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Last Updated: Friday, 8 October, 2004, 08:41 GMT 09:41 UK
Fable creator explains online apology
By Alfred Hermida
BBC News Online technology editor

One of the UK's top game makers has explained why he apologised online for failing to live up to expectations in his latest game, Fable.

Screenshot from Fable
You can turn to the dark side in Fable
Peter Molyneux said he felt he owed a duty to fans to explain why some features did not make it into the finished product.

"I'm sorry if I offended anybody," he told BBC News Online. "I didn't mean to do that."

Fable, which is goes on sale in the UK on Friday, is a fantasy role-playing adventure game set in medieval times.

The game was released in the US in mid-September and sold more than 375,000 copies in its first week in the shops.

Duty to explain

Peter Molyneux is one of the leading lights of the British games industry, best known for creating a whole new genre of games, called god sims, where players control everything that happens.

The role-playing Fable marked a bit of a departure for him. The title for the Xbox has been four years in the making.

Peter Molyneux
I just get very excited about developing games and it is hard to restrain myself
Peter Molyneux, Lionhead Studios

During that time, Mr Molyneux has regularly appeared in the media, talking about his ideas for the game.

In the end, some of these never made it into final product, prompting the games developer to post an online apology.

"I owed it to people to explain why Fable was like it was," said Mr Molyneux, the head of Lionhead Studios.

"One of the things I listen to, and appreciate, is the opinion of people who follow the games we do.

"We owe a duty to those people to explain what we are doing and why we are doing it."

In his posting on an official messageboard, Mr Molyneux denied that he had tried to hype Fable by talking about his ideas.

Instead he blamed his enthusiasm for landing him in hot water with some fans.

"I just get very excited about developing games and it is hard to restrain myself," he said in an interview.

"If people feel upset by the fact that some features don't make it into the final game, I have to be more responsible."

Face the press

One of the features that is missing from Fable is co-operative play. Mr Molyneux said this had to be dropped simply due to the sheer amount of time it would have taken to get right.

Screenshot from Fable
You can mould your character to appeal to the ladies
"Just because you have an idea doesn't make it the right idea," he said.

"You take it a bit further and then find it doesn't work, and sometimes you take it a lot further and find it still doesn't work."

Mr Molyneux said the experience had forced him to reassess whether he should be talking to journalists about games when they were still at an early stage of development.

In fact, he has gone as far as looking back at press cuttings about games under development to make sure that everything he had talked about in interviews was still in the titles.

One of these is the sequel to 2001's best-selling god sim Black & White. Mr Molyneux said the game was "completely playable and looking pretty amazing."

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