When we first saw the newest Albion adventure during E3 2011, there were some mixed feelings about what the future may hold for Fable: The Journey. The Fable series has successfully blended RPG elements, with real-life sim adventures, as well as the progression of life – rather than sticking to one era. What made combat fun, and subsequently the larger game, was the player’s ability to combine pistols and rifles with swords and sorcery.
The emphasis on Kinect-based magic casting in Fable: The Journey, albeit inventive and new for the series, was only a piece of what made past titles so enjoyable. While the build at E3 was only a few short months old, it still left a lot of questions – a lot to be desired.
To fight back the growing confusion around the title, Lionhead’s Peter Molyneux spoke with the OXM to clarify points on gameplay and mechanics – as well as why the game has mostly abandoned brawn and bullets in favor of magic:
“We could have done melee weapons, but the one thing I hate about melee weapons, and guns as well, is that the human brain is encoded to expect recoil from those things.
Whenever I swing a sword and I hit something on screen, the visuals and the sound isn’t enough. We could have done what Zelda did well on Twilight Princess, where it doesn’t really matter what you do, what happens on-screen is the best thing. But I wanted people to feel powerful, to feel power, and that’s all about you.
“The thing about magic is there’s nothing encoded in your mind about how it should feel. So no guns, and no swords.”
Deciding to focus strictly on magic negates the brain’s preconceived notions of delivery and reaction, as there isn’t real magic out and around today (seemingly). This doesn’t mean that the story or the adventure will be anything less than what fans are used to from Lionhead, Yet even with the urgings that this will be a game for hardcore gamers, it may still be a hard sell.
Considering the fact that much of the Kinect’s potential has been placed within the confines of static-reaction gameplay, if Molyneux could figure out how to tap into that (meaning move the whole body and interact, rather than simple hand and arm gestures), that experience might be more convincing for naysayers.
Then again, as a Fable product, The Journey may have no problem finding critical and commercial success. We’ll know more at Gamescon, where Molyneux has promised a more “clean and polished” gaming experience.