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Fable: The Journey not an on-rails game, Peter Molyneux says

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The big push for Microsoft during this year’s E3 press conference was the Kinect and its usefulness as a gaming peripheral. The tech itself, which launched last November, is solid, but there’s not been much to do with it beyond a voice-controlled Xbox 360 dashboard and the handful of launch games. One of the more promising titles revealed during the MS presser for serious gamers was Fable: The Journey, a game set in the fantasy universe created by Peter Molyneux and Lionhead Studios. Although the demo that screened last Monday showed what appeared to be an on-rails experience, Molyneux later noted in an interview that this is not actually the case.

The demo shown at E3 unfolded from a first-person perspective, with the main character moving through a wooded environment and blasting Hobbes — the fable equivalent of orcs/goblins — with magic. The person running the demo on stage pulled out some elaborate hand movements to weave a range of spells, but the actual movement through the world appeared to be programmed in.

Molyneux told OXM in a video interview that he “made a tremendous mistake on the press briefing demo by taking out navigation, allowing players to me.” He then added, “I’ll just state on record now that Fable: The Journey is definitely not on rails.”

It’s hard to say exactly how this movement through a 3D space will actually work though. While the Kinect’s ability to translate a person’s movements into a game is cool, the functionality is limited by the range of the camera. It’s not like a Star Trek holodeck where you can just walk around, and games released for the peripheral so far have been notably hindered by that limitation. Fable isn’t always the best game out there, but Molyneux has done some incredibly innovative things with the series as its evolved. If he’s cracked a way to negotiate a 3D space using nothing more than your body, we’re interested to see how it will work.

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