Set in the land of Albion 500 years after the original game's story, the player once again begins the game as a hero whose development is governed entirely by his or her actions. Unlike in the original Fable, the player can choose to be female this time around, and the character will further change based on many personality traits such as cruelty, kindness, faith, and corruption. The whole point of Fable II is to provide the player with a living, breathing world which changes dynamically as the character and events in the story occur, meaning that the player's actions will have a direct effect on the world, and the world will have an effect on the character. Players can have families now, children, which will look up to the player as a moral and stylistic compass, or have protected (or unprotected) sex.
The world of Albion is estimated to be roughly ten times as large as the first game, including many more available items, armor, and weapons for the player to collect, along with new tattoos and haircuts. While being similar to this first game in most regards, combat has been changed specifically to simplify and streamline the gameplay, putting all melee specific combat entirely on the X button. The various attacks and actions of the player will change depending on the location and situation in question, and the combat style will also change depending on whether or not the player is using a ranged or melee weapon. Additionally, the player will have a dog companion throughout the game, who will adapt and change as the character grows, have a personality all its own, will not be directly controllable other than through simple commands, and will assist the player during combat.
Fable II innovates on many different points from the original Fable and adds lots of new features.
One of the most notable changes is the removal of the player's HUD. To complement that, the player will be assisted by a dog that can perform certain tasks in order to help the player get through the game. Like the player character the dog's behaviour and appearance can be influenced via different factors, such as the the alignment and fame of the player.
The dog's behavior is specific to the situation the player is in: If the player is hurt, the dog will stay closer, as well as in towns. If the player goes into a shop, the dog will wait outside.
The dog is trainable as well when using various expressions, giving the option to reward or punish the dog after certain actions and hiding its toys, to allow it to find it later on in the game. The dog can perform many more tasks, such as pointing out to enemies, before they can spot the player, thus replacing the mini-map from Fable. The dog will also spot treasures if there are any nearby. The dog also helps in combat, attacking the most dangerous enemy that is facing the player.
In Developer Diary Episode 6, it was announced that Death will not be permanent in the game. In fact, they have created a new system that is supposed to prevent frustration and allow players to continue playing. When the player's health is depleted, the player can be revived, jump up and fight as if in a last heroic stand, dealing more damage, at the expense of an amount of experience, gold, or in the form of scars on the player. Bosses will have the ability to leave more damaging scars on players than normal enemies. The scars resulting from these battles can elicit negative reactions from townsfolk and travelers in the world of Albion. Also, if the player has a Resurrection Phial in their inventory, they will not lose any experience the next time they die.
Family is another important aspect of Fable II. The player will be able to engage in various activities in order to get someone to like them enough to marry. Players can also engage in various activities including same-sex marriage and polygamy. If the player or their wife are not satisfied with each other either spouse can initiate a divorce. The divorce is made final when the spouse leaves the area where the marital home is located. If players become divorced or widowed then their children get taken away by social services. By visiting your family often and providing them with a sufficient cash allowance players will keep them happy and may even receive gifts from their spouse once in a while.
The story in Fable II deals with the Hero's hunt for Lord Lucien. As a child, you and your sister buy a magic box from a traveling salesman, who claims this magic box and will grant your wish. Your sister wishes to go live in a castle, like Castle Fairfax, where Lord Lucien lives. Later that night, guards from the castle come take you to see Lord Lucien, who is hunting for Heroes. He asks you and your sister to step into a glowing circle, which he uses you to analyze your magic abilities. Lucien determines that you are both Heroes, but not the ones he is after, a fourth hero. He takes out a pistol and shoots your sister in cold blood, then turns the gun on you and pulls the trigger. Your body is blasted out the window of Castle Fairfax, down into the streets of Bowerstone Old Town below. Somehow you survive the fall since it is rumored that Hero's can survive falls that would shatter the bones of a normal man, and you are rescued by a blind sorceress named Theresa. Lucien vanishes from his castle that night.
The game picks up ten years later in a Gypsy camp. Theresa sends the hero on a journey to the destroyed Heroes Guild, where he or she learns to channel Will powers. After conquering the guild, the hero is sent to Bowerstone, but discovers the road is blocked due to bandit activity. The hero takes a short detour to the nearby bandit camp of Thag the Impatient, and kills him, allowing the road to Bowerstone to be opened.
