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E3: Molyneux on Fable: The Journey: “It’s not on rails”

Wednesday, 8 June 2011 20:00 GMT By Keza Macdonald

Peter’s latest looks a lot better in the flesh than it did in Microsoft’s presentation. Molyneux explains why he thinks it is “Kinect’s finest game.”


Fable: The Journey

Kinect title announced at Microsoft’s E3 conference.

Developed by Lionhead.

Slated for a 2012 release.

Is not on rails.

It is not on rails

Here’s the thing: Fable: The Journey is not on rails. Whilst presenting the game at Microsoft’s booth the day after its unveiling at Microsoft’s press conference, Molyneux said the words “not on rails” no less than sixteen times. The press conference demo doesn’t do it justice, he says – and that’s something he feels genuine frustration about.

“We begged for eight minutes, we only got 4, and it was really hard to get across what Fable: The Journey actually was,” says Molyneux. “We only had time to show a little bit of navigation and little bit of magic. A lot of people have written since that it’s Fable on rails – it’s NOT on rails. That is a definitive statement. Part of making a Fable experience is to give you a sense of freedom. We absolutely want that. You’re free to travel through Albion, taking 300-mile journeys, there are paths and hamlets and caves to explores – it’s not on rails.”

To show us that it’s not on rails, our demonstrator guides the horse off the path and onto an open field for a little while before pulling the reins and guiding it back. It’s a game about exploring that rich and beautiful world of Albion, not a sequence of combat sequences with basic horse interludes. For most of the game, says Molyneux, you’ll be either on the reins or in your wagon – the action comes to you.

The Keza MacDonald Horse Metric

Controlling the horse with reins was the most natural method of navigation that Lionhead could come up with, Peter says. “When Microsoft came to us and said go do a core game using Kinect, the first thing we did was ask ourselves, what is important to a core game? And one of the big problems is navigation. We did lots of experimentation with pointing and pushing gestures and jogging on the spot – all utter shit. And so we had this breakthrough where we set you on a horse and cart. That makes sense if you’re sitting down.”

I have a personal method of assessing games which I like to call the Keza MacDonald Horse Metric. Basically, the theory is that if a game has horses, it’s substantially more likely to be extremely good. Ocarina of Time: horse. Shadow of the Colossus: horse. Assassin’s Creed 2: horse. Red Dead Redemption: TONNES of horses. “We’ve got some great horse sweat technology, that should be reported on,” says Molyneux. Based on those criteria, then, Fable: The Journey is on the right track.

“We’ve got some great horse sweat technology that should be reported on.”

He’s vague about what you actually will get up to when you’re not riding the horse, though, stating that the on-rails magic displayed at the Microsoft presentation was not representative of the larger game. “There are not many points, if any in the game, where we’ll actually have this kind of action,” he says. “This was just crafted for E3.” He mentions a scenario where you’re being guided through the mountains by a sherpa, pointing to choose a path to the summit, but he insists that off-horse gameplay will be relatively rare.

Instead, most of the time, the action comes to you. Peter describes an interlude where you’re going through the woods when wolves start chasing and attacking you in your carriage, leaping at your horse and tearing at its flanks. Your horse spooks and run off, forcing you to wrestle it back under control, before a wheel comes off the carriage, knocking your passengers to the ground. The woods around you are full of wolves – so you’ve got to fend them off, heal your horse, protect your passengers and repair your wagon, all at once.

Creation and really good Kinect games

That intriguing magic system also isn’t restricted to special set-piece sections – you can use it anywhere, in combat, on the wagon or on foot. “This is like a toy. It’s a magical toy. Like magic plasticine in your hands,” says Molyneux. You activate crafting – drawing objects in the air with your hands – by essentially doing the mashed potato, and it’s not just spears that you can magically create from nothing.

