Fable: The Journey Preview

We haven't seen or heard too much about the upcoming Fable: The Journey, Lionhead's Xbox 360 Kinect-exclusive title, but Joystiq has brought some new impressions of the game based on the E3 2012 demo. The preview is certainly enlightening, suggesting that while the on-rails "seated play" is fun in short bursts, he's unsure whether the mechanics are interesting enough to support the proposed 12-14 hour experience.

Here's an excerpt:
Lionhead designer Ted Timmons says he learned a lesson after showing off Fable: The Journey to the public for the first time at E3 2011. "It's fine to be on rails," he says a year later, at the tail end of E3 2012. The spin-off was famously labeled as "on rails" by the public thanks to an early demo, and Timmons told Joystiq that while the team was surprised at the response, they eventually got a different message out of the whole thing: "We shouldn't be distracted by the whole 'on rails' issue," he says now. "We just want to make an awesome Kinect game."

The Journey's awesomeness is yet to be determined, but it is certainly a Kinect game. The E3 2012 demo featured about ten minutes of two different levels in the game. You use Microsoft's all-seeing camera to snap and steer a horse's reins, throw a magical spear and open a locked door with magic spells.

But while it all works (once you're shown how to do it - the tutorial is still a work in progress), the real question here is whether this journey is one worth taking.

To the game's credit, it does something new with Kinect. The real innovation that came out of Milo and Kate (the Kinect tech demo that Lionhead eventually abandoned), says Lionhead's creative director Gary Carr, "was seated play." Fable: The Journey can be played standing up, but it's really designed to be played on the couch, where you'll wave your arms to control the story and cast combat spells.

The game is as responsive as most Kinect titles, and the controls (once you figure them out) are fairly straightforward - hold up your left hand to charge one spell, or right for another, and then fling the spells forward to cast them out. The two spells shown in the E3 demo were a shock spell (that could be upgraded into a fireball) or a force spell, that could be used to pull the heads or arms off attacking Hollow Men.
As someone who was conflicted about Fable III, Lionhead still have yet to convince me this upcoming title will have enough RPG-style depth to it.