After arriving in Bowerstone, the hero explores the city for a short while, then meets Theresa in the town square. Theresa walks him or her through Bowerstone, conveying the ramifications of the fledgling hero's choices. Theresa tells the hero of the Tattered Spire, an ancient Old Kingdom Artifact powered by Will, that is strong enough to bend reality to the user's wish. Lucien has set about rebuilding the Tattered Spire, but to do so he will need to collect three legendary Heroes: The Hero of Strength, the Hero of Will, and the Hero of Skill. Theresa says that the hero must beat Lucien to securing the allegiance of these three warriors, and sends the hero to Oakfield, where she believes one of the three to be.
The Hero sets out on the road to Oakfield, but discovers that the bridge connecting Bowerstone to Oakfield has been destroyed by bandits. Seeing no other alternative, the Hero dives into the river below. After swimming to a nearby shore, the hero enters a cave infested with Hobbes. After traversing the passage, the Hero heads to Oakfield, where he or she meets the abbot at the Temple of Light. The abbot asks the hero to earn some more renown, by taking care of a bandit problem in nearby Rookridge. After disposing of the thugs, the hero is hired to ensure the success of a ritual that is about to begin in a nearby cave. The hero agrees to protect the abbot's daughter, Hannah, as she enters a sacred cave to retrieve water for the holy golden Oak.
Inside the cave, the pair is attacked by Hollow Men. The Hero fights off the Hollow Men and continues to escort Hammer. Momentarily after collecting the holy water, a monk from the Temple of Light arrives and tells Hammer that her father, the abbot, is being held hostage by one of Lucien's men. Hammer rushes out of the cave, followed by the Hero. As the Hero is ascending the path to the Temple of Light, a shot rings out as Lucien's assassin shoots the abbot. The Hero arrives just in time to see hammer rip a hammer out of a nearby statue and crush the assassin with it. The game skips ahead to the abbot's funeral where Hammer is mourning. There's a teleport to the funeral, after the monks and priests leave, and recruits Hammer for the cause, with her wily words. Theresa teleports Hammer back to the Heroes Guild and briefs her on the situation, while the Hero wraps up business in Oakfield and the surrounding areas.The Hero returns to the guild, and is informed by Theresa of their next task. They need to obtain Lucien's diary, from his former butler Jeeves, who the player met as a child, because the diary contains information on the possible Hero of Will. The Hero goes to the Cow and Corset Bar in Bowerstone where they pay Jeeves 1,000 gold for a map to Lucien's diary. The hero follows the map and digs up Lucien's diary after defeating a troll.
The diary tells the player about the Hero of Will's history in working with Lucien. However, it also states that the Hero of Will had left because of his perception that Lucien was becoming corrupted by his forbidden research and notes that this Hero is now at a tower hidden within a forest. The Hero fights his way through to the tower only to discover the Lucien's forces have already arrived and are trying to capture the Hero of Will. Despite their best efforts, the Hero of Will is eventually captured and transported away leaving the Hero with nothing.
The Hero returns to the guild where they come to the conclusion that Lucian has taken the kidnapped Hero to the Spire, the ancient artifact that Lucian had rediscovered and is currently working to rebuild in order to grant him unfathomable power. They decide that the only way to get the Hero of Will back is for the player to become recruited into the Spire as a thug for hire, in essence, becoming one of Lucien's men. The only way the Hero can do that is to compete and win at the Arena, a sporting venue set amidst a town filled with villains and thieves.
After finishing the Arena, the Hero goes to the docks and leaves for the Spire. They leave all their belongings and his dog with Hammer. Once inside the Spire, the Hero is shaven and given Spire uniform. The Hero meets the commandant who forces them to obey him or risk a shock from a collar around their neck and permanently lose experience. Years later the commandant orders the Hero to investigate a guard that has been slacking on his work. The Hero finds the guard dead and meets up with Garth, the Hero of Will. The Hero defends Garth while defeating the commandant. They fight their way out of the Spire and taking the latest batch of Spire recruits with them.
