Is Fable's creator done with physical controllers?

The Kinect-enabled Fable: The Journey makes its creator, Peter Molyneux, contemplate a future without buttons.

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Less than a year ago, Lionhead Studios boss Peter Molyneux made headlines when he dared to acknowledge that "Kinect has got some problems." During a recent demo of Fable: The Journey, though, the celebrated designer stated that he "might never make games for a conventional controller again." Always good for a quote, the celebrated game designer was talking to us as we played through a demo of the upcoming Fable Kinect game.

The demo kicked off with a look at Fable: The Journey's hero, who really isn't a "hero" at all. Gabriel is a simple fellow who, having lost his tribe, is traveling in search of them with his horse when he encounters Fable series regular Theresa. What Gabriel becomes embroiled in as a result of that meeting is anyone's guess at this point, but it's clear from the several short sequences we played through that his life gets a lot more complicated. Fortunately, the same doesn't appear to be true for the game's controls.

After sitting down in front of Fable: The Journey we were given little in the way of instruction before taking the reins. Molyneux clearly takes great pride in the fact that folks are able to pick up the game and start playing without needing a tutorial, but by the same token there were several occasions during our demo that he felt compelled to explain things. We had no problem figuring out how to move our hands as if we were holding reins and using them to control the horse's direction and speed, but it didn't occur to us that we should either slow to a walk or accelerate to a gallop when we entered an area with enemy archers, for example. And even after those courses of action were suggested to us, the imprecise controls that are a feature of so many Kinect games made it difficult to act on them. As a result, our equine companion was hit with a couple of arrows.

Pulling over to the side of the road once we were past the archers, we were standing alongside the horse in the next sequence and using intuitive gestures to look after it. Removing the arrows was as easy as reaching for them and pulling them out, while other cuts and such that the horse sustained were dealt with simply by rubbing them with our hand. The horse's flank filled the screen at this point, so we weren't really able to get any sense of how well we were doing, whether or not it was in pain, or anything like that. We're told that, much like the dog in Fable II, the horse in The Journey will look and behave differently depending on your actions, but we didn't see any evidence of that during the demo. Aside from a couple of forks in roads and some assurances from Molyneux, we also didn't get a sense that The Journey will be nearly as big on choices as previous Fable games.

When we weren't interacting with the horse, our time in the Fable: The Journey demo was spent manipulating magic. We were still able to play the game sitting down, and every gesture we could conjure up seemed to result in a satisfyingly appropriate spell being cast. Depending on the way that we moved our right hand, we were able to throw fireballs of different sizes and at different speeds, and even exercise some control over them mid-flight. Merely flicking our wrists was movement enough to get the job done, but more powerful spells were cast when me made bigger movements, used both hands, or let the magic energy sit in the palm of our hand for a moment before throwing it. Small swarms of flying insects were the only enemies that we got to try the magic out on for much of the demo, and they didn't pose much of a challenge. That definitely changed toward the end of our demo, though, when a balverine showed up.

Unlike the insects, which flew straight for us with no apparent sense of self-preservation, the balverine was jumping between some columns and was clearly reacting to avoid our magic projectiles. After watching us shoot and miss for a minute or so, Molyneux suggested that we bring our left hand into play and, as we did just that, it appeared to be holding some sort of octopus made of magical energy. It wasn't immediately apparent what we were supposed to do with it, but when we were told to flick its tentacles out like a whip, we had no problem doing just that, and bringing one of the columns that the balverine had been jumping between down on top of it.

And with that, the playable portion of our demo came to an end. There was time for another quick encounter with Theresa though when, while watching a trailer for Fable: The Journey, we saw a doll of the character being found inside a treasure chest. Finding character dolls will unlock those characters for play in the just-announced Fable Heroes Xbox Live Arcade game.

Both Fable: The Journey and Fable Heroes are scheduled for release later this year. We look forward to bringing you more information on both games in the coming weeks.

