There’s no doubt that Microsoft’s decision to combine the Fable series with Kinect in Fable: The Journey is a conscious effort to pursue the interests of the hardcore gamer. Microsoft knows it, gamers know it, and now Peter Molyneux of Lionhead Studios is talking a little bit about it.
According to Molyneux, Fable: The Journey is exactly what hardcore gamers have been saying they want out of a Kinect title: it’s challenging, accessible, and is perfectly tailored for marathon play sessions. Lionhead, in essence, has taken all of the hardcore gamer complaints, and some lessons learned from Fable development, and created a title that should get hardcore gamers finally interested in picking up Kinect.
One of the key things Molyneux says will help Fable: The Journey appeal to the hardcore is its length and level of difficulty. Though many of the Kinect titles that are available now can be played in small chunks, Fable: The Journey is promised to be a robust title that also challenges players.
“I don’t think The Journey is going to be any easier. I think it’ll be more accessible, but not easier. In fact, one of the things we did in Fable 3 was to take out the death mechanic. We’ve put that back in. If your horse dies, you have to get another one before you can progress.”
Obviously a certain level of difficulty is a key factor that goes into making a successful hardcore game, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle. Molyneux wants The Journey to be equally as accessible as it is challenging. Players should never misunderstand the mechanics of the Kinect implementation — all that should come naturally.
Even player movements in this not-on-rails game will need to be easily understood or else the immersion that drives hardcore gamers to titles like Fable will be lost, instead replaced with confusion over the difference between walking forward and casting a spell.
Lionhead is not cutting any corners by bringing Fable to Kinect with Fable: The Journey. There is a clear goal in mind — to have a success on both the sales and critical fronts — and the title isn’t afraid of setting itself apart from the pack. Still, we’ve yet to see any real footage of Fable: The Journey in action (the E3 presentation was more a tech demo), so whether Lionhead can pull all of this off is yet to be determined.
Do you think that Fable: The Journey will be the first Kinect title to appeal to the hardcore? Are concepts like level of difficulty and length of playtime the key to making a hardcore Kinect game?