Garth builds a gate to help the Hero, Hammer and himself find the Hero of Skill. The gate malfunctions and separates the three. The Hero is locked in a cage and escapes only with the help of their dog. They find themselves in Wraithmarsh. The place is foggy thanks to the banshees that inhabit the area. The Hero defeats them on the way to Bloodstone where the Hero of Skill lives. The Hero of Skill, also known as Reaver, doesn't join the Hero until they do something for him. The Hero must bring the Dark Seal to the Shadow Court. The Hero learns that Reaver had to sacrifice someone. They then have to decide to sacrifice themselves or a woman they find while there. The person sacrificed will age significantly.
Once the Hero returns to Reaver, he tells them that he sold them to Lucien. Lucien comes after the two of them anyway. Reaver leads the Hero through a secret passage under his house to escape. Outside they see Hammer and Garth waiting for them. A shard appears and the four work together to destroy it. They finally see Lucien but he shoots the Hero again.
The Hero starts to relive all that has happened during their journey and becomes a child again. The Hero's sister is back and she plans a day of fun for them. They fight beetles, shoot bottles and gathers chickens. When night comes the Hero goes to sleep and wakes to the sound of music. The Hero follows it and finds the magic box that they bought so many years ago. The Hero returns to adult form right in front of Lucien and finally has all that they need to finish their quest. With Lucien dead the hero has to choose among sacrifice, love, and wealth.
This time around, Fable II features online co-op, letting players and their friends play through the whole story together. This feature has no restrictions regarding the level at which players needs to be in order to join another game.
However, the player joining the co-op is unable to use their custom made hero, but rather a henchman of the same level. If players are starting a new game and have a friend who is at level 50, they can join from the get go. In order for the leveling up to be fair, the host will be able to choose how much experience, money, and renown the friend will receive in the game. Another new feature regarding co-op is that even if the player isn't playing with a friend, they will still be able to see them in their world, but they will appear in the form of orbs instead of the hero themselves. Fable II also features "couch" co-op to complement the online co-op. Many Lionhead Members call it " Couch Co-Op" in reference to having a friend or family member sitting next to the player while both players embark on memorable adventures.
On November 24th the first batch of DLC for Fable 2 was announced named "Knothole Island". It was released on January 13th 2009 for 800 Microsoft Points. The DLC added a whole new island (Knothole Island) with 3 new quests, 3 new dungeons, new outfits, 6 new weapons and many potions. The 3 quests are all based on Knothole Island and require the player to solve the island's weather problem. The island is first accessed by talking to the submarine owner in Bowerstone Market.
When players finish the game, they must make a tough decision. One of those choices, sacrifice, leads to a seemingly permanent change which greatly affects future gameplay. Knothole Island offers a way to reverse the most devastating effect of that choice. The island and quests are accessible before and after finishing the main story.
On December 17th it was announced that the Knothole Island DLC (which was suppose to come out on December 22nd) would be delayed until late January 2009 do to technical difficulties.
See the Future
The second DLC pack is said to be released in May 2009 for only 560 Microsoft Points. It contains new creatures, quests, events, and legendary artifacts as well as the ability to transform the player's beloved dog into new breeds using potions bought from the mysterious Murgo. One of the quests is to "give players a glimpse of the future of the world of Albion and your heroic bloodline." And of course there will be many new expressions, outfits and hairstyles.
Achievements added from See the Future DLC:
- The Nutcracker (10) Score 25 groin shots, or see another Hero do so.
- The Paramour (10) Make love 25 times, or see another Hero do so.
- The Concierge (30) Open all the Demon Doors in Albion, or see another Hero do so.
- The Visionary (50) Take a look into the future, or see another Hero do so.
- The Con Artist (25) Find all 10 of Murgo's statuettes, or see another Hero do so.
- The Howler (10) Scare five people while dressed as a balverine, or see another Hero do so.
- The Ghastly Jester (10) Make five people laugh while dressed as a hobbe, or see another Hero do so.
- The Repugnant (10) Disgust five people while dressed as a hollow man, or see another Hero do so.
