Ever since its unveiling, Peter Molyneux - the outspoken creator of Syndicate, Black and White and Fable among others - has been a staunch supporter of Microsoft's controller-free peripheral, Kinect. He and the chaps at Lionhead fought desperately to squeeze Kinect support into last year's Fable 3, although ultimately had to settle for a spin-off title, The Journey, which can only be controlled via Kinect tracking your arm and hand movements. However, in an interview Gaming Union, Molyneux expressed some misgivings with Microsoft's record-breaking device.
"I'll admit that Kinect has got some problems," said Molyneux. He explained Fable The Journey came about when Microsoft approached Lionhead, asking them to develop a Kinect game for their core audience. And while Molyneux found the prospect of a Kinect-only title exciting, he confessed some initial reservations. "As an input device it has some real problems. Without a thumb stick, navigation is a real problem. You haven't got any buttons, so ordering the player to do something can be somewhat of a problem".
However, while breaking free of the established methods of control proved difficult, Molyneux explains that Kinect's unique strengths offer a "great sense of freedom and emotion". He then addressed concern over Fable The Journey being an on-the-rails adventure; a matter Molyneux has denied time and time again since the game's unveiling.
"It's not on-rails!" he exclaims, before admitting the demo shown at Microsoft's conference was more controlled than he would have liked. He and his team weren't afforded enough time on-stage to properly demonstrate the extent of freedom offered in The Journey. "Why would we ever make a Fable game that was on-rails? Fable is all about freedom. Not only freedom to go where you like, it's freedom to be who you like. Fable: The Journey definitely, 100% has to encompass that".
Molyneux then moved on to his enthusiastic boasting he's notorious for. He revealed your horse and carriage is very important, it's your players home and the home of many others traveling, so leaving it behind to go exploring threatens their safety. The horse itself can be controlled via speech, as it'll learn vocal commands ranging from "move on" to "move on you old nag bastard". Your horse can and will be attacked, and Molyneux promises emotional moments where your injured steed, no longer able to ride, will come to rest by the carriage as your enemies swarm about you. You can soothe it with voice commands, or simply summon a magical whip and try to get it going again.
We were all a little perturbed by Fable The Journey when it was first unveiled. It looked rough, very un-Fable and decidedly on-the-rails. But if the guys at Lionhead can pull off what Molyneux is promising - how many times have we hoped for that - it could be a very, very interesting experience, indeed. [Gaming Union]