’t even tell the devs about it (not just DoW2 either, but plenty of other games have been affected by this one, most notably Halo).

      The certification system is really, really bad and forces players to wait literally weeks and sometimes months for even the most basic hotfixes, all whilst balance issues run around in the wild. That was appalling for multiplayer balance.

      The restrictions are bad, and don’t allow user custom additions to the game because it’s against MS policy, you can’t even have so much as your own chosen Avatar image. Things like custom badges and insignia (readily features of DoW 1) were forbidden in DoW2, and have since been re-implemented now that GFWL is gone.

      The TS matchmaking is bad, it doesn’t have nearly the granularity necessary and has a nasty idea that in order to “ascertain” the skill levels of new people, it must first match them up against high tier players for around 50 odd games before they can have a chance at a decent match (and my experience was greater than that). Combined with the constant NAT errors, made the matchmaking frustrating as heck.

      I’m not going to try and be nice to GFWL here. Ever since it was dropped, I can play with my friends easily, the entire community system works better (and there’s now even a universal chat system in-game for the whole community), and the matchmaking and connectivity has vastly vastly VASTLY improved (I cannot emphasise enough just how huge an improvement this has been, it has improved my enjoyment of the game to an incredible degree). And In contrast to waiting two or three entire MONTHS for even a hotfix update, Relic pushed out something like two or three updates within a week of the game being released.

      There is a REAL REASON as to why Relic had to drop GFWL completely from Dawn of War 2, even though it resulted in a split playerbase (something you never want to do, and that Relic have always tried extremely hard to avoid).

      Dropping GFWL very literally removed a load of frustrations from the game and made it much more fun to play than it used to be. So yeah, I resent the idea that somehow GFWL gets the short end of the stick because it’s cool to hate it. I hate it because it made an awesome game hard and frustrating to play and was a huge detriment to the community until it was finally kicked out.

      It is a bad system. Whenever MS wants, they could feel free to make it a good system. They certainly have the resources to.

    • MD says:

      Man, I’m not a fan of Steam at all, and I tend to feel that Valve gets a fairly easy ride in the public-opinion stakes. But seriously, GFWL is a giant crock of shit. Some people might not have problems with it, and that’s great. But a lot of us do, and we’re not making it up out of prejudice against Microsoft or love for its competitors.

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      drewski says:

      @ subedii – I think you’re probably taking offense at comments which aren’t really directed at you. As far as I know, very few – if any – people have defended the multiplayer or community parts of GFWL. Everyone accepts that’s the rubbish part of it. I think the problem is that a lot of people aren’t criticising it for that – they’re criticising it because it’s Microsoft.

      I think “GFWL has an awful community system and the multiplayer support is utterly broken” is a perfectly valid comment. I think “GFWL IS AWFUL MICROCRAP RUBBISH” is a ridiculous comment – and unfortunately the latter tone of comment is far more common than any of the many reasonable complaints.

    • subedii says:

      I don’t see how. Bhazor was drawing an equivalency between Steam and GFWL and saying “they both have their problems”. And then musing over why people seem to dislike GFWL but NOT Steam in-spite of this (and he didn’t limit this to just outside the realm of community systems, which is pretty much one of the core functionalities of both systems), which he then said was because people are fanboys for Steam but despise Microsoft. Really the only way I can really interpret that post is as defending GFWL because Steam is just as bad but only one gets the short end of the stick. If it is meant otherwise as you say, then I can sort of understand but agree to disagree, because I feel GFWL’s issues extend to its treatment of singleplayer components as well.

      If not then I’ll just say: That is simply not the case. They are not equivalent. And to suggest otherwise is pretty base bias in itself.

      It’s just that every time the topic of GFWL comes up, there’s always someone who says “I have no idea why ANYONE would dislike GFWL. It worked fine for me, therefore it must be a personal bias on your part.”