- The Gladiator (30) Score a total high score of 20,000 points or more in the Colosseum, or see another Hero do so.
- The Multiplicator (20) Achieve a multiplier of 10 or more in the Colosseum, or see another Hero do so.
- The Combatant (20) Defeat the necromancer in the Colosseum, or see another Hero do so.
- The Fowl Player (10) Dress as a chicken and kick five chickens during the Colosseum battles, or see another Hero do so.
- The Colourist (15) Collect the dyes hidden in Murgo's magical items, or see another Hero do so.
On August 4th 2008, Fable II's Limited Edition was announced with a estimated retail price of $69.99. The following additional content was originally announced for the Limited Edition version:
- A Bonus DVD including a Making-of featuring Peter Molyneux and the rest of the team over at Lionhead Studio, as well as a concept art viewer.
- Additional in-game content, featuring a new dungeon, called The Hall of the Dead, a special legendary cutlass called the Wreckager, and other bonuses such as a Master Chief-like armor.
- A figurine of the Hobbe creature from the Qee Collection. A Hobbe is one of the many creatures you encounter in Fable II.
- A Xbox Live Gold Trial Card, allowing new members to try out the Xbox Live Gold features for 48 hours. This allows them to visit their friends in their worlds and go quest together.
- Five printed Fate Cards, that can foretell the Hero's destiny in the world of Albion.
Announced on Oct 1st 2008, the collectors edition was edited, Lionhead made a statement on their Fable 2 Dev Blog, the Hobbe figurine and the "Fate" Cards were removed from the offering and the box art would no longer be different than Fable 2's regular edition, the special edition still includes the bonus content and making-of DVD,
In place of these Collectibles Lionhead created a "Special Fable Album" which contained 'selection of Fable 1 music and 3 brand new tracks from the upcoming Fable II soundtrack', which could be downloaded from http://www.sumthingdigital.com, for a limited time, for free.
The reason for this late change was stated to be "due to supply chain issues". No further details were given.
In an update to the same blog post Lionhead announced that the Fate Cards would be available for download as a PDF for free.
On October 21st it was revealed that there were a lot of problems ensuring that every copy of the Limited Edition of Fable 2 contained the Downloadable Content packs. This problem seems limited to copies of the game sold specifically at GameStop. Company spokesmen confirmed this fact stating that copies of the game with the orange "48 hours of LIVE" sticker were unaffected. Customers who have a copy of the Limited Edition without the Downloadable content code should contact the Xbox Customer Support line.
GOTY Edition/Platinum Hits
On August 28th 2009, Fable II's Game of the Year Edition was confirmed with an estimated retail price of $69 (£39.99 in the UK). It was released on September 18th 2009 worldwide. In US, it was released as "Fable II Platinum Hits".
It contains both DLC chapters; "Knothole Island" and "See The Future" and was aimed at people who had not purchased the DLC previously or were looking to delve into the world of Fable II.
On September 29, 2009, a downloadable episodic version of Fable II was released on Xbox Live. The full retail game was separated into five discreet chapters, the first being released as a 2 GB free demo, and the other four available for 800 Microsoft Points each. These episodes are purchasable at any time but they must however be purchased in order, one cannot skip from episode 1 to 5. At the end of an episode a prompt appears to purchase the next episode, and if the player does not, he or she can continue to roam the existing content, and continue to earn achievements.
Fable II Pub Games was an early experiment in allowing the player to import progress (as money) from a smaller Xbox Arcade product to a full retail product. The demo of episode 1 was also unique among Xbox 360 demos, in that the player's story progress was stored persistently towards the retail game. Even if the player decided to buy the retail disc instead of downloading the episodes, the save files and earned achievement progress ( Prechievements) allowed gameplay to continue right where left off.
Peter Molyneux declared the episodic experiment " massively, massively successful".
Fable II Pub Games
Fable II introduced a new level of Xbox LIVE interaction with XBL Arcade Pub Games.
Fable II Pub Games is a collection of 3 gambling mini games. These games allow the player to earn gold, which can be used in Fable II. Fable II Pub Games was released on August 13th, 2008 for 800 Microsoft Points. Codes to obtain the game for free were available to those that pre-ordered Fable II through GameStop in the US and Gamestation in the UK.
