If you preordered the Fable II Collector's Edition (as I had... until today), prepare to have your expectations lowered.

I stopped by the store on the way home and changed my order to the Normal Edition. The bonus content sounds all right, but there's a catch, one that's already disappointed me at least twice on the 360 (The Godfather and Mercenaries 2 are the ones that come to mind, and I think Crackdown may have been a culprit too): the "bonus content" requires you to have your console connected to the Internet. Which, as I have noted on multiple occasions in the past, is unwholesome because:

* it promotes the release of buggy games (We'll patch it with a free download real soon)

* it costs an extra $100-$200 for the hardware to get it connected (router, modem, voltmeter, nail gun, wireless thingy, belt sander)

* it gives developers an incentive to exclude the coolest content from the game you just paid $60 for

* it is a blasphemy against God

* in my day, games came on 4K ROM cartridges and we liked it

If you have your console connected to the Internet, good for you, but if not, be warned: the bonus content is a lie.

By the way, congratulations to EBGames/Gamestop for doing the right thing. When I got home tonight, after changing my preorder, it turned out that during the day they'd left an automated message on my answering machine, letting me know about the change in the Fable II CE.
* it promotes the release of buggy games (We'll patch it with a free download real soon)

In most games, they try not to have bugs, and patch the ones that crop up. For example, SW: TFU has no major bugs that I noticed (the camera still isn't the greatest, though) and I think they're still going to release a patch soon (or was that bonus content?).
Gughunter wrote:
* in my day, games came on 4K ROM cartridges and we liked it

And bonus content amounted to a poster or shiny cartridge. >.>
I agree, I dislike going on Xbox Live for anything really. But atleast it provides the chance to patch any game-breaking bugs and whatnot.

Peter Molyneux's picture is in the dictionary next to the phrase "prepare to have your expectations lowered"...
At least the belt sander has other applications!
You've got to wonder what the screw up was. I mean I can understand a couple of things getting removed, sometimes things don't make it back from the printers in time, but this is like the person planning the pack thought they were releasing in January.

As for the subject of getting the XBOX 360 online I'm sure there must be a workaround. Wouldn't one of those Nintendo Wi-Fi dongles they use for the Wii/DS do the job of bridging your PC and your 360?
The VGA cord isn't that pricey, you could get one of those, then just bring it in to the computer area using the PC screen when you want to update or use market place.
I know we've talked about this before, and I'm pretty sure you have a good reason, I just can't remember what the reason that always makes me go 'oh yeah, that's fair enough' is. Not that you need a reason to justify not going online, I just see this as something that if I were you I'd want fixed.
This is a FABLE game we are talking about here.
95% of the "promised" content will not be in the game in any way, shape or form. The 5% that will be in the game will be dumbed down and most of the "included features" will be nothing more than useless addons.
This "bonus content" will be the same, and you're pretty crazy if you expect otherwise!
Oh, on a side note, if you do hook up to XBOX Live you might want to check out 'Penny Arcade Adventures'. Seems like the sort of game you'd get a kick out of.
I've also been very pissed about the very same issues you present. Mercs 2 was just awful in terms of content that was removed. I started a list from the hype thread that was posted on the Mercs 2 forum, which I ultimately gave up on.

In short, though: a fair amount of Mercs 2 was cut, likely to be released as "episodic content" via Xbox Live. Promised features like fuel spills and fire dynamics were conspicuously missing with no explanation for their removal, and were only confirmed removed about two weeks before the game was mastered. Sounds very Microsoftian to me.

Rest assured that any high-production-value game I ever make, I will state very specifically what exactly you get in the end version on an ongoing basis, and will also release only one freaking version of the game that is the same across all ports. =P