When Fable: The Journey was first demoed during the Microsoft press conference many gamers balked at the idea of playing the next title in a very adventure friendly title using Kinect. Amidst a ton of demos that were showcasing titles that were “on rails,” Fable: The Journey looked to be unfortunately following along the same track.
Thankfully, Game Rant got a chance to sit with Peter Molyneux, head of Lionhead Studios, to hear his vision for Fable: The Journey, which cleared up a lot of confusion over the game, and made it seem like one of the first intriguing hardcore titles coming for Kinect. Should you be anticipating Fable: The Journey despite a seemingly on rails and lackluster demo? Read on to find out.
Having recently finished Fable 3 myself, I was eagerly anticipating a reveal for Lionhead Studios’ next adventure. Though this wasn’t exactly the Fable I was looking for, I went into the demo with an open mind and came out a believer, not just because of the compelling power of Peter Molyneux’s imagination, but because the game sounds really awesome.
First and foremost, Molyneux wanted to clear the air by saying that the demo shown during the E3 press conference was indeed an “on rails” sequence, but was not indicative of the final experience. In an effort to keep bugs and motion control issues to a minimum, the team at Lionhead devised this tech demo to show the capabilities of the game, not necessarily what the final product will look like.
In Fable: The Journey, the primary source of travel — being able to wander across the expanse of Albion — will be the buggy. As the player and their loyal stead (who will ostensibly be replacing the dog in this entry) attempt to bring the blind fortune teller Theresa to the Spire, the player will guide their buggy via virtual reins.
Movement off of the buggy has yet to be clearly outlined by the team at Lionhead, but Molyneux said it would be something along the lines of pointing in a general direction. Molyneux would like players of Fable: The Journey to explore as much of Albion as they possibly can, but doesn’t want them to be hindered by the feeling that they have to be extremely active. Fable: The Journey allows the player to experience the game’s traveral in a simple and approachable way.
Aside from clarifying the traversal mechanics for Fable: The Journey, Molyneux also went into a little more detail on the combat. Though the series has always been known for combining melee, ranged, and magic attacks into one seamless experience, The Journey will be completely magic-based for a very simple reason.
Molyneux explained that the problem many gamers have been encountering with Kinect is its lack of tactile feedback. When a player swings a sword or shoots a gun via a gesture, they inevitably expect to receive some sort of response. But since Kinect puts you into the role of the controller, there is no tactile response, and thus the action feels fake.
By incorporating the idea of spell-weaving into the combat of Fable: The Journey, the player will not be taken out of the experience, but instead will fall deeper into the idea that they are creating and controlling a wide variety of spells.
Currently, spell attacks can take three different forms: jettisoning a spell forward in various intensities and in varying directions, creating a magical barrier that will protect the player from attacks, or crafting an item like a spear. Fable: The Journey is still very early in development, so Lionhead hasn’t outlined just how deep the combat will be, but Molyneux promised both an experience system and a decent selection of spells to choose from.
Visually, the magic casting looked great and absolutely put the player in control — allowing them to push and pull the various sprites that make up their spell. As the player progresses in level, they will not only gain more sprites to manipulate, but will also discover that pushing those sprites together creates an extremely powerful spell.
The traversal and the combat each looked great, but not necessarily because they were executed flawlessly, but because there is a really great idea in there.
Yes, Fable: The Journey might not be on rails, but there is still a ton of skeptics that are ready to meet the game head on. What Molyneux detailed, especially considering the development head’s proclivity for broken promises, might never come to fruition, but for now the title has a ton of potential.
With a new engine delivering improved visuals, and a new way to execute combat and traversal, Fable: The Journey has the chance to make great headway for the Kinect hardware. Molyneux seems like he understands Kinect much better than other developers, and he promises to make a believer out of each and every naysayer.
After the Microsoft press conference, I was ready to write off Kinect as a gameplay device for the hardcore, but hearing and seeing what Fable: The Journey could be has me intrigued in the possibilities once again.
[Read our Fable: The Journey story preview!]
What do you think of Fable: The Journey? Does hearing that the game is not on rails instill more faith in Lionhead Studios to deliver a solid game?