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Fable: The Journey Impression
06.13.2011

CHRIS PRIVITERE
PODCAST PRODUCER


Fable: The Journey

When showing his new game, Fable: The Journey, Peter Molyneux asked who had a Kinect and why many didn't. He focused on the response that there just weren't any good core games for it and noted that their goal with Fable: The Journey is to be that core game. Based on a demo after just eight months of development time, it looks like they at least have a chance to get some people interested.

The basic premise for how Lionhead Studios is going to get a Kinect game to appeal to core gamers is understanding that when people play games, they want to be lazy. Peter claims that his game is for the "lazy gamer." They don't want to spend hours petting a tiger or running in place or flailing their arms around. They want to sit on a couch and beat things up. Fortunately, that's exactly what Fable: The Journey is designed to let them do.

The basic mode of transportation in Fable: The Journey is the horse and carriage. A simple "click click" with the tongue or shake of the reins gets the horse moving and that's all there is to it. The cart now meanders down the lane, with further input needed only to make the horse stop or go faster. The horse will learn to respond to whatever is repeatedly yelled at it to go faster. Whether that's a simple "yah" or a more profanity laden command, Molyneux leaves the horse training to the user. A whip can also be used to make the horse go faster, and though it'll be more effective than the reins, the game will ensure a fair amount of guilt is attached to its use.

Fable: The Journey takes place just after Fable 3. The main character is not a Hero from the bloodline, hence why this isn't a numbered sequel, but Theresa is indeed in the game. She has lost her powers and needs the help of the game's lead in order to save the world. Fortunately, the star of this game is capable of using magic to aid Theresa due to the discovery of a special gauntlet.

Since this is a game played with the hands while sitting down, swords don't really make much sense. It's hard to be lazy while slashing a sword about like crazy. So magic is the main focus. When a group of enemies show up, the gamer has a choice. Spells can be casually flung one hand at a time, taking out creatures one a time or bigger spells can be formed with both hands. They can even be controlled after firing to ensure they reach their mark. Even more effort can be used to shape a bigger spell, gathering what look to be little magic dots on the screen, pushing them together, and forming a giant fireball to take down a group of foes in one shot.

Additionally, items can be crafted with magic. Confirmed to be craftable were a shield, a fishing rod, a telescope, and a big spear that can be lobbed at a faraway enemy to destroy it. But the cart owner's magic powers don't end there; a time slowing spell may also be employed. When used versus a boss, this can grant ample time to conjure up and launch many magical volleys and ensure the hero returns to the carriage without issue.

One important clarification that Peter made during the session was that the game is not on rails. RPGamers will be able to take the cart wherever a cart can sensibly go, get off and go explore on their own, as well as talk to and interact with the denizens of Albion. There is one major caveat though, stray too far from the cart, horse, and Theresa and danger may find them.

So how will the carriage driving mage get stronger? Life force may be drawn from any living creature that passes by, as well as glowing rocks along the road. Draw a small amount of life force from a puppy and it falls into a blissful sleep after helping the gamer grow stronger. But continue to draw life force and the puppy will perish. This seems to be the only way demonstrated to bring the morality choices the series is known for into the game.

One feature from the recent Fable games that will be missing entirely is co-op. There are currently no plans for it. But they are looking into a way for a friend sitting on the couch nearby to help out. Peter says they are investigating a way to let that friend hold the reins and control the horse while the other person deals with absorbing life force and killing enemies. No guarantees, but it'd be a way to let more people be involved with the game.

Fable: The Journey looks to be an interesting take on combining core gamer sensibilities with the unique control of magic spells that Kinect can provide. Molyneux hopes to finish the game in 2012 and provide a game that core gamers can really get behind and pick up a Kinect for. Might want to be careful about getting behind the horse though, it will relieve itself during the game, so watch out.



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