“This creational side is really important,” asserts Molyneux. “You can create a telescope on a mountaintop. You can create a fishing rod and go fishing. Or a spear, a hammer. There are loads of things open to experiment with and you can use it at any time.”

“Whether you like it or not as gamers, controllers, good as they are, are under attack.”

Asked why so many vocal Internet commentators are responding to Microsoft’s third-generation Kinect titles with such open hostility, Molyneux is insightful. “I think it comes from the gamers inside of us saying ‘I love my controller, it’s my security blanket, I don’t want to give it up’,” he says.

“I understand that – until you play a really good Kinect game. I’d say the greatest Kinect game is Fable: The Journey. The reason I say that is because we’ve had two years of great experience with Kinect. If you really want to make games that will emotionally engage you, is finger and thumb really the way to do that?

“Whether you like it or not as gamers, controllers, good as they are, are under attack. There’s a lot of assault on the controller space. There’s everything to do with touch on screens and motion controllers, and us designers in the industry, we are excited about this new stuff. I know that controller-based gamers want more games like that, I love them as well, but there is a wonderful opportunity to here give something fresh and different.”

Fable: The Journey announcement trailer

When I asked Molyneux what his favourite launch title was, I was honestly expecting him to say Kinectimals, but that’s not the answer I get. “The best one for me and the best inspiration for The Journey was probably Dance Central,” he says, unexpectedly. “That’s the one I felt coolest in. Even I felt cool dancing. It’s about how you make people feel, that’s more important than anything else. That was inspirational.

“I loved the sports title and the party title as well, but like everyone else I want a game that will make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. That’s what the potential is here. I predict this time next year at E3, people will be saying completely different things about Kinect. It wasn’t that long ago we all thought that mobile games were rubbish.

“I kick myself when I think about showing this demo. What we should have shown is beautiful moments like when you’re healing the horse with your hands. You’ve not only for fireballs in your hands, you’ve got life force. It makes your heart sing.”

Fable: The Journey is slated for release in 2012.

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23 Comments

  1. minxamo

    Does he really expect anyone to believe a single word he says?

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Crab of Thunder

    I remain stubbornly skeptical, stubborn as a mual you might say, but not a god damn horse. :P

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Debabrata Nath

    I love this guy.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. KAP

    VG247 Says: Hi Peter, this new entry to Fable looks great. Is it on rails?
    Translates to: Hi Peter, we already know the answer to this but we want to believe it isnt on rails.

    Peter Molyneux Says: This new Fable isnt on rails.
    Translates to: Well of course it is.

    VG247 Says: Oh ok.
    Translates to: ………..

    Peter Molyneux can make a Fable Karts seem like Skyrim given a stage and 5minute to rant.

    My god, he wont quit.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. LOLshock94

    just like giant enemie crab

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Dralen

    The man needs to make something else, but they’re just as bad as Activision. Milk a franchise until it’s dust under your feet.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. BraveArse

    I’m a big PM fan, never understood the hate tbh. But I have to say, the phrases “it’s not on rails” and “the action comes to you” seem to be mutually exclusive.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Erthazus

    Man does not need to do something else. He needs to go away from the industry. Thats it.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Dralen

    He won’t go away though. So he might as well make something else.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Erthazus

    @9 of course he won’t. I just think he must go away. He is done in this industry.

    Fable 3 and this just shows that his vision is stale.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. Prof.Dr.Moertel

    I like actually like Molyneux. But…
    “It’s not on rails” – Even if that´s true – it still sucks!

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Moonwalker1982

    Not on rails? holy crap…..i was very impressed with this demo until it seemed like to be on rails. He keeps stressing it’s not. Hmmm…i wonder how we’re gonna walk then.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Kabby

    Someone send Molyneux into Space. He’s full of it and his games are terrible.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Mike

    Peter’s fucking awesome. He hasn’t let me down yet.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. Gadzooks!

    I love every game PM has made. He puts heart and humor in games where other devs just put swears, ham acting and emo characters.

