The Fable III developers at Lionhead sure played a lot of PS3 exclusives despite being owned by Microsoft.
Josh Atkins, senior design director at Lionhead Studios, said that the games that most influenced the design of Fable III were Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 2 and Heavy Rain by Quantic Dream. Which makes sense, those were both very groundbreaking games that will influence the medium for years to come, but the interesting part is that they were both exclusive to Microsoft’s chief competitor, the Sony PlayStation 3. In case you didn’t make the connection, Lionhead Studios is completely owned by Microsoft and Fable III will be released exclusively on the Xbox 360 and Windows platforms. Of course, Atkins also said he was influenced by the addictiveness of Peggle so it is clear that the design influences for Fable III are definitely eclectic. Fable III is due out October 26.
“We were all very involved with and all played Heavy Rain,” Atkins said. “We all have a lot of respect for David Cage and the guys at Quantic Dream. It’s a very unique experience and a very compelling story – and there’s a lot of deep gameplay there. The weaving of decision and story in Heavy Rain is another one. You saw the beginnings of that with Fahrenheit, and they’ve taken it much further.”
Does that mean that we’ll see extended quicktime events in Fable III? Atkins dismisses that concern immediately. “I think you’ll see … there’s influence [from Heavy Rain] without question in how our interaction systems work and in how all [the player’s] decisions work. There was many things we liked about that game, but one of the key things that they did was that the decisions you made rooted into the game world. Your eyes are always fixated on the game world – you’re not looking down at the interface.”
As for Uncharted, Atkins was impressed with its cinematic storytelling. “Another one we talk a lot about is Uncharted 2. That blend of cinema and great gameplay was something we were certainly very influenced by,” Atkins said. “With Uncharted, it really comes down to the blend of gameplay, cinema and acting – particularly the superb voice acting in that game.”
The addictiveness of PopCap’s Peggle is a major influence in all game design. “I know it sounds funny, but it’s our job to look at the simple addiction of a game like that,” he said. “It’s a game we spend a lot of time playing ourselves.”
I’m glad that Atkins is platform agnostic and recognizes good game design no matter what console it is played on.