Fable III to go episodic post-retail release

Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, Fable III will be released as downloadable chapters over Xbox Live “soon” after the game’s retail release this October, developer Lionhead boss Peter Molyneux has revealed.

“We break it down in chapters. We give away the first chapter entirely free, the first hour,” he’s explained to gi.biz.

“When you reach a certain point in the game it says ‘thank you for playing the pilot of Fable III, do you want to spend an extra 2-5 or whatever dollars to buy the next episode, or buy the whole lot?’ Press ‘yes’ and you will immediately continue playing.”

Last September’s episodic release of Fable II — available as five episodes, first free, the rest $10 a piece — was “hugely successful,” Molyneux said earlier this year. With “a much higher than a normal conversion rate,” 1.6 million downloads and $15 million in contribution margins, the designer has deemed the experiment a “massively, massively successful” undertaking.

Such an approach is also far preferable to releasing a demo, Molyneux feels, as he expressed in no uncertain terms around Fable II‘s episodic release: “I hate demos. I think demos are the death knell of experiences. Over the years I’ve done demos and they’ve either completely ruined the game, given too much to the player, or they’ve confused people”. More on that here.

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