    However, I will need to play a demo before I’m convinced this is worth buying. First time that has happened with a PM game for me.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. OrbitMonkey

    I think Peter made a good point about why some gamers have this intense hostility towards kinnect, I mean we’ve had the same basic input methods for decades, no wonder people are scared of change.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. Moonwalker1982

    Yeah i’m not gonna bash him. He seems like a cool dude to me too, but i do have to say he always promises alot for his games and while those features make it into the game, they just never feel as revolutionary as he makes them out to be. What i do apreciate about the guy is that he truly loves and cares about what he does, when he explains about his games he’s passionate as hell in terms of that…if that’s the right word.

    I actually really liked the showing of this game, until i got under the impression that it was on rails, which it now isn’t. Too bad we won’t have many on-foot stuff though.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. earlyrock

    So is this an actual full on new Fable then? The sub title make me think perhaps not.

    #18 4 years ago
  19. MariTrench

    Molyneux lying about it not being on rails? Seems like it was news to the dev team:
    http://lionhead.com/forums/t/304440.aspx?PageIndex=2

    #19 4 years ago
  20. Christopher Jack

    I like Molyneux but I think he all too often exaggerates the realistic potential of everything he tries & then he drifts the team away from the more important, core experience.
    Microsoft are forcing him & his team to make a core experience, that will be almost impossible without being on rails (doesn’t necessarily mean linear).
    I think that you could get away with a horror game based around QTEs (ala Heavy Rain) but that’s probably the best you could do & it wouldn’t take advantage of the 3D tracking-then again, many Kinect games really don’t & could be better played on any camera with a higher resolution.

    #20 4 years ago
  21. Ge0force

    #20 On rails games are arcade/casual, not core games. Fable 3 was optimized for 8yo kids because of the lack of challenge and depth, and this one seems even worse.

    #21 4 years ago
  22. Blasto

    Peter, here is what I think about your, ‘Keza MacDonald Horse Metric’:

    http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b27/soggyweed1/gregordoeshisthing.gif

    #22 4 years ago
  23. SamJ

    With a track record of not following through on promises to the media, doesn’t seem like we have much reason believe all the claims here.

    #23 4 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    You’re not hitting heists for the good of your health. Here’s how to max cash rewards. Money. GTA Online players love it. Greenbacks are the core of the entire experience, allowing you to buy the best weapons, vehicles and stupid haircuts. Heists, as promised, gives more opportunities than ever to earn serious cash, but once […]

  • PlayStation 4 firmware update 2.50 coming tomorrow

    PlayStation 4 firmware 2.50, codenamed Yukimura, is due for release tomorrow, March 26. Firmware update 2.50 for PlayStation 4 will be launching tomorrow, March 26, Sony has announced. Codenamed Yukimura, the system update is promised to bring suspend/resume feature, trophy sync improvements, accessibility options, and much more. 2.50 has been in beta testing a while […]

  • GTA 5 Online Heists guide: adversary modes, daily objectives, free roam challenges and more

    Heists aren’t the only addition in GTA Online’s latest DLC – there’s a lot of content that can earn you big RP and cash payouts. GTA 5 Online Heists guide: adversary modes, daily objectives, free roam challenges While heists are the talking point and big payoff after more than a year of waiting, there’s a […]

  • Battlefield Hardline: what’s the best Police sniper rifle?