      So I’ll happily give you a rundown of its flaws. And that’s not even a COMPLETE list because it’s limited to largely things I’ve had to deal with. I left out the regioning structure locking people out of multiplayer. I’ve left out how MS’s approach to cross-platform multiplayer support effectively left it up the creek (ironically at a time when Steamworks is starting to push that functionality). I’ve neglected to talk about the clear conflict of interest between the GFW and XBox divisions and how this has hampered and continues to hamper development of GFWL.

      Really I could go on about the issues it faces. But saying that the dislike stems from people loving Valve and hating MS is just not true.

    • Milky1985 says:

      Preety sure that neogaf post you link has some factual inaccuracies (http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showpost.php?p=25072153&postcount=146). Oh and anyone who has decided to use a $ in the place of an S when talking about MS in reply to me is instantly ignored, simply put its a childish thing people are doing that shows the anti ms sentiment so you have an obvious massive bias. At least try to hide it slightly.

      Steamworks IS NOT fully free afaik, there is still a cost involved with launching i believe (or you subject to 30% going to valve which to me counts as paying for it)

      The first major issue they mention is a non issue, you have one log in, and as they say its the same with others systems.

      “DRM issues. Different games have different DRM.” <— again true for all of them, they mention that its restricted to one gamertag but thats cause you are entering codes, herssa hint its the same for all your dlc, that is locked to one account. Thats not an issue with GFWL but more an issue witht he industry in general.

      Note to industry stop with the locking of stuff to single accounts you morons, the dragon age issues over the weekend show why its a terrible idea.

      Patching issues i kinda agree with but thats been how the games are in the past. Yes steam is cool for background download but the funny thing is (i have mentioned this before) that some peopel DON'T like steam because it background downloads ("why do i want to download somethign i have installed i might never play it again"). I have rift on steam, still have to patch via rift, doesn't autoupdate. Also it taking time as it has to go through QA isn't a negative, it helps to not have patches breaking games (its not 100% but it helps)

      Pay DLC/Free DLC – possibly true but all conjecture, not sure how it can be put as a problem with the system as its a "this might happen". Yes they have history but the PC is a different market.

      Missing features mentioned – while its true that you are compared with your newer product to the older ones (MMO's are compared to Wow (7 years old) when they are just released) I feel i shoudl point out that valve had offline broken for years, the friends system (which works on GFWL) was broken for about 3 years, cloud saving is a new feature in the last 6 months etc. Why were people fine with waiting for features with valve but not with MS? Bias again?

      GFWL less router friendly, possibly, my setup is weird so that is the one thing i can honestly say i'm not sure about, seems ok for me (more issues with my 360 due to stupid setup) but i can possibly see there being a n issue. HOWEVER there is a full guide online on the ports to open , this guide is from MS, tells you excatly what to open. With steam etc you have different ports for EACH GAME, while one game might be fine another game might not.

      If they can get the router issues sorted (for the peopel who have issues) it'll become a do once setup, thats not a bad thing

      No client? Really? so the games for windows live application i have in my start menu is not a client? (Honestly not sure if there are friends features in it, think it is just a marketplace client but not 100%)

      Overlay less function , again only added very recently into steam, why is it ok to wait for that with valve yada yada yada

      Ongoing support being an issue, quite possibly as this is another self fulfulling prohacy, people don't liek it becuase of a possible lack of support, so they don't buy games, so it doesn't sell , so they lose support slowly, people use that to say "look no support" and so on

      Same as the "wii has no hardcore games" thing.

      Not saying its perfect, but MS are getting a MUCH harder time of it than other companies get, people are a lot happier to wards any company except MS.

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      drewski says:

      @ subedii – what major problems does GFWL have in regard to singleplayer games that Steamworks doesn’t?

    • subedii says:

      And this is pretty much what I’m talking about. Negatives about GFWL clearly aren’t about GFWL itself, but about “bias again”. Grief.