Discussion

61 comments
WelcomingTick
WelcomingTick

i will never buy it if it is kenict and i will tell all my friends its the worst game i have ever seen i think its a very bad idea for older gamers that we like to sit down and relax after moving and working a labour job all day i am really not a fan of this idea or who ever made this idea so not happpy a very big fable fan for a very long time but if they never make it again i wil be very very unhappy

Doomluap
Doomluap

Looks promising my only concern might be the amount of physical exertion that might be required in a tough Boss Battle. While i am in excellant condition i am also not 19 anymore. I tend to play for extended periods of time and wonder about the amount of physicality required over this time period.

mhaed
mhaed

See ya later Fable.

oldschool12790
oldschool12790

I would definitely rather play a Fable 4 or something for the console without the Kinect. I don't even own a connect because I don't know one game that would interest me. I have a feeling this might be a dud.

Mawy_Golomb
Mawy_Golomb

I think that Michael Pachter made a good point about how it's rather unlikely that all 360 and PS3 games will become compatible with the PS Move or the Kinect; first of all, changing around a lot of the controls for the PS Move would take a long time. Second, there isn't a whole lot of neat stuff to do with the Kinect for most titles. What, should it be used for simple tasks like "Game Pause," "Game Resume?" Even that is pointless when it's so much faster using buttons on a control for options like that.

That said, it's neither fair to rule out motion controllers, nor is it fair to say that controllers should cease to exist; for one thing, having both accessories ensures that consumers have plenty of options; second, it allows game developers to also have more options, meaning that innovation will move more smoothly this way.

Sure, motion controllers may be at their very infancy now, but they definitely have their place in some genres of games (i.e.music games, as just one example). The future should hold a better balance between traditional control schemes and motion controls.

Mawy_Golomb
Mawy_Golomb

I think that Michael Pachter made a good point about how it's rather unlikely that all 360 and PS3 games will become compatible with the PS Move or the Kinect; first of all, changing around a lot of the controls for the PS Move would take a long time. Second, there isn't a whole lot of neat stuff to do with the Kinect for most titles. What, should it be used for simple tasks like "Game Pause," "Game Resume?" Even that is pointless when it's so much faster using buttons on a control for options like that. That said, it's neither fair to rule out motion controllers, nor is it fair to say that controllers should cease to exist; for one thing, having both accessories ensures that consumers have plenty of options; second, it allows game developers to also have more options, meaning that innovation will move more smoothly this way. Sure, motion controllers may be at their very infancy now, but they definitely have their place in some genres of games (i.e.music games, as just one example). The future should hold a better balance between traditional control schemes and motion controls.

Shamwownow212
Shamwownow212

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

spikepigeo
spikepigeo

Oh Peter, why are you wasting time with this once great, recently wrecked (now destroyed) series? Make a new Black & White already!

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

Imagine a world where you watch TV without a remote, and you have to shout at the screen to get it to change channels! :|

DAMSOG
DAMSOG

smart move really.....take away the controller so you have nothing to throw when you realize you wasted more money on another craptacular fable game.

Albaficas
Albaficas

this french guy talk too much.....big talks...big promises ALL THE TIME I still remember what he told about fable 3....and at the end it was a pile of crap game . I dont expect much about this game...and if he will make this game kinect only expect this game to flop big time.

Nosoor
Nosoor

i liked the old fable long simple good detailed and so lovely the later ones were heh not bad not good but not like the 1st one the story was weak and graphs were complicated

mitreviewer
mitreviewer

i wonder why is this a new thing they announced this game a while back in that game centre place

keyb0red
keyb0red

Last thing I want to do after a 10 hour work day, flopped down on the sofa with a nice cold beer, is having to stand up and spend 5 hours gesturing and kicking my way through a story. Just cant see that happening. Sorry Peter, but gamers are (generally) lazy people

iluvOP
iluvOP

Fable games have gone dowhill all the time. Really how low can they get?

AbsoluteSorrow
AbsoluteSorrow

I am not going to buy Fable: The Journey or any other fable game that uses kinect. I can name at least 50 people that agree with me.

Smokescreened84
Smokescreened84

No thanks. On rails, male lead only, hack 'em and shoot 'em, no choices, Kinect only - No thanks at all. Guess I'll skip this one, Fable Heroes doesn't attract my attention much either. I was hoping for a Fable 4 with an attempt at a Wild West angle with new areas and a new land to fully explore.