    What’s the best bolt-action, Police sniper rifle for the Professional class in Battlefield Hardline? Let us help you answer that question. As you’re probably aware, Battlefield Hardline weapons are class specific and faction specific. This makes deciding on a good weapon and loadout much harder than it was in Battlefield 4. Which is where Westie […]

  • Evolve 1.3 patch nerfs Wraith, adjusts Kraken

    Evolve is receiving a new patch that aims to put an end to the Wraith’s dominance. Evolve developer Turtle Rock outlined a few of the changes coming in patch 1.3. The patch brings balance changes to the monsters – mainly the Wraith – as well as other various changes to Hunters’ tools based on player […]

  • Bloodborne: watch the opening 40 minutes

    The opening minutes of Bloodborne really do set the stage for what’s to come. They’ll also help you decide if this game is for you. Arekkz Gaming has captured the first 40 minutes of Bloodborne. Complete with the opening cutscene, and the first few obstacles you’ll face. The video is commentary free, so wear headphones […]

  • YouTube will relaunch livestreaming service with focus on eSports and gaming – report

    According to industry sources, Google is preparing to relaunch YouTube’s livestreaming service with a focus on eSports and gaming. According to anonymous sources speaking to TheDailyDot, Google is planning to bring back YouTube’s livestreaming service. The company is said to have started recruiting around 50 engineers with experience in the field, “a pretty big statement […]

  • I think I’m too old for Final Fantasy 15

    Final Fantasy 15 was nine years in the making – and counting. Are we the same people we were in 2006? Final Fantasy 15: Episode Duscae A demo available for PS4 and Xbox One. Offers a couple of hours of gameplay. More if you jump over the borders. Bundled with Final Fantasy 15 Type-0 and […]

  • New multiplayer mode for Splatoon announced

    Nintendo has sent over three screenshots for Splatoon along with information on the Wii U another of the title’s multiplayer modes. Called Ranked Battle, it keeps track of each player’s online ranking. Splat Zones is one of the additional ways to play online in this mode. It differs from Turf War, which is the main […]

  • 2015 WoW Arena World Championship has a $250,000 prize pool

    Blizzard has announced the WoW Arena World Championship will culminate at BlizzCon 2015. World of Warcraft 3v3 Arena teams from around the globe will compete for spot at the 2015 WoW Arena World Championship and for a share in the $250,000 prize pool. Online qualifiers will be held for North America, Southeast Asia, Australia, New […]

  • The Crew two-hour demo now available in US, tomorrow in the UK

    Ubisoft has announced a free trial of its driving MMO The Crew will be available tomorrow, March 25 in the UK. It’s live today in North America. For current players, the Vintage Car Pack and Vintage Live Update, including a new PvP mode, are now available. The Vintage Car Pack included the Chevrolet Corvette C2 […]

  • Minecraft Mass Effect Mash-Up and Pattern Texture Pack out from today

    A Mass Effect Mash-up pack and the Pattern Texture Pack will release on PlayStation 3, PS4 and Vita today in North America and tomorrow in Europe. The Pattern Texture Pack is also available for Xbox consoles today. The Mass Effect Mash-Up pack contains the Mars Facility from Mass Effect 3 plus textures and craftable items […]

  • The Talos Principle expansion pack Road to Gehenna announced

    An expansion for The Talos Principle has been announced titled Road to Gehenna. The expansion follows the narrative of Uriel, Elohim’s messenger, as he explores a “strange, hidden part of the simulation” on a mission of “mercy and redemption.” Uriel is attempting to free the souls of the damned “at all costs.” Road to Gehenna […]

  • Twitch Plays Pokemon finally catches ‘em all – even the rare Mewtwo

    Twitch Plays Pokemon players have captured all 151 original Pokemon which were included in a modified version of Pokemon Red, and this includes the rare Mewtwo. It took 39 days for Twitch players to catch ‘em all. Have a look at the impressive feat for yourself below. Thanks, Polygon.

