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Last Updated: Friday, 9 March 2007, 12:33 GMT
Designer hopes for love in games
Darren Waters
Technology editor, BBC News website, San Francisco

Screen shot from Fable
Mr Molyneux says if games can offer excitement, why not love?
Veteran designer Peter Molyneux has said that he wants to put love into his next game, Fable 2.

"This is my bold claim - I need you to experience something in Fable that you as gamers have never experienced before," he declared.

Gamers will be able to start a family and watch their child grow over time.

Emotional reactions to gaming, such as love, fear and even empathy, remain the holy grail for many developers.

"Everybody is talking about emotion, story, engagement and narrative," Mr Molyneux said. "We have tried to approach it in a different way. We are going to explore love."

'Wow moments'

He explained that the team had drawn up a list of features it wanted when planning the sequel to Fable, which had sold three million copies.

We can do excitement, fear, achievement. Surely we can think about other emotions?
Peter Molyneux

"We made a shopping list," the designer said.

The world in Fable is now 30 times bigger than before, with more weapons, more monsters, more variety - but Mr Molyneux said those changes were not enough.

"I didn't set up Lionhead and I'm not in this industry to do shopping lists.

"We sat down and realised what we really wanted to do was make 'wow' moments.

"We started to talk about what was important in gaming.

"We can do excitement, fear, achievement. Surely we can think about other emotions?"

One of Lionhead's solutions to generate emotion in games is to build a family network for the main character.

"We want you to feel loved. You can have sex and you can have a baby.

"That baby will grow up and will kind of look like you."

To encourage empathy the game will also feature a dog - that will accompany the gamer on his adventures.

"We have spent an enormous amount of time and effort to make something that feels real.

"I want you to make you feel it is a real dog. I want you to feel something when you play a game; that's what this feature is about."

The dog is also a central game play feature - it acts as a guide, a reminder of gaming quests and can also fight with the player.

Each dog will be unique to the gamer and Mr Molyneux said that gamers would be able to introduce their dogs to each other online.

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