      Patching issues i kinda agree with but thats been how the games are in the past. Yes steam is cool for background download but the funny thing is (i have mentioned this before) that some peopel DON’T like steam because it background downloads (“why do i want to download somethign i have installed i might never play it again”). I have rift on steam, still have to patch via rift, doesn’t autoupdate. Also it taking time as it has to go through QA isn’t a negative, it helps to not have patches breaking games (its not 100% but it helps)

      People have issues with installing games but that they DON’T want to keep updated and this shows where GFWL wins out?

      Even on the assumption that this is some major factor that you would keep a game installed but hate for it to update, Steam still has functionality to prevent that. You just right-click the game and tell it not to keep it updated.

      Same with the QA statement, that is simply untrue. The issue is not to do with ascertaining the quality of the patch itself. If that were the case, then ones like Fallout NV would have never seen the light of day. The certification process is more to do with content control.
      Any and all updates have to go through Microsoft for certification before they can be applied to the game. This is a process that in itself can take well over a month, and the developer has to pay for every certification. Frankly, this is utterly utterly HORRENDOUS for online balance.

      What this means for a game like DoW2 is that updates cannot be pushed out incrementally and regularly. Instead what happens is that you wait for months on end whilst game breaking balance issues are in the wild, only to receive massive mega-patches that try to fix everything at once and end up breaking something else.

      You see similar on XBL for that matter. But this has the effect of hampering online play to a ridiculous degree as the game remains unpatched for anywhere up to six months. Gears of War 2 was particularly legendary for just how broken its multiplayer was, and remained, for about a half a year after its release). Or Monday Night Combat where the the game remains broken until MS gives the A-OK. Heck, even Tycho at Penny Arcade ranted about that one.

      http://www.penny-arcade.com/2010/10/27/sand/

      Let me put this in comparison for you. Within one month of being released, Supreme Commander 2 (using Steamworks, and as such they can update freely and whenever they want. Really it doesn’t matter, it could be any non-GFWL system) had already had more balance updates than Relic were able to push out in about six months. Heck, on Monday a hotfix for Retribution went up to fix a minor costume clipping issue. On Tuesday Relic issued another patch. If this was GFWL there is literally no exaggeration to say I’d have been waiting on those until freaking May.

      Because of GFWL certification, Relic had to focus on extra-large, balance breaking updates so that they didn’t extend the delays on patching further and have multiple paid certifications going at once. They aren’t Infinity Ward, Microsoft won’t “bend the rules” for them in order to fast-track updating.

      For singleplayer games this isn’t really an issue (but it still exists of course, because even singleplayer game bugs and issues remain unpatched during this period). For multiplayer games it effectively destroys balance because developers can’t incrementally and immediately update the titles. It needs to go, or else needs some drastic changes. Imagine for a moment, if Team Fortress 2 had to not only have a month long certification process every time they wanted to roll out even a minor update or patch, and also had to pay for it.

      Pay DLC/Free DLC – possibly true but all conjecture, not sure how it can be put as a problem with the system as its a “this might happen”. Yes they have history but the PC is a different market.

      One where they’ve still tried to push the same ethos. Crikey, if it wasn’t for competition from Steam, we would still be paying subscription fees to access basic multiplayer functionality.

      But if you want a more direct point, MS cannot afford that kind of segmentation. If DLC is being charged for on XBL, then they cannot allow for GFWL to have that DLC for free. This would fundamentally undercut the 360, something that MS does not want to do (see my link at the bottom).

      Missing features mentioned – while its true that you are compared with your newer product to the older ones (MMO’s are compared to Wow (7 years old) when they are just released) I feel i shoudl point out that valve had offline broken for years, the friends system (which works on GFWL) was broken for about 3 years, cloud saving is a new feature in the last 6 months etc. Why were people fine with waiting for features with valve but not with MS? Bias again?

      I have no qualms in saying that Steam was crap when it first released. But they took feedback from the community, and they improved it. Within 4 years it was an excellent system. GFWL has been running for five years now, and MS refuses to acquiesce to even the most basic functionality requests from the community, like an external client (please don’t pretend this is something that the GFWL community hasn’t been asking for since day 1) or even a simple chat interface.

