Creating a utopia in Fable 3 • Eurogamer.net

I decided to create a communist utopia in Fable 3. Actually, I probably shouldn’t use the word utopia as it suggests that I think it would be good, when in reality I have no idea, as I’ve never lived in one. Or a dystopia of any kind. (I don’t think.)

I mean how many people need to be pissed off for it to fall in the latter category? 1 million? 1000? 100? If that’s the case then every time there’s a rail strike the whole of the UK descends into one. That and the contentious issue of using the VAR system to regulate football – how dare we use facts? Are people who are anti-VAR the flat earthers of football? I mean, it’s science and we all know science is smarter than all of us. Except theoretical computer science – that just thinks its cleverer than all of us when there would be no way to prove it as it’s all just theoretical and therefore, in my eyes, rubbish. If you don’t need to use a Petri dish, Bunsen burner or the weird hieroglyphic-looking functions on your calculator then it is clearly not science. (From someone who clearly failed GCSE science.)

As Fable 3 was actually the second Fable I ever played, something never sat right with me about the people of Bowerstone. Yes, a cute and somewhat charming little town, but ultimately it’s in a little Bowerstone bubble completely oblivious to the rest of the lands’ worries and woes and the frankly shocking things that go on in forests.

After being moderately good in Fable 2 I decided to up the ante in 3. I knew there were going to be some tough decisions to make in the game and, frankly, I don’t do well with Sophie’s Choices. I get frozen in the headlights of the 21st century just trying to choose a chocolate bar under the glare of a judgemental shopkeeper. Plus a Sophie’s Choice isn’t really two impossible choices both of which are awful, as it misses out the third and oft overlooked choice, which is sitting in the corner with your fingers in your ears and hoping everyone in the room will get bored and leave.

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I decided that this Fable game would be different. This time I would be rich, powerful and able to solve any problem with the jangle of my codpiecey purse. I felt sorry for the poor in Fable, they are so overlooked, generally come to horrible, horrible fates and are, well, kinda just treated like s***. Well actually s*** is treated better as at least someone comes along to pick it up every once in a while, which is more human contact than most of these unfortunates seem to get.

This time, things would turn around for the poor of Albion. Jules their silly, queer, moustached saviour of the kingdom! Spearheading rights for all and freedom for everyone! Much like the real Julia – well all apart from the moustache, and the betterment of an entire kingdom, unless en masse the population of Thailand have life-changing revelations after watching me try to shovel crisps into my mouth in that YouTube video.

Bowerstonians (not sure that’s their name but you get the idea) are such a tetchy bunch, so it gave me great pleasure to hike up their rent to maximum at the start of the game. Every time I came back to Bowerstone, each boo and moment of outrage I faced felt like a win, like every time someone trolls you, it tells you your notoriety in life is increasing. It’s like adding points to your life score with every snippy comment (probably this week about how actually the VAR system is terrible and it’ll ruin football, as sticking to the exact rules of the game is a terrible goal to aim for).

I would swagger into Bowerstone, a smile on my lips, watching my in-game money quickly tally up. I mean – yes, they’re moaning but they are still living in the city – they haven’t been evicted, so actually how the actual frack large was their disposable income in the first place?
As the boos continued I quietly went around buying up as much property in Bowerstone as possible, repeating the same format, over and over until it was all mine. It felt like having all my houses on Park Lane and Mayfair in Monopoly, and every time anyone went around the board they landed on those squares and rolled a six, plus got a slap in the face.

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I then went forth and bought up all the houses, shacks, shanties, huts, abodes in all of Albion and proceeded to set the rent to zero. I mean they might be sacrificed in the Dark Sanctum or lured into a sex dungeon at Reaver’s house but at least they could go to M&S for ‘some bits’ (I mean not main shop; who the hell does that??). That, good sir, is living the dream.

The only ones not living the dream were the residents of Bowerstone – where of course I kept the rent super high as I knew those tough moral decisions as King were coming where I’d have to choose between helping people and crushing moral rot.

Ah, but when you have all the money in the world from taxing a bunch of trumpetty affluent citizens you don’t need to make any decisions at all. As we all learned – to the opposite of all those stupid Instagram quotes – money does buy happiness. Clearly none of the people who say otherwise have ever played Fable 3, it’s the cornerstone of the gameplay, for heaven’s sake.

Should you save some dust- and soot- covered whippersnappers or force them into child labour?

Have some money then.

Ah, all the children have suddenly been baby-wiped into perfection with marvellous elocution and school spirit. Like an extra Dickensian reboot of My Fair Lady. Starting Scarlett Johansson as guttersnipe Wendy or something. I mean why not? She goes up for every other role, right? (Too soon?)

Only once all the snarky questions were done and the world was at peace did I finally set the rent in Bowerstone to zero. Albeit after 80+ hours of play. Which in game time was probably several generations of astronomical rent. No-one seemed to mind, and soon I was greeted with cheers and hugs upon returning to the city.

From all this I feel I learned an important lesson about how to treat people, and a powerful message about politics, tax and the treatment of those less fortunate than us.

The true moral of the story is…
If you’re mean to people for long enough they’ll get used to it, then when you’re nice a little bit, they’ll think you’re a saviour even if you’re still a dick.

This is why I don’t write children’s stories. Apparently crying at bedtime doesn’t help them fall asleep quicker.


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