  • GameStop will have limited units of Majora’s Mask New 3DS XL back in stock

    Those who missed out on the Limited Edition Majora’s Mask New 3DS XL will have another opportunity to purchase it outside of eBay. Tomorrow only, GameStop stores in the United States will have four units in stock, according to and internal memo sent to Kotaku. This is every store in the country, and again, only […]

  • Second phase of Fortnite closed Alpha launches today

    Fortnite’s second closed Alpha test will go live this afternoon, according to the official website. Those currently participating will have until April 14 to test the online aspects for 12 hours per day (noon -12am EDT). All progress from the previous Alpha test will be wiped, and other changes are listed in the patch notes. […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition: Jaws of Hakkon out now on PC, Xbox One

    As promised yesterday, the single-player DLC for Dragon Age: Inquisition, Jaws of Hakkon, is now available on PC and Xbox One. It will run you or £11.99 or your regional equivalent. The new content expands the land of Thedas with mountainous regions and forests, and it is full of “vicious enemies.” Players will also be […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare trailer shows Ascendance gameplay

    Activision has released a new gamepay trailer for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare to support the Ascendance DLC which releases next week. Ascendance, will release first on Xbox consoles March 31 and includes the next chapter of the Exo Zombies Saga, Infected, along with four new multiplayer maps: Perplex, Site 244, Climate and Chop Shop. […]

  • Batman: Arkham Knight will be a digital only release on PC – report

    It appears Batman: Arkham Knight will not see a physical release on PC, according to ShopTo. The retailer was told by its buyer the Rocksteady game will only be released on PC in digital form. ShopTo is currently double checking the information. If accurate, it is unknown if this will be case in North America […]

  • Bloodborne patch focusing on load times, performance optimizations in the works

    A patch for Bloodborne which will address load times is in the works, Sony has said The load times were one of the issues noted in Digital Foundry’s report on the From Software title. Sony told Eurogamer the patch would also explore other issues as well. “The development team is currently exploring another patch for […]

  • Gearbox would “love” to have entire Borderlands collection on current-gen

    An Xbox One and PlayStation 4 version of the original Borderlands game is something Gearbox Software is interested in, according to studio boss Randy Pitchford. Speaking in the latest Major Nelson podcast, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford said should Borderlands: The Handsome Collection prove successful, 2K Games might consider a current-gen version. “The fact that The […]

  • Wolfenstein: The Old Blood artwork shows the catacombs, dock, more

    Over the weekend we posted Wolfenstein: The Old Blood artwork along with news of a retail release in Europe. Today, we have better quality images of said artwork to share with you. Enjoy. The standalone prequel will be released digitally on May 5 on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in North America, and digitally on […]

  • Slender: The Arrival terrorizes PS4 and Xbox One this week

    In case you forgot, what with Bloodborne out today and other high profile releases of late, Slender: The Arrival is out today on PlayStation 4 in North America. The scary game will arrive on Xbox One tomorrow, March 25, and in Europe on PS4. Slender: The Arrival is an expansion on the original Slender game […]

  • World of Warcraft’s WoW Token rollout slated after launch of patch 6.1.2

    Blizzard has announced it will start rollout its WoW Token option in the weeks following the launch of patch 6.1.2 on March 24. WoW Token allows players to exchange in-game gold for game time and vice versa. Blizzard will release WoW Token first in realms serving North America, Oceania, and Latin America and will expand […]

  • The Evil Within: The Consequence dated for April, teaser video released

    Part 2 of Juli Kidman’s adventure in The Evil Within will arrive next month with the release of The Consequence. Above is a brief teaser showing some of the “madness” Kidman will encounter. The Consequence will arrive on Tuesday, April 21 on PC, PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One. European PlayStation players will […]

  • Bloodborne sometimes “struggles to run at a smooth frame-rate” per performance analysis

    Bloodborne has been analyzed by Digital Foundry and according to the report, even with a 30fps cap the game sometimes “struggles to run at a smooth frame-rate.” The game’s day-one 2.69GB update 1.01 is “essential” as it contains improvements to game performance and stability and the frame-rate tests run by Digital Foundry were in single-player […]

  • Borderlands: The Handsome Collection reviews round-up

    Borderlands: The Handsome Collection reviews are out in the wild so we decided to catch a few of them for you. Borderlands: The Handsome Collection is out today on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The collection packages Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel along with each game’s DLC content on one disc. Better graphics and […]

