Executive producer Geoff Smith talks free to play elements and cross play.
What’s going on with Lionhead’s Fable Legends? The Xbox One title, which was revealed to also be releasing on Windows 10, has been in development for a long time and we still don’t have a solid release date. It’s since gone free to play and will support cross play/streaming across the two platforms but Lionhead clearly has more going on than meets the eye.
Speaking to GamingBolt at E3 2015, executive producer Geoff Smith talked about the game’s micro-transactions and how they’ll ultimately pan out (there’s no pay to win, so relax) along with his views on VR, cross play with Windows 10 and much more.
"We wanted to put Fable Legends onto Windows because as you know Fable Legends is a Free-to-Play title so it makes a lot of sense for us to put it on the PC."
Leonid Melikhov: How is Fable Legends come along since last year? What have you guys changed, and what is new?
Geoff Smith: So, there has been a lot that has happened since E3 last year. The obvious things we’ve done, we’ve added more heroes. So we’ve got Evienne, Celeste and Malice, so currently we’re building up a full roster of heroes to get up-to 14 for later in the year. I think we’re up to 11 now, where’s at E3 last year we had 6. We’ve build a heap of more quests and lot more creatures.
We’ve got Imps, which are little buzz-y things that fly around and then we’ve the Bark Skins and the Servants which are tree things. So, that’s all new content and we will continue to always make new content. I think that the key thing that’s probably different this year is that we’re playing on Windows 10 as well as Xbox One.
Leonid Melikhov: How do you guys feel about Xbox One and PC cross-play and streaming?
Geoff Smith: It’s great. We wanted to put Fable Legends onto Windows because as you know Fable Legends is a Free-to-Play title so it makes a lot of sense for us to put it on the PC. Fable has often been on PC, Fable 2 was on the PC, just had our Fable Anniversary on the PC for Fable 1.
Windows 10 coming up made it quite easy just because of the share-tech and Xbox Live becoming part of Windows 10 and basically the two technologies are merging together. It just made it a perfect scenario for Cross-platform Play. Now, as well as playing against or with on Windows 10 or Xbox One it’s got a shared profile, so anything you buy or earn on Xbox One or progress that you make in the game will be there if you play it on Windows 10 too.
Leonid Melikhov: Is the Gamerscore shared or is it separate?
Geoff Smith: The Gamerscore is also shared.
Leonid Melikhov: Doesn’t matter what you play it on, you can go earn on whatever?
Geoff Smith: Yeah.
Leonid Melikhov: I know for Gears of War: Ultimate Edition they told me it’s actually separate even though its cross-play, it’s still separate. But this is one platform for both?
Geoff Smith: Yeah, it is. It gives us a lot of freedom. It’s great fun to be able to play on either, right? I am sure there will be lots of people who play on PC and will own an Xbox One.
"I have done previous HoloLens demos such as Minecraft and it’s a fantastic tech and I can’t wait for it to get out in the mainstream and grow and have applications for gamers."
Leonid Melikhov: How do you guys feel about using mouse and keyboard on the PC? Wouldn’t it be a little easier to do things with a mouse than do things with a controller for obvious reasons. How does that going to go down?
Geoff Smith: Yeah, sure. We’re hoping to make the experience as consistence as possible across all platforms. You are right about the most obvious area outside of maybe shooter controls. The Villain player is quite suited to be strategic to mouse/keyboard. We’ve actually spent so much with controller with the Villain, but right now it’s still better on that. We’re just going to work and try to make sure that it is as consistent and no side gets an upper hand.
Leonid Melikhov: Were you at the Microsoft’s conference?
Geoff Smith: The keynote? Yes I was.
Leonid Melikhov: I really enjoyed the stuff they showed. I think gamers win and what do you guys think of HoloLens?
Geoff Smith: Well, HoloLens is amazing.
Leonid Melikhov: Have you done the Halo 5 experience?
Geoff Smith: I have not done the Halo 5 one, if there was more time I’d queue up and get in there. But I have done previous HoloLens demos such as Minecraft and it’s a fantastic tech and I can’t wait for it to get out in the mainstream and grow and have applications for gamers. It’s not my area of expertise, but I do like it.
Leonid Melikhov: Have you guys like ever thought of about maybe implementing this in your far future projects? Or any concept ideas? Because it has a lot of potential for innovative ideas and I know Lionhead is known for Black and White. I think that would be one of the perfect examples of HoloLens.
Geoff Smith: You can never say never. Potentially we’re all part of Microsoft so that’s the great thing about working with Microsoft, when this tech comes around I am sure in the future there will be opportunities. But, right now we’re consumed with making Fable Legends. Vast majority of Lionhead is on Fable Legends and we’re totally committed to making that a success.
"We’re working through the different possibilities right in terms of monetization. Basically, anything that you can buy in the game you can earn in the game. So you could earn with Silver rather than with our Gold currency."
Leonid Melikhov: How do you guys feel about VR?
