The next Fable game has nothing to do with its erstwhile creator Peter Molyneux. Christopher Dring speaks to Fable Heroes lead designer Ted Timmins about how he went from humble beginnings as a Lionhead games tester to creating his own fully fledged Microsoft-published adventure
TO MANY, PETER MOLYNEUX was Lionhead. The studio’s founder was the creative visionary and voice behind its acclaimed output – from Black and White to Fable. And so with him now gone it’s easy to assume that the good ship Lionhead is without its rudder. And that a future of identikit Fable sequels awaits. But Lionhead was never just Peter
Fable Heroes (top) came from the idea of ‘Fable meets Gauntlet’, which Ted Timmins (above) and his colleagues conceived during a Lionhead ‘creative day’
Molyneux. It was a team of talented individuals that he had helped nurture and develop over the years. And now with Molyneux on an entirely new project, it’s up to these creative men and women to step forth. Men and women such as Fable Heroes lead designer Ted Timmins.
FABLE: A JOURNEY Timmins began life at Lionhead working on the first Fable. He had to choose between going to University or accepting a one month QA contract on the Xbox RPG, and he never looked back. “I did one month testing with the first Fable, then I got a three month contract, and I
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realised I made the right decision,” he says. “Three months went by. Then a year went by, and next thing I knew five years had gone by. And to get here today almost eight years later
Heroes came out of the desire to
make something different to complement to our main triple-A Fable games.
Ted Timmins, Lionhead
is pretty awesome. And that is always what is so great about Lionhead; they support your career. A lot of people who worked on Fable Heroes have never been in these kind of positions before.” Timmins was talking at the first unveiling of
Fable Heroes in San Francisco back in March – which was just days before Molyneux
announced he was leaving – and he couldn’t believe his luck. Fable Heroes was an idea cooked up
between him and Jon Eckersley for a Lionhead creative day in 2011. And now it’s about to become a fully-published, realised Xbox Live Arcade title. “We were wondering what we could do for
this creative day,” explains Timmins. “We were tossing a few ideas back and forth before John just said: ‘What if Fable met Gauntlet?’. And I was like, awesome, that would be amazing. So we started off doing a design around a four-player Fable. We grabbed four other people, Don, an engine guy, Rob, an FX guy, Alex, a programmer, and Matt Green, who is a level designer. “The six of us got together, went into a
boardroom, and we just started writing on the wall. We just started brainstorming. Then we spent a couple of weeks of working late nights and weekends, and we showed Louise [head of the Fable franchise], and she was like: ‘Wow, this is awesome.’ Then she grabbed Peter Molyneux, brought him in, and he also