Wednesday, 6 July 2011

What is Fable: The Journey?

Fable: The Journey was announced at E3 last month, with a demo and trailer to boot. I, like perhaps many Fable fans, was a little disappointed at the new direction Lionhead Studios has opted to take, but Fable boss Peter Molyneux has disputed critics claims of Fable: The Journey being an "on-the-rails" game. So, what exactly is it?

Whilst Molyneux may dislike claims of this latest Fable adventure as being "on-the-rails", the demo at E3 felt exactly like something from this genre. Part of the charm of the Fable series was the RPG aspects, the delightful world of Albion, and the ability to "choose" the heroes path. Unfortunately, Fable: The Journey has already come under criticism from a large proportion of the fan base, who have witnessed the demo unveiled at E3. The demo appears to have scrapped the usual Fable game play for something more Kinect orientated. Players will be encouraged to ditch their Xbox controllers to become the controller themselves. The demo featured sections where the player conjured up spells by waving their hands. Whilst I admit that this looked somewhat magical, sadly the true essence of Fable seemed to be missing from this demo.

One of the nice touches to Fable and it's two sequels was the ability to customise your hero in whichever way you please. I have always enjoyed making my hero look a little ridiculous, to add some more humour into the proceedings. However, if the demo is correct, it appears that this may not happen in Fable: The Journey, as the camera, for the most part, will be first person.

Knowing that details at this time are very sparse, I do not want to criticise this game too much. As I have previously mentioned, I have highly enjoyed playing the previous three games in the series, despite the glitches and flaws. However, by bringing Fable onto the Kinect, already, game play will be changing. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. Change can be a good thing, it makes tired franchises more refreshing, so maybe this change will work in Lionhead Studio's favour. 
After following this series for a few years now, I am fully aware of the promises that Peter Molyneux makes. Sadly, not all of these promises make it into the games (horse-riding anyone?), so what is going to happen with Fable: The Journey? Well, so far it Molyneux has confirmed that this game will not follow the usual Fable bloodline. You will be playing a completely different character (not the hero), who is trying to escape from the dangers that lurk at Albion this time around. He also stated that this game will be about freedom, although this is slightly contradictory, as much of Fable: The Journey will be viewed from the drivers seat of a horse-drawn carriage. The Kinect's voice activation ability will be incorporated here, such as commanding the horse to "stop" and "start", and the game will be controlled by your body movements, which the Kinect sensor will register. Weapon customisation, introduced in Fable III, appears to be making a return here too.

Those who do not own a Kinect, or dislike this type of gaming, fear not. Molyneux has mentioned that a follow-up to Fable III is currently in the works, but this will probably not be for some time yet. It appears that Fable: The Journey is what he is trying to push to the public right now. I anticipate new news on this game, as although I remain somewhat sceptical, as a Fable fan, I am finding myself very intrigued by it. Perhaps a better demo and more information may help many of us make more sense of what Fable: The Journey is going to be exactly. Until then, the mystery and the divided opinions will most definitely continue.

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