The games that are in the collection are:
- Keystone - Fable's take on roulette.
- Spinnerbox - Slot machines.
- Fortune's Tower - A card game based on luck.
Several Weeks after its release players discovered that a glitch that allowed them to gain money in the pub games without betting,
Peter Molyneux later commented that the glitch was put in there intentionally and players would be punished when they played Fable 2 and imported their winnings.
- Episode 1- Emotions in Action Games - YouTube
- Episode 2- Research, look, and feel of Combat in Fable II - YouTube
- Episode 3- Central Technology Group - YouTube
- Episode 4- World Design in Fable II - YouTube
- Episode 5- Magic and Multiplayer - YouTube
- Episode 6- Art and The Hero - YouTube
- Episode 7- Music and Audio - YouTube
- A Hero's Tale- Interactive Story Based "Experience" on the Microsoft Website
Announced on November 6th, 2008, the soundtrack for Fable II was given a retail release on November 25th, 2008 from Sumthing Else Music Works. It contained twelve tracks from the game, composed by Russel Shaw, head music director and composer at Lionhead studios, and Danny Elfman, a Grammy winning composer. The music was performed by a full orchestra and choir, as well as Celtic instrumentalists. The soundtrack is also available on the iTunes Music Store. The full track listing is:
- Fable Theme - Russell Shaw (Music Box Theme – Danny Elfman)
- Old Town - Russell Shaw
- Bowerstone Cemetery - Russell Shaw
- Bowerlake - Russell Shaw
- Wraithmarsh - Russell Shaw (Music Box Theme – Danny Elfman)
- Fairfax Castle - Russell Shaw
- Westcliff - Russell Shaw
- Oakfield - Russell Shaw
- Bowerstone Market - Russell Shaw
- Shadow of Evil - Russell Shaw
- Howling Halls - Russell Shaw
- Marcus Memorial - Russell Shaw
Temple of Halo
Reach the Temple of Light and listen to the monks. On occasion, they will begin chanting the opening of the Halo theme, and then exclaim "Oh wait, that's not it!" and start chanting "Ohmmmm Ohmmmmm Ohmmmmmm".
Dyes and Terracotta Army
Many of the dye names are Easter Eggs themselves, such as "Soylent Dye" which is green and a reference to Soylent Green, a 1973 science fiction film.
One of the Demon Door areas has statues of knights standing around and are called "Terry Cotter's Knights", a reference to the Terracotta army of China.
In the game, you can hear a little girl say "I lost Rosie again, can you help me find her?." In the original Fable, one of your quests as a child requires you to find a teddy bear named Rosie for a little girl.
In Oakvale, a grave says, "Here lies Rosie, a Teddy Bear."
You'll Shoot Your Eye Out
The Gargoyles, one said, "I'd ask ye to try shootin' me, but you'd probably poke your eye out instead." In the movie 'A Christmas Story' the little boy wants a BB Gun, but his mom said he will poke his eye out instead.
The quest to search for the Granny's grandson Charlie is highly reminiscent of a quest in the original Fable. Both have the same name, Charlie and the grandmothers have the same voice and say, "Charlie, charlie is that you?" when first met.
Book of the Dead
Sam and Dene and his book, the Normanomicon, is reference to a character of the same name who founded the Necronomicon from H.P. Lovecraft's Cthulu Mythos, and unleashed its evil undeadness. This is all part of the quest when ridding Bowerstone cemetery of the undead army. After the player obtains the book and return it to Sam, he then recites a phrase closely similar to the phrase spoken in The Day the Earth Stood Still.
Your Health is Low... (Numerous References to Fable)
In the game, a character says "My wife once said "Is being an adventurer as easy as it sounds? I've heard an entire lifetime can pass within a matter of hours! Sounds horrible to me."
There is an alchemy shop in Bloodstone called Your Health is Low.
There is a loading screen telling of a hero who killed the guild-master and the words "your health is low" were carved into his forehead.
Also a loading screen says this was overheard from a citizen "I've heard tales of the old Hero's Guild, they say the guildmaster could communicate with any hero at any time. Sounds annoying to me".