      GFWL less router friendly, possibly, my setup is weird so that is the one thing i can honestly say i’m not sure about, seems ok for me (more issues with my 360 due to stupid setup) but i can possibly see there being a n issue. HOWEVER there is a full guide online on the ports to open , this guide is from MS, tells you excatly what to open. With steam etc you have different ports for EACH GAME, while one game might be fine another game might not.

      Again, untrue. If we’re talking about the multiplayer / online architecture that games use, GFWL games use Live, Steamworks games use Steam, and other games use their own systems (such as EA with their own community system). And as such, you can forward the relevant selected ports for Steamworks games as you do for those that make use of the LIVE architecture. If individual games don’t make use of either of those, then you’re generally port forwarding for that specific title.

      Personally I’ve got both the relevant Steam and Live ports forwarded. And with that, I know that when playing DoW2 under GFWL, friend games were giving me constant NAT errors and matchmaking was constantly fritzing out and dumping random teams together because of connectivity issues under GFWL. Under Steamworks, I connect to friends pretty easily, and matchmaking has improved on orders of magnitude.

      No client? Really? so the games for windows live application i have in my start menu is not a client? (Honestly not sure if there are friends features in it, think it is just a marketplace client but not 100%)

      No COMMUNITY client. I’ve already ranted enough here, but this is a huge detriment to GFWL as a community system in itself, and if you’re really, really insistent on it I can go another few paragraphs about why this is dumb. Otherwise, I’m just going to maintain it’s self evident that this is inadequate. I’ve got that same freaking Marketplace application in my own start menu, but it does not allow me any interaction with the community whatsoever. Which is stupid.

      Ongoing support being an issue, quite possibly as this is another self fulfulling prohacy, people don’t liek it becuase of a possible lack of support, so they don’t buy games, so it doesn’t sell , so they lose support slowly, people use that to say “look no support” and so on

      Supporting and ignoring the faults of a bad system doesn’t promote it getting better, it promotes it continuing in its bad behaviour. I don’t avoid singleplayer titles with GFWL in them, but I’m not going to buy those titles for “support”, just on the off-chance that MS sees this as a cue to improve what they haven’t already.

      And this goes back to Steam too, because everyone thoroughly and rightfully slated it on release. Over time they took that feedback and used it to improve the system.

      That line of argument reminds me of back before the movie reboot of Batman with Batman Begins, and there were genuinely people saying things like “Well if you’d have just supported the franchise, we’d have more Batman movies today.” And well yes, we would have. There wouldn’t have been that gap. The only problem being that instead of being like TDK they would have been more of Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin. And personally, I wasn’t that inclined towards more Bat-nipples.

      As for GFWL’s future improvements, it can happen, but like I said there’s first a fundamental conflict of interest preventing it from happening.

      I went off about that too, and if you’re really that keen, you can read why I feel the development of GFWL has been hampered here:

      http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/03/09/on-the-rocks-games-for-windows-live/#comment-637274

    • TheSquarePear says:

      @Dominic White

      I love my Xbox 360, but Microsofts policies are eternally scummy in a vast number of ways. It’s really not surprising why people would find Valves treatment of customers preferable on a variety of levels.

      As much as I have issues with MS and their business practices, MS has a pretty good track record of keeping their internal assets (customer data) safe where as Valve has had their core assets (e.g. HL2 source code) exposed at least once. I may trust Valve with a hardware survey but they sure as hell don’t get to include my installed software in that survey. Plus they have a policy of charging the same price for 2 year old products (time limited discounts don’t count) which is why I am starting to prefer Brick and Mortar stores.

    • edit says:

      I outright reject the idea that the preference to Steam over GFWL is due to fanboyism. I have actually never seen a complaint about GFWL which boils down to it simply “being Microsoft”. As someone who has voiced issues with GFWL (and often as clearly and specifically as I can) I frankly find that idea insulting.