Geoff Smith: Yeah, interesting. Personally though, it’s not quite for me, but I can understand that lots of people love it
Leonid Melikhov: Any new features you’ve added to Fable Legends? I know you’ve mentioned new heroes and quests.
Geoff Smith: Back in the studio we’re adding the Hero leveling system. The heroes will be able to earn XP as we go through quests, right? So they kill creatures, they gain XP and then you can level up. You go through a talent tree and eventually you’ll be able to unlock a 4th ability, cause you only have 3 currently.
We’re also putting in costumes and outfits so you can customize your heroes and they’ll come with different stats.
Leonid Melikhov: The cosmetic stuff, is that going to be micro-transactions? What’s going on with that?
Geoff Smith: We’re working through the different possibilities in terms of monetization. Basically, anything that you can buy in the game you can earn in the game. So you could earn with Silver rather than with our Gold currency. There is no pay to win or anything like that, you can go through, you can earn enough XP, you can then go earn silver from defeating creatures and winning quests and then you can get new outfits and so on.
Leonid Melikhov: The outfits have no effect on the gameplay?
Geoff Smith: Some do. There are some premiums that don’t, but you can buy those separately. We just don’t want people to purchase power anywhere from this game.
Leonid Melikhov: Right, that’s what I am afraid of, because sometimes you can pay $5 and get the best armor in the game.
Geoff Smith:Yeah, it’s not going to be like that.
"One thing we’ve been doing in the closed beta is listening to the community of players and if they give us feedback we try to change things in future iterations and tweak things. If they tell us, we try to do it and we’ll grow the game accordingly."
Leonid Melikhov: Can you give me an example of what a premium armor is?
Geoff Smith: They’ll just be a premium costume which will just relate to a theme. It’s not actually an armor that has stats, pure vanity item.
Leonid Melikhov: Ah, okay. So it’s purely cosmetic?
Geoff Smith: Yeah.
Leonid Melikhov: Is the world getting better? Have you guys added any new areas in the last year?
Geoff Smith: There are lots of different quests, all of which are different areas/levels and then there is Brightlodge, which is the Hub Town. That’s growing quite nicely and it’s available in the closed beta. In there, there are lots of shops, lots of villages, you can go about and do your Fable-style things. You can do all the emotes that you could do in Fable 2; you can sing and dance for the villagers. Although, Brightlodge itself could expand and build and grow and grow…
Leonid Melikhov: In future expansions?
Geoff Smith: That’s right. There is no rush right now and we’ll see if players love it. One thing we’ve been doing in the closed beta is listening to the community of players and if they give us feedback we try to change things in future iterations and tweak things. If they tell us, we try to do it and we’ll grow the game accordingly.
Leonid Melikhov: We have about 6 months left till end of the year, when are you guys releasing the game?
Geoff Smith: The big questions, eh?
Leonid Melikhov: Yeah, I mean the PC version has been announced. You guys got the cross-play thing going. I’ve played the game already twice, last E3 and this E3, so I am just like okay, when is this game coming out?
Geoff Smith: So, we’re targeting by the end of the year. We’re not setting a specific date, but we’re getting this out there by the end of this year.
"Right now, the whole of the company is focused on Fable Legends. The vast majority of them are working on Fable Legends, but there is another title."
Leonid Melikhov: Sounds like holiday to me.
Geoff Smith: And then we’ll continue to develop it right? It’s Free-to-Play and we’ll expand it.
Leonid Melikhov: If you don’t mind me asking, how many teams you have at Lionhead?
Geoff Smith: We have a couple of teams.
Leonid Melikhov: Are they all working on different things?
Geoff Smith: The vast majority of them are working on Fable Legends, but there is another title.
Leonid Melikhov: Ahhh, I like that.
Geoff Smith: Ahaha, we’re not talking about that today.
Leonid Melikhov: Most fans have been hoping for a full-fledged true Fable RPG experience with a single-player story. You guys decided to go the free-to-play route and social experience. Will we ever see anything again related to single-player in the future for Fable?
Geoff Smith: Right now, the whole of the company is focused on Fable Legends. But you know what, in the future never say never so who knows?
Leonid Melikhov: I would really like a new Black and White. I don’t know what’s happening with that because I know Peter is not there, but I think you guys can do it without Peter.
Geoff Smith: That’s right, that’s right we can, we’re really good.
"Whatever we do next, we’ll put everything into it and hopefully it’ll be fun."
Leonid Melikhov: Who owns the IP?
Geoff Smith: I am not sure, but maybe EA potentially owned it, but I am not sure.
Leonid Melikhov: How long have you been at the studio?
Geoff Smith: I’ve been in the studio for nearly 11 years. I’ve joined when they were making Black and White 2, just finished Fable 1 and I joined on The Movies.
Leonid Melikhov: I am looking forward to your next title after this. I am really curios too see what are you guys going to do next just because of different things happening.
Geoff Smith: Sure. Whatever we do next, we’ll put everything into it and hopefully it’ll be fun.
Leonid Melikhov: Thanks for your time.
Geoff Smith: It was great talking to you. Thank you.