Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Peter Explains why there is no minimaps in Fable 2

Peter Molyenux was in a video interview with the BBC about Fable 2. The video is very interesting and I reccomend watching it. One thing he did touch on was why there was no mini map. For those who cannot be bothered to watch the video, here is what he says:

"Gamers...find it very easy to go from 2D to 3D [that is what you do with mini maps, even if you don't think about it like that] they [non gamers] don't get it, don't understand it"
Apart from the obvious points that Fable is neither a casual gamer game, nor is the game void of other conventions that baffle non gamers such as XP, the point he makes, I think, is wrong. A mini map is entirely logical. It isn't like it was something made up for RPGs, or for games in general. Maps were developed long before video games. The fact that they even have a useful "you are here" symbol makes them even more intuitive. Yes, they could be made to be obtrusive, like using symbols and acronyms, but in their raw state they are just useful maps. Surely removing it entirley just makes it worse.

I will be conducting a thought experiment over the coming week to discover whether Peter is correct, and a mini map is just mad for a non gamer, or I am correct; a mini map is a logical way of presenting information. Yes, the trail used in the game is simple, but it's functionality is limted, ristricting what core gamers can do. This nicely brings me back to my orginal point - Fable is not a causal game, it rewards dedication, you must level your character (if ever a more bizzare and non gamer unfriendly concept ever existed, I have not found it) among other RPG conventions.

Still, it is always enjoyable to listen to Peter talking about games, he is a very interesting character. Oh and for those who are interested, I had my second child, she's called Delliah.


  1. When you're conducting your thought experiments, keep in mind that maybe by "casual gamers" he meant women. This always comes off prejudice, but it's not, it's just science. Women aren't as good at spatial tasks, hence why they are stereotyped as not being able to use maps as well as men (which, ON AVERAGE, is actually true). This is because their brain is structured differently than men, so their brain just doesn't solve problems in that sort of way.

    On the other hand, women are much better at things of a social nature such as detecting peoples' emotions through subtle body gestures and such.

  2. As all the males I know are gamers, the survey will largely consist of women (convenient eh?) So far, they have all said that maps were fine - they have been using them for years.

    Interesting though, I would have assumed that women would be better than men at map reading.

    Thanks for the comment

  3. Anonymous9:26 PM

    Honestly I love the game but I feel the exclusion of a minimap was a horrible idea. I don't think Molyneux's answer made any sense either. Fable 2 is not a casual game, and I'm getting tired of developers trying to cash in on the perceived success of casual gamers (ostensibly brought about by the success of the Wii). A minimap encourages exploration, and with such a large world this time around, I feel the ability to experience every nook and cranny is greatly dampened.

  4. Anonymous6:15 PM

    Exclusion of minimaps puts it in my hate basket.
    A you are here, shop x is here, locked chest, demon door,etc.. is almost VITAL for making the game player friendly. Especially for all the repeat visits (came back later for quest x, to appease door,etc...)

    How hard would it have been to put a press select once for small/ again for full screen or something to toggle something in the right corner.

    Annoying and god awful. As bad as running a million sustained spells on dragon age (for all the clutter is causes)

    The game is as easy and unbalanced as ever. Now the real challenge is wanting to go explore and do everything - yet coping that it isn't worth the effort now because your bound to go in circles.

    Dog sucks too. Always hanging up.


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