Fable: The Journey Could Be A Hit or Miss

Fable: The Journey is the next title in the Xbox exclusive series. This will be a departure for fans of the Fable series as the gameplay is entirely gesture centric, using your body as the controller using Microsoft’s new motion capture accessory, Kinect. Once again this title is developed by Lionhead Studios (Fable 1-3, Black and White) headed by the infamous Peter Molyneux. Molyneux is famous for overhyping his games and not delivering. He stood true to this claim once again this year when he claimed “I'd say that the greatest Kinect game is probably Fable: The Journey”

I had a very mixed reaction to the demo as presented in Microsoft’s keynote presentation at E3. You saw a player using his hands much like they were a water or firebender from “Avatar the Last Airbender.” You can wave your hands in front of you to craft and use your own spells. This was very appealing to me. Up until you walked from one area to another in which case it became apparent the game was ‘on rails’ like an old school arcade shooter. That just ruined the game for me and lowered my excitement to crossed arms.

In a few follow-up interviews Peter Molyneux claimed he made a ‘massive mistake’ by not showing any navigation. Peter Molyneux on Fable Journey “on rails”:

“The demo that we gave at the press screening looked like it was on rails because you can’t afford any screw ups when you’re on a press demo but this is the opposite of on rails, this is the most free you’ve ever been in any fable game. You’re free to take the horse and explore anywhere you’d like to go, and go on different paths, and go across planes, you’re free to stop your carriage at any point and make camp, you’re free to wonder around the land but don’t go too far away from your horse and carriage because bad things will happen”

Even this statement scares me, because I know Peter Molyneux’s history and I’m convinced the game IS on rails, broken up between areas which you can ride a horse around. I’m convinced whenever you step off the horse you’re thrown into an on rails experience, because I can’t possibly imagine how you’d control walking using only the Kinect. If this is the case Fable: The Journey will not be the breakthrough game for hardcore gamers we’ve been waiting for on the Kinect, but will be a more arcade experience.

I, however, am still going to buy it. I’ve actually already preordered it. I geek out enough in my imagination and pretend I’m crafting spells, only to have onlookers look at me like I have two heads. Hopefully doing the same thing with this game in front of me won’t give me the same reaction.