      I, like many, have approached both Steam and GFWL with the same openness – I’ll happily give anything a go and see if it bites me. Steam has treated me very well. Like anything it has had its issues but none have impacted on me in the slightest. My gaming experience is enhanced and made more convenient by its services. I enjoy using it and do not have technical problems with it. Its prices are generally far lower than retailers local to me, and I’ve benefited countless times from sales.

      GFWL on the other hand… Right from the start it was a growing list of negatives. Games which would not play because GFWL needed an update but which would repeat the update process indefinitely without ever succeeding, having to purchase a fixed number of “points” to buy something and wasting money, DLC which required unexplained manual moving around and installation, repeated failure to remember login details, lost progresssaves, etc etc. By the time I was an “avoid games that have GFWL” person it had bitten me to the point that I reflexively cringed when faced with using it.

      M$ hater? No. I WANT Microsoft to do a good job. It would make my life so much easier. I don’t want to have problems with games which use GFWL, I just want to bloody play them. Unfortunately my experiences with GFWL so far have been outstandingly awful. I therefore choose to avoid it, and will do so until I hear that various problems and things I dislike have been addressed.

      If you really want to play the “ur a fanboi” game though, I could just as flippantly call Bhazor and drewski Microsoft fanboys for defending them. Not very productive, is it?

  13. Faxmachinen says:

    What’s this “Xbox 57″ you speak of? Perhaps you mean “Xbox CCC60″?

  14. Jimbo says:

    They’d have had to start from scratch to turn this one into a good game I’m afraid. The combat wasn’t great, but it wasn’t what was wrong with Fable 3.

  15. Jumwa says:

    I want to play this game, as I liked the Lost Chapters on PC. However, Games for Windows Live means: come back when you’re on sale for $2 and we’ll talk again.

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, really.

      I loved Lost Chapters. Not so much a fan of 2, myself, but Lost Chapters was great.

    • Jumwa says:

      I wanted to play the sequel, but since it never made its way to PC, I didn’t. I kinda gave console gaming a miss after the last generation.

      However, it’s the co-op that makes me seriously regret the fact that this thing has a grumpy goblin riding its back in the form of GFWL. Free-form (sort of) RPGs with co-op are like cocaine to my partner and I.

  16. Stardog says:

    As long as GFWL doesn’t require an account I’ll get it.

    • Premium User Badge

      LTK says:

      As long as you can find the extremely obfusciated button that allows you to play as an offline user, you’re good.

    • JohnnyMaverik says:

      It requires an account… the account is free however.

  17. darthmajor says:

    Delaying it 5 months without any info just simply not coming out was horrible PR, and while i’m sure it will be a fun ride for some soft-core adventuring, releasing it the same day es The Witcher 2 is suicidal. Simply, on the PC, Fable Is Nothing Compared To The Witcher. It will be crushed and destroyed by it, and they they will complain about the PC market.

    • Unaco says:

      This.

    • Legionary says:

      Do we think that Fable III is competing for the same player base as The Witcher 2?

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I’d say they’re going for roughly the same market.. the sort of action RPG thing.

      But Fables initial approach was that of humorous/casual button mashing, while Witcher’s was more “manly” and gruff… I guess almost stereotypically british/polish respectively.

    • Archonsod says:

      Yeah, I loved Fable (primarily because it was funny) and hated The Witcher (primarily because it took itself far too seriously), so while I might spring for Fable III on release, the further adventures of Emo Elric can wait till a Steam sale.

    • TariqOne says:

      I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who had trouble occupying the shoes of Albino Fabio. He’s altogether too celebrated around these parts for someone so dour and unlikeable.

      Fable 3, OTOH, has coop and avatar gender choice so this is a release-day purchase for me and the special lady. Too bad she’s going to grief me as usual.

  18. misterk says:

    Fable 3 was a funny old fish. The gameplay was pathetic (magic button+roll button ho!), but the story had some amazing moments- the struggle through the desert is genuinely brilliant. The conclusion is a wee bit stupid (do you have lots of money? Then you can be good!) and there are some missteps as to certain characters, but the heart of the game is still here and there, and its still rather funny in places.

