Peter Molyneux has made an interesting request of reviewers who have received advance copies of Fable 2: Find out what other people think of it.
Variety reports that review copies of Fable 2, Molyneux’s latest effort, included a letter from the famed designer asking that reviewers make special effort to take into account the opinions of non-gamers as part of their examination of the game. “I have a favor to ask you – we build this game not only to appeal to gamers like yourself, but to appeal to anybody,” Molyneux wrote. “So please, please, please, please, please find somebody who doesn’t play games, watch them play it and see how their world turns out, because I think it’s only when you see those differences that the unique experiences comes through.”
He also asked that reviewers wait until after the game’s cooperative online mode becomes available, “perhaps in the first week” after the game comes out, before doing their reviews. Online co-op play will be a major part of the experience, but publisher Microsoft announced in late September that the system was still being worked on, and no firm date for a patch to enable the game mode has been given.
It’d be nice to look at his appeal to reviewers as an honest attempt to ensure the game isn’t inappropriately and unfairly judged, but it’s far easier to see it as something else entirely: Pre-release excuses for a game that’s not going to live up to the hype. Hopefully that’s not the case, but Molyneux’s impassioned plea sets a tone of desperation that almost unavoidably drives down expectations. I do think that waiting to review the game in a fully-functioning state is a good idea, as long as the online co-op mode arrives in a reasonably timely fashion, but the inevitable stampede to be first out the gate makes it awfully unlikely to happen.