Fable The Journey devs "destroyed" by negative backlash
The Lionhead team working on the