Improvements for Fable to be transitioned to Fable 2:
1. Far too short and not enough story depth:
This game was almost comically short for an RPG. Getting through any Role Playing Game in under ten hours should be flat out impossible. Add to this the comparatively (to other more in-depth RPGs) thin main storyline, absence of true side-quests, limited character progression, and predictable nature of the main story structure, it winds up being a (again, comparatively) pretty weak gaming experience.
It would have been nice to see some sort of branching storyline that changes circumstances when persuing the altruistic path or defiling your soul with evil deeds, more options with spouses than sex and abuse, some tweaks to the writing to make it more concise and less fantastic or dramatic, and some real NPCs that you can feel like you're truly interacting with.
2. A streaming transition between sections of the map:
This was a pretty big problem for me as I always play video games very critically, and at the same time as if I were inside the world (suspending disbelief and all). The requisite loading of every section of the map really broke up the continuity (congruency?) of the experience and made me care less about what happened where I was coming from because it took so long to get where I was going to. In other words, It just wasn't fun hitting a twenty or thirty second load space when I was just running from section to section of the map. As this game was in development for five years or so, I would think that they could have found a way to do this. San Andreas loads an entire city in the time it takes Fable to load a small map, and while Fable has more graphical detail, it is still not defendably true to say that there is nothing that could have been done.
3. Storyline brickwall:
At a certain point in the game the story just hit a wall. There was nothing that could be done other than the main missions, and for an supposedly open-ended game like Fable, this is inexcusable. Add to this the fact that there are no real missions to accomplish after the end of the story, it ends pretty abruptly.
(Fable 2 idea: Having some sort of office in every town where locals come to complain about their problems and offer rewards for solving them. Like a bounty office, but one that specializes in more than just assassination missions. This could include spy missions where you need to sneak around to gain information, running protection for businesses, helping villagers raise money to open a business, run a bake sale, whatever a creative mind could think up...)
4. More specialization in armour and tattoos:
People have a wider range of emotions than enthusiastic applause and crippling fear when confronted by your character. For instance, in Fable there are multiple tattoos that have different descriptions (assassin by night, Bowerstone nobility, fertility, etc.). Having different tattoo sets could cause villagers to talk with you about more specific things, ask you to complete tasks for them based on your appearance, etc. Wearing bright leather armour makes them see you as a ranger of sorts, to be moderately respected, but also at ease with. Dark Platemail causes people to show you respect and hold their tounges. This was done to a degree in Fable, but some more emphasis on it would make the experience much more enveloping.
5. OTHER AREAS OF THE MAP:
Being able to visit other areas of the map without having a modded XBox and industry-standard programming skills is crucial, CRUCIAL, to any immersive RPG experience. Especially seeing that the other sections have names and could have maps that go along with them, and showing the entire world map and having a quarter of it be accessable, makes the game feel weaker. If more time was focused in on getting these areas into the release version of the game and less on designing different haircuts and tattoos, then this would have been a much stronger game.
6. More longevity, NPC aging, siring children, making real friends:
All of these rolled into one. Reaching the age of 65 with white hair by the tenth mission in the game should be impossible. I for one need to be able to relate somewhat to my character in any game, certainly and particularly in an RPG, and I find it harder to relate to a wrinkled, faded senior citizen than to a black haired, devious miscreant. My spouse also stays the same age regardless of the age of my character, which doesn't seem right. The ability to have sex seems like a fun past-time, but without the ability to see anything come from it other than incessant pillow talk every time I see my "wife" detracts from the experience and makes it get old quick. And I would have loved to be able to really recognize different villagers, differentiate between them, and know one better than another. Maybe a few limited dialogue options in the Expressions list,e.g. "how you doing?/Hi to the wife./Job going well?, etc.", having some more ranged and different gifts than chocolates and roses, to give to good friends, not prospective lovers, just a more rounded experience in dealing with other people in the game. When the bandits say, "This could be the start of a terrifying friendship." I would like for that to have some truth to it.
Have the stealth in the game be more pervasive, not having people spin around unprovoked and stare at you while you try to stealth kill them. This is one of the more annoying, albeit minor, problems I had with Fable, wearing the assassin outfit should turn you into an assassin. This means a system recognizing when people's backs are turned, a way to kill enemies with one hit, and maybe even some varied animations for this action if we're lucky.
Arrows stick, magic burns, and cuts scratch:
Not necessarily in that order, or limited to those examples. All I mean by this is resolving one of the problems that most games face: realistic damage to the character. Scars is a good start, and something that most games (maybe no games now that I think about it) have implemented. But what about an arrow sticking into your character's arm or heart, and having damage based on where the attack lands.
In the same vein, magic attacks should have some sort of visible effect on your hero. This could be as simple as some scars that are specific to magic attacks, or more complex. I am no game designer, but Fable has one of the world's best and most innovative designers working on it, with a team of highly trained and creative specialists working on it. How about expanding on some of the ideas put forth in Fable.
Other than these, there are obviously hundreds of other ideas that could potentially fulfill this game's original claim; to be the best game of all time, RPG or otherwise. As Fable 2 is most likely already in the works in some form or another, I can't wait to see what they come up with.
"I shall think that the sky, the air, earth, colours, shapes, sounds, and all external things are merely the delusions of dreams which a demon of the utmost power and cunning has devised in order to ensnare my judgement." (Descartes, Meditations)