  • Evolve, Forza Horizon 2, WWE 2K15 are this week’s Deals with Gold

    Evolve, Forza 2 Horizon and WWE 2K15 are just some of the games which are part of this week’s Xbox Deals with Gold. You can also pick up the Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Pro Edition for 20% off as well as the standard edition for 33% off. For the Xbox 360 crowd, there’s also […]

  • Xbox 360 2015 Spring Value bundles now available starting at $250

    Microsoft is offering a discount on three Xbox 360 bundles with prices starting at $250. The Xbox 360 2015 Spring Value bundles feature various content such as a Kinect, 500GB console bundle and one month of Xbox Live Gold. Xbox 360 500GB Spring Value Bundle: comes with Plants vs. Zombies Garden Warfare download and Fable […]

  • Rainbow Six Siege beta sign ups now open

    Ubisoft is letting everyone register for the upcoming Rainbow Six Siege closed beta. Rainbow Six Siege is due for a closed beta sometime this year. Ubisoft has opened registration to everyone. All you need to do is enter your preferred platform and log in using your Uplay account. You will be entered into a waiting […]

  • Advanced Warfare: Exo Zombies map Infection is creepy

    The upcoming chapter in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare’s Exo Zombies mode is called ‘Infection’ and Activision has been slowly revealing bits and pieces about it. A few teasers have been dropping ahead of Ascendance launch this month. The teasers are about the second episode in the Exo Zombie story, Infection. First off, the map. […]

  • This is the Bloodborne press kit in all its glory

    Bloodborne is a gorgeous game so it’s only fitting that the press kit it came in is a reflection of that. The pictures capture the many amazing bits of the Bloodborne press kit. A press kit is what’s usually sent to the reviewers alongside the review copy. They’re usually very ornate and almost all of […]

  • This Hearthstone turn is taking over 40 hours and you can watch it happen

    A very smart Hearthstone player has rigged his game to make one turn take over 40 hours, and it has been going for over 22 already. Hearthstone player Mamytwink set up a game against his friend to try and achieve the record for the longest turn in Hearthstone ever. Basically, Mamytwink set the game up […]

  • The Witcher 3: Geralt’s beard grows over time, but not Gandalf-long

    The beard of The Witcher 3 protagonist Geralt will grow over time, but you can trim it if you choose to. As part of a recently published impressions piece by German magazine Gamestar (translated by NeoGAF), The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt developers revealed that Geralt’s beard will in fact grow over time. Not content with […]

  • Sony mistakenly abandons Bloodborne trademark in the US

    The administration side of Sony Computer Entertainment has not been in the best of shapes recently. Sony has abandoned four game trademarks yesterday, one of which is for Bloodborne. The trademarks were all registered with US Patent and Trademark Office. All of the games trademarks pertain to unreleased games and Sony would’ve had to either […]

  • Payday 2 will be supported until 2017

    Payday 2 developer has announced that it will continue to support the game for the next two years. Payday 2 developer Overkill has revealed today that it’s planning to support the game until 2017. What this means is that more free content as well as paid DLC are in the works for release later. Payday […]

  • These are the top Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare weapons, according to the developer

    Based on their overall kill-to-death ratio, what are the best guns in Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare? Developer Sledgehammer reveals the top 5. Sledgehammer’s Michael Condrey has revealed on Twitter the top 5 weapons in Advanced Warfare based on their overall kill-to-death ratio. Here’s the list: ARX-160 – Hole Puncher Ameli – Heavy HBRa3 – […]

  • H1Z1 has sold more than 1 million copies

    H1Z1 has already sold over 1 million copies on Steam. H1Z1 may still be in Early Access on Steam, but it has already sold more than 1 million copies. Daybreak president John Smedley announced on Twitter earlier. H1Z1 launched in January and instantly became a hit. The game has consistently been on Steam’s top 10 […]