“The mind has exactly the same power of the hands: Not merely to grasp the world, but to change it.” ~ Colin Wilson
Perhaps this is what Peter Molyneux has in mind as he and the rest of Lionhead Studios is developing the next game in the Fable franchise. Last Thursday afternoon at Microsoft’s X10 event, more details on the upcoming Fable 3 were unleashed on the world – details that, just a couple days before hand, Mr. Molyneux himself said would “piss people off”. One of those details is the idea of touch-based actions and reactions within the game world. I’m not talking about a touch screen, like an iPhone, or even a movement-sensitive device like Natal (although the game supposedly features Natal support). What I mean is your character literally reaching out and touching someone in the game world and have that touch mean something and have the NPCs react in a way that a real person would to that touch.
Coming back down to the real-world for a moment, it has been proven that touch improves morale, moods and health. Touch seems to be an intrisic part of human nature – the need to feel attached to someone else both physically and emotionally. Perhaps those feelings are what Mr. Molyneux intends to tap into, in hopes of creating a more all-encompassing gaming experience.
This entire idea is heavily remeniscent of the hand-holding Ico and Yorda shared in that early PS2 classic. Having Ico so closely monitor and care for Yorda, most notably through dragging her around that castle by hand, really connects you to the characters and shows the bond between the two, as well. By controlling Ico to perform these actions and look after Yorda, those feelings start being a part of yourself, as well, as if some mystical power can transfer the thoughts and emotions of the character through the television, the game console, the controller and into your own body.
If Fable 3 can tap into that same sense of closeness, of connection with the characters, and perhaps even expand upon it, this could be a very memorable gaming experience that is seen very rarely in the industry today.
But, Peter Molyneux talks big. He always does. He did before he released Fable, then again before Fable 2 and that trend will likely continue. I really commend him for thinking big and outside the typical cookie-cutter box and find it hard to fault the fact that not everything he wants to make it into his games will actually do so. Everyone should do themselves a favor now and keep the hype under control. That being said, it is nice to think about the possibilities and this is one reason I admire Mr. Molyneux so much. Yes, he does talk big and he does take risks. But, the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward, right? It’s nice to dream and to think about what gaming could be. If it can be accomplished, then great! If not, there’s always the future.
This whole concept of touch and how the game itself can interact and manipulate our own emotions is a complex and interesting one. If that part of human life that is so integrated into our being can be transferred into an interactive experience, allowing us to shape the game world and change it – for better or for worse – the whole endeavor will be worth it and I have a feeling something great could be accomplished. I look forward to seeing how this mechanic progresses in the coming months, leading up to what is looking like a holiday 2010 release for Fable 3.
It would be interesting getting our reader’s thoughts on this matter, so if you have an opinion, complaint, remark or anything else relating to this topic, don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments.