Fable III: Featuring John Cleese as Your Butler

Fable III‘s Twitter integration isn’t the only amusing news to come out of GDC today. Speaking to a crowd of developers and journalists, Peter Molyneux announced that comedic acting veteran and all-around British guy John Cleese will be voicing a key role in the upcoming Lionhead Studios sequel.

Cleese, best known for his work as one of the five ‘Pythons’ of Monty Python’s Flying Circus fame, is no stranger to voice acting. In addition to several animated film roles, Cleese was featured in Bioware’s ancient China-themed role playing game Jade Empire. In the title, released in 2005 for the original Xbox and PC, Cleese played Sir Roderick Ponce Von Fontlebottom the Magnificent Bastard, a British solider who was so full of himself (and the Empire) that players were more than happy to beat close to death.

Cleese will be taking on a decidedly more friendly, but just as British, role in Fable III. As your character’s butler, Cleese will actually act as your pause menu in the game. When the player presses start, instead of a screen of menus like in the first two titles, their character will appear in a room with Cleese. From here the player can manage their appearance, stats and other features once handled by menus in previous titles.

The decision to go from a 2D menu to an interactive 3D experience stems from Molyneux’s claim that over half the gamers playing Fable 2 only understood and used 50 percent of the game’s features. Instead of being bogged down in sub-menus these features are given Cleese’s face to help ease casual players into their complexities.

This new style, along with other changes such as the removal of experience points and streamlined character progression are aimed at making the series more accessible while still retaining the core role-playing features the series is known for.

Fable III is being developed by Lionhead Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios. It is the only major title currently confirmed to use Microsoft’s Project Natal but it is unknown how the motion peripheral will be integrated. A tentative release date is scheduled for this Fall.

Source: Kotaku (because we didn’t get invited to GDC…there’s always next year….)