Fable 2 [Beta – Xbox 360]

Fable 2 is an action RPG developed by Lionhead Studios and directed by Peter Molyneux, published by Microsoft Game Studios. It’s the sequel to Fable  and it was originally announced in 2006 and released in October 2008. [Infos from Wikipedia] In these images we can see a series of early concept arts that were used to create the final game, some of which show armors that were never used in the end.

In some early screenshots there is a beta version of the Bowerstone Market city market, an unused NPC (the little bald man), a different looking hero’s sister, a removed desert area and an unknown forest that looks still incomplete. Attacks that used the world’s scenery were removed. The developer diaries showcase this incomplete versions of Bowerstone market and those attacks that did not make it.

Here are some more removed features:

The dog can be called using the voice communicator, too, although Molyneux told the crowd that feature was still iffy and not ready to be shown.

There’s no HUD and no mini-map on the screen in Fable 2. Instead, you’ll have the dog acting as a scout. He’ll always stay a few steps ahead of you and try to guess where you’re headed.

Sound like a lot for one dog to handle? Well there’s more. The dog also acts as your journal of sorts. He’ll point out what’s new in a region you’ve previously been to and remind you of important things that you may have forgotten about in your questing.

Puzzles will also exist that you’ll need the dog to help solve, he’ll act as your bloodhound to follow scents, and even help you get chicks – just like real life. If that weren’t already enough, the dog will also be playable in a variety of minigames.

He also mentioned that your dog will play with other dogs. In fact, he said it has to happen although he was hesitant to add any details other than saying, “You’ve got to be able to meet my dog.” They’ll all be unique in both mind and appearance and will be customizable to match your desires. The aim is to have no two dogs be alike.

While your melee weapon is linked to the X button, there are dozens of variations you can attempt. Combat is largely rhythm based but, unlike many games with similar systems, the range of the timing seems fairly broad. Pressing X, X, (hold) X and then releasing creates a different result than X, (pause) X, (hold) X and release. To help players feel the rhythm, drums begin to pound when you string combos, signaling times to press the X button. It’s an almost tribal experience. And though the drums are initially jarring, their beat melds into the ambient noise quickly. It wasn’t long before it felt as if the music were in rhythm with my button taps and not the other way around. Blocking is also done with the X, simply by holding. This also powers you up for an attack, but each time you parry that charge is instantly dissipated. So you can’t block and then suddenly released a powerful strike.

In Lionhead Fable II Diaries (that you can download at the official Lionhead website or check below) we can even see some footage from various prototypes of the game, as the Combat Demo, world creation and other interesting development stuff. The earliest  Fable II prototype was created with the Fable I engine, but we still don’t have any screens from that version.

Also, Robert Seddon linked us to an article on Kotaku about pregnancy in games, where we can read about another removed feature from the game:

Technically, your female character in Fable II doesn’t get “pregnant” – you just get a cut scene that explains you gave birth and then the game resumes with a cradle in your house. It’s the same for male characters as it is for female. But that wasn’t the way that Lead Designer Peter Molyneux designed it.

“Originally we did plan to depict pregnancy in game with the female hero’s stomach expanding,” he said. Lionhead Studios decided to opt for a cut scene instead, though, after considering all the moral quandaries that come of having a six-month pregnant mom-to-be wielding a broadsword and getting cut up by bandits.

Thanks to Randy for the contribution!