Designing Fable: The Journey

Develop 2011: Fable: The Journey will be a more family-friendly entry into the franchise, with a revamped visual style that explores the less-familiar fringes of Albion.

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Who was there: Tak Sato, lead artist at Lionhead studios.

What he talked about: Sato started by talking about the thinking behind the development of Fable: The Journey. The studio saw the need for a Kinect game that would appeal to core gamers as well as the more traditional family audience and thought that Fable was a good fit. "Revamping the fable visual style" to appeal to both family and core audiences was key to this, Sato said. This meant maintaining the British aesthetic, as well as its graphical chunkiness and some of the dark humour the series is known for.

The Fable art team is very proud of its horse.
The Fable art team is very proud of its horse.

The look of Fable: The Journey will be defined as "a heightened reality, a world full of visual drama as seen through the eyes of a naive young adventurer," said Sato, quoting Lionhead's art director's edict. This naive young adventurer is the hero of The Journey, a young member of a nomadic tribe who is trying to rejoin his friends and family after being separated from them.

The Journey will be set in "the less familiar fringes of Albion," which draws its inspiration from primitive and rural 18th-century Britain. This included the Scottish highlands, Yorkshire moorland, Irish bogs, and thick woods, Sato said.

However, Sato also revealed that part of the ethos for The Journey involved making a lighter Fable experience than the main games. As well as changing the visuals, this will result in a reduction of the black, adult humour that has traditionally featured heavily in the series.

Sato also offered a few details about one of The Journey's other main characters--your horse. The Shire horse provided the inspiration for its visual design, Sato said. Getting the horse right is important, Sato said, because "in this game you're looking at this horse all the time."

Takeaway: Fable: The Journey will be a lighter and more accessible experience than previous Fable games. It's being aimed at a broader audience than before, affecting every level of its development.

Quote: "I could look at this horse for hours. Which is a good thing, because in this game you're going to be looking at this horse all the time."

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