An extensive and excellent report on Eurogamer has shed light on what it was like to work at Lionhead.
Among the dozens of fascinating snippets it reveals (including that Microsoft had several offers for the studio prior to deciding it would be closed – a fact MCV knows to be true) is an interesting look at how the angry reaction to the inclusion of a gay character and black hero in the first Fable was the driving force behind even greater diversity in its sequel.
"We were like, the game's not for eight year-olds," Lionhead art director John McCormack said of complaints from parents about their kids being exposed to homosexuality. "It's a mature-rated game. So it's not really our problem. It's yours. And, I hope you rot in hell. With Fable 2 we were like, right, gay marriage, lesbianism, f*ck you. We revelled in it."
The conflict wasn't limited to religious puritans, however – it also led to arguments with publisher Microsoft.
"They were going, you can't have a black person on the cover, and you can't have a woman. And you want a black woman,” McCormack added. And I was like, yes, I do, because it's about be whatever hero you want. No. It's a white guy. That's just the way it is. We know what sells and that's fucking it. Stop the arguing. I was like, f*ck you! That was a huge fight.
"They said, what's the most unsuccessful Disney film? I was like, I don't know. They went, Princess and the Frog. Work it out. I was like f*ck you, man. I hated it. I was screaming at them in conference calls. I lost it at that point, because they just weren't getting the game. Especially because we were the first ever game that had gay marriage, we were about breaking down walls. It was meant to be funny and mature.
They just took none of it and just did the usual white guy with a sword on the front. Damn it! You missed the point!"
It should be stressed, however, that the report is also full of glowing praise for Microsoft and its relationship with Lionhead.
Oh, and we have to highlight this wonderful anecdote. Here it is verbatim:
Molyneux's other directive: Fable 2 must have a dog. And that dog must die.
"We had a meeting," McCormack recalls. "We'd not seen him in weeks because he had other things on. He opened the door, walked in and goes, the hero has a dog, and it dies. And then he left and we didn't see him again for another month. We were like, what the f*ck? That was it. That was the direction."
Make sure to read the whole thing over at Eurogamer.