You’ve made Lionhead very sad

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FableTJ

Remember last year’s E3? Microsoft’s conference to be exact – where they demonstrated a bit of Fable: The Journey for Kinect and then the whole internet (including you!) said it looked like on-rails rubbish? Well you cut the Lionhead Team. You cut them real deep. Lionhead’s  creative director Gary Carr told CVG in a frank interview that all the negative reception to Fable: The Journey’s E3 demo really made the team quite sad.

“It destroyed them,” he said. “I think the studio took the criticisms to heart. You get very excited when something is very embryonic, and when you’re building something at its very early stages. For some reason, it wasn’t resonating with people. I think the presentation itself is partly to blame,” he added. “It looked a bit like some spammy shooter, but actually we were building this big world around it. Y’know, you have about two minutes and 45 seconds to demonstrate what you’re doing.”

Carr believes people felt that the demo, as presented failed to adequately  show the scope of the game – and left many feeling the series had been trivialised by the showing.

“I think we should have shown Fable The Journey further down the line. I think we should have had some press cover it beforehand, just so they could get a better feel of it,” he said. “Back in the studio we are building something more ambitious than we’ve ever done before.”

So, depressed as heck, the team went back to work – and has remained largely silent on the game for a year.

“I can’t really recall a time when we gave a game to the press and just left them to it. But we had to do it. By that stage, Fable The Journey wasn’t something we could have PRed, it wasn’t something that we could have promoted on its own, we just had to show it to people and let them decide for themselves,” Carr explained.. “Fortunately the response was really positive. I struggled to find people who said ‘no this is still shit’. I understand that people won’t love this game just by watching other people play it. You have to see it for yourself. That’s part of the challenge.”

The biggest problem most seem to have with the game is that it appears to be on-rails. interestingly – and stretching quite a bit – Carr says that Molyneux “it’s not on rails” rant was probably the wrong thing to do, because the game is on rails. In fact, according to Carr, every single game is on rails.

“Every single game is on-rails. I can score a fantastic goal on FIFA if I press certain buttons in the right order at the right time, that’s the rails bit,” he said. “Peter’s on-rails rant, if we should call it that, was him trying to hit back at the criticisms saying that it wasn’t on-rails. I think, if we had done this again, we would have just said, yeah, it’s on rails.”

The negative reception nearly made the team scrap the on-rails thing and attempt full body control – but in the end, the team opted to keep things as they were.

“Ultimately, the decision was, keep the faith. On-rails is actually necessary to make the game work really well,” Carr said.

Fable: The Journey’s coming in October and will be exclusive to Kinect. It’ll also be on rails.

Last Updated: July 17, 2012

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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