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Gamelab 2011: Molyneux Addresses Concerns About Fable: The Journey

The E3 demo of Fable: The Journey has faced many criticisms since its unveiling, and creator Peter Molyneux addressed some of them during a Gamasutra-attended Gamelab talk today.
The E3 demo of Lionhead's Xbox 360 title Fable: The Journey faced three main criticisms. First, it was presumed the game was on rails, a claim Molyneux has since refuted. Second, it's for Kinect, a platform seemingly ill-suited to lengthy RPGs. And third, the demo seemed very limited. At the Gamelab conference in Spain, Fable creator Peter Molyneux addressed all these concerns as part of a longer talk on his game-making inspiration. "Unfortunately the demo we showed [at E3] was very very short," he said. "Fable: The Journey is a Fable game, but using Kinect to play. Some people in the audience may think 'I don't need Kinect. I just want to sit down.' … That's just thinking of a negative." "What's the positive about Kinect?" he posed. "It can see you, and really do things we have never been able to do with the controller. First and foremost, the most important thing about Fable: The Journey is this: You can sit while you play it. If you want to jump up and play you can." Molyneux said he wants to create "the best, most involving Fable tale ever," one that makes you feel like you're inside the world in a way a handheld controller can't replicate. "The only thing that I, as a game designer, can see about you is your two thumbs. And that's a big problem," he said. "Getting your emotion from just these two thumbs isn't really what I, as a designer, imagine. I want you to be on the edge of your seat, I want you to cry, I want you to have a lump in your throat, I want you to remember this experience for the rest of your life." The horse and carriage segment shown at E3 is a critical part of this, he said. The horse "is going to have so much feeling for you. Just taking care of him, grooming him, and healing him, he's going to be like nothing you've seen in games before." The freedom of movement in the carriage will be a key point as well. "That simulation gives you the free momentum to go through the entire world," he said, adding that there would be some 300 square miles of space to explore. The off-rails play wasn't enabled in the E3, demo, but, he reiterated, "We have off-rails navigation, it works fine." One of the main areas the new Fable improves on, he feels, is magic. "I hate what controllers do to magic," said Molyneux. "They preordain what you can do with magic. And I want you to feel like you can do absolutely anything you like. We're going to give you the ability to weave magic like you've never done before." You can twist it, pull it, compress it, and so forth, then cast it by throwing out your hands. The team is using a lot of the tech from the early Kinect demo Milo to make the experience more immersive, Molyneux said. As much as he is happy to be working on Fable: The Journey, Molyneux also added that his preference is to do original work. "To be very honest with you, I'd always prefer not to work on a sequel," he said. "I'd rather work on something original, and go on that journey of creation." Molyneux said he wants to surprise people, rather than doing the same thing over and over. "Fable 3 suffered a bit from that," he admitted. "There's this thing called the Fable bible, with everything we've done in the Fable wold, and I said there's things we're going to take from this bible, and things we're going to leave behind, because I felt it was getting a bit old. I hate the idea that people know what to expect from Fable."

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