Phil-teh-Pirate
Phil-teh-Pirate

Ah what I've always wanted! A next gen pet pony sim! Just what everyone spent 120 quid for!

drknessfeeds
drknessfeeds

I like the Fable games, although they seem more of an update than actual stand alone games. But the fact that this is kinect only has me put off completely. will be passing on this game.

anticusho1984
anticusho1984

despite must of kinect games have issues I would like to see a game that actually works, maybe this could be the one, and I know everybody wants to play a good fable like the first release but maybe the franchise is going down because nothing new is being added. so this will change the game, if they do it right of course

projectpat72988
projectpat72988

This could work. If they plan on selling 1/4th of Fable 2 and 3 combined.

MJ12-Conspiracy
MJ12-Conspiracy

Here Lies Fable Franchise 2004-2010 Died with no arm and no legs.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

If he says it you can go ahead and assume he'll do something else. There will now be nothing but controllers for Fable.

firehawk998
firehawk998

I believe that Peter is right here. The Fable series has become so dumbed down sequel after sequel I truly believe that in Fable 4 all you need to do is wave your arm the entire game plays itself and finishes it for you.

BPoole96
BPoole96

Am I done with Peter Molyneux's lies and BS? Yes

Nic345
Nic345

Interesting article. In the very least I'll look up a video on this game but as much as I like Fable I can't justify picking up kinect for this game. Also as many have pointed out before me waving your arms around, especially in game like this, is just silly or complicated.

IceJester45
IceJester45

At this point, I don't really care what Lionhead does. I learned years ago not to expect much from Lionhead games. If the studio manages to make this game playable and fun, that's all that matters. I'd take a fine rail shooter over another good, but not great, RPG any day.

mickyfinn84
mickyfinn84

When the journey sells about 20 copies, he'll hopefully wake up and start listening to the fans. I doubt anyone wanted this apart from Microsoft.

Shawshoe
Shawshoe

If I want to wave my arms around like an idiot I'll just set myself on fire. Gimme gimme buttons. And shock treatment.

sexyweapons
sexyweapons

Personally I would have wanted a more traditional Fable game as I find with all Kinect games the sometimes imprecise controls and surprisingly I always find it hard to connect or form any bond with the character as the poor responses to my actions always have away of breaking my immersion

Majkic666
Majkic666

fable with no buttons = dead

Fursnake
Fursnake

Wow, another Fable game? Hasn't this franchise played itself out already? And Pete...Pete, Pete, Pete...get over the obsession with motion controls already. It won't make the Fable games any better.

KristoffBrujah
KristoffBrujah

No one cares about Peter Molywhatever. He's a master marketer but rarely delivers on the hype.

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

We're told hardcore touch gaming has a future because tablets are "in" now apparently and companies will tell us anything if it means they can take our money.

naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

If the creator of Fable tries to leave behind buttons, he might as well leave behind his bank details as well. Hardcore touchscreening has no mass future/audience. Buttons will be left behind when something really, really amazing comes along. Not now. This clearly isn't it.

jesuschristmonk
jesuschristmonk

Here's the plan: NOBODY BUY THIS WHATSOEVER, then maybe they'll actually listen to us and actually make another GOOD game.

painpas
painpas

Poor Molyneux. Just quit Mr. Molyneux you can get another job or publisher. This is a total waste of talent.

ParisSun
ParisSun

Do people still listen to Peter? I gave up on this guy after Fable 2.

jonasas2
jonasas2

meh i gave up on fable after fable3. FABLE SERIES WILL NEVER LIVE UP TO LOST CHAPTERS!

DawnForMe
DawnForMe

Wow this game will be sh*t. Thanks to the sh*ty developer idea...

grand17
grand17

wow that sounds stupid, i sure hope girls want to play fable cause i doubt any guy wants to play a kinect rpg

adamomars
adamomars

I played the first, it was freakin great. Just, a really fine game. Then I played the second, and i didnt think too much of it. Never played the third, and dont plan onplaying any of this crap, because these game never live up to what there hyped to be. Kinect is stupid, wtf would i want to be jumpin around in my living room, when i just want to relad and game. That said, cheesy games+ crappy controls = an uncomfertable waste of time.

mhaed
mhaed

Wow, I guess Peter Molyneux really doesn't care about his fans...

supertom221
supertom221

Is this the same Lionhead that made Black & White? How the mighty have fallen.... "IS Fable's creator done with buttons" Most likely. "Is Supertom221 done with Fable?" YUP.