    A fable with a decent combat system would be great (and hey, how about no random encounters in an already explored area game?)

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      It wouldn’t be a Fable game if you didn’t have to tediously whack through the same horde of “random” bandits every time you passed through a map.

    • Jonathan says:

      @Drewski it could be Far Cry 2.

  19. Jonathan says:

    This is actually making me not regret waiting for the PC version instead of picking it up for my consoletoy back in 1986 when it first came out.

  20. Pijama says:

    Big MEH.

    Do a DK or Syndicate “spiritual sequel” and we will talk.

    • Wulf says:

      Or another Black & White without the RTS nonsense from 2, just as the more pure god game that the first one was, building upon what made that great. Pretty please?

  21. Vayl says:

    Will this be available somewhere other than GFW, or most of the world will not be able to buy this?

  22. wazups2x says:

    This game is terrible. I recommend you DO NOT BUY IT.

    Here’s a a good video explaining all of the reasons it sucks: http://angryjoeshow.com/2011/01/top-reasons-fable-iii/

    Now it doesn’t matter if you like Angry Joe or not because what he says is right.

    • TheWanaB says:

      Of course it matters; I shan’t even watch the video because the points he makes are often so asinine and he often misunderstands basic game design and development techniques. In this case I’d guess he missed the point when the Fable series was a casual RPG-esque affair that attempts to be accessible to all players.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      He gets on my raving titties.

  23. Paul says:

    On May 17th, I will buy two games:
    Witcher 2 GOG edition
    Witcher 2 Collector’s Edition

  24. Hunam says:

    Been waiting for this for a while… then Zavvi put the big box of the 360 version, the full LE gubbins a plenty version for £18 so I bought that.

    My PC is proper shit at the moment anyway.

  25. StingingVelvet says:

    I’m buying it. Call me a sucker if you wish but I really want more of MS’ games on the PC again, so supporting this is a no-brainer. Glad to hear it’s a real PC version and not a “save as…”

  26. Mark says:

    As I remember, I bought the 360 version after getting tired waiting for this. Glad I did, because I was able to sell it on upon discovering how poorly designed and mediocre it was. It’s arguably worth a rental but nothing more.

  27. Mac says:

    No doubt, this will have shit sales and MS will blame Piracy … rather them not being arsed to release the second one, and the long delay in releasing this version to PC …

    Bastards !

    • Mac says:

      Surely it’s time for MS to re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-confirmed their commitmnet to PC gaming … again ???

  28. Premium User Badge

    Nissanthen says:

    Hooray! I can’t wait to play this on my PC! Damn May is a ridiculously busy month!

  29. aeromorte says:

    Yep Witcher 2 here too … sorry but i prefer getting a game ill be playing for a long long long time … the first one be4 patches was a loading hell (lets make some coffe while the next area that is 1×1 m^2 wide will load in 20 min) but still amazing each time iv played it (3 times in a row completed it in the first two weeks) so im pretty shure W2 is something i want. As for Fable i only played the first one so yeah not much refference here heh. Well who knows maybe ill get it l8ter in the year with some kind of special promotion

  30. psyk says:

    “However, bunging in number keys and mouse-wheel to switch between shoot, stab and magic (as opposed to choosing which of three separate buttons to mash, as on 360) makes it an immediately more tactical affair, with that one-hand management of how to best take down and contain what wastes no time in becoming a sizeable number of on-screen baddies.”

    Is that some kind of joke or have you finally turned in to destructoid to try and get more page hits.

    How does having to click one extra button before attacking make the game more tactical?

    • dr_demento says:

      Exactly! I read that bit and was downright shocked. It’s not like you’re choosing between spells or weapons any more than in the Xbox version. If anything, it’s LESS tactical because it makes it (fractionally) more effort to mix up your attacks.

      However, Alec wouldn’t be such an absurd PC-fanboy caricature as to say something like that, so we must be misunderstanding it. Alec – what did you mean?

      Oh, and you can shoot heads off and weapons out of hands on the 360, as well. It’s probably less accurate though.

  31. Premium User Badge

    Lars Westergren says:

    Hmm, GFWL you say? So before me I have a big tasty RPG meal, the kind I love. Only I know the chef spit in it. I will have to think about this…

  32. Zogtee says:

    It’s a pretty sad day when adding KBAM controls to a PC game is described as a significant revamp.

  33. Best Gaming Mouse says:

    I was a fan of Fable 2, although I can’t say that i’ve played it in some time. But looking at some of the screenshots this does look fab. As long as the Gameplay live up to expectations.
    I’m going to have a look at Whitcher, Not heard of it before now. Looks like I must have been off with the fairies.

    • Doesntmeananything says:

      “Rock, Paper, Shotgun: Even spam accounts become our ardent readers!”

  34. Blain says:

    My understanding from the Giant Bomb podcast is that the endgame of Fable III is pretty broken. There’s a big event you have to prepare for at the end, and the game lies to you about how much time you have. This event has consequences in your post-game, so if you plan on doing any running around after the plot is done, you may want to grind out your preparations early.

    I don’t think I’ll be bothering with Fable III.

  35. Grayvern says:

    Fable 1 and 2 would have been higher rated if Molyneux had been gagged, 3 however not so much.
    The weapon upgrade system is junk, it’s a good idea however in the game it mostly boils down to kill x monsters for x upgrade on x weapon, or with the basic weapons level up the skill. It would have worked if their were more upgrades and they would apply to any weapon, and if you couldnt eventually buy flat out better weapons anyway. In the end it meant killing hollow men with my favourite gun ruined how it looked.
    The rest of the game is equally flawed, the game just feels hollow somehow, many RPG’s seemingly revel in systems but suck me into their worlds, the more Fable 3 tries to hide it’s mechanics the more it seems to lay them bare to scrutiny.
    Best thing about fable 3, the intro animated chicken video is awesome.

    • Kdansky says:

      The animated chicken video, which shows you a valiant struggle for life of a poor chicken, only to get brutally murdered in the end? Fitting for Fable though. It’s a sad ending, no matter how you turn, and it tries to be comical despite of that. But you cannot improve Hamlet with fart jokes.

      It’s a well made, but horrible video.

    • Premium User Badge

      drewski says:

      I don’t think so. Fable 1 and 2 are unarguably RPG-lite, easily accessible throwaway blockbuster fare regardless of what Peter said pre-release. Even with a completely open mind, you’re not really getting anything substantial. (Which, for the record, I’m perfectly OK with.)

  36. Navagon says:

    Hmm yeah, they might actually mean it. It will be interesting to see how Flight turns out too. I’m no flight sim fan myself, but there is something so quintessentially PC about them.

  37. hocevar says:

    I hope someone sees this.

    Is the xbox 360 controller suported on the PC ? I assume it since its a GFWL title but it doesn’t hurt to ask

  38. bill says:

    Is this the one where you have to build up defenses to save the world – but if you do things like raise taxes then you’re evil and all the peasants hate you – yet if you leave things as they are and let them all die then they like you?

    Actually, that sounds like a reasonable approximation of party politics…

  39. Premium User Badge

    drewski says:

    reply fail

  40. Sepulchrave76 says:

    “Yeah, really.

    I loved Lost Chapters. Not so much a fan of 2, myself, but Lost Chapters was great.”

    This. Fable 2 was boring. I enjoyed the link that Kdansky shared; I have some serious issues with Theresa, the Spire, Reaver, and the bullshit choice at the end of Fable 2, and Shamus got them all out in the open. Cathartic just reading it.

  41. Premium User Badge

    Kong says:

    the world looks nice but what about the weapons? I am really into that american/arabesque megapiece/penis thing since I turned away from teddybears/ewoks

  42. BreadBitten says:

    Hrrm, might actually consider getting this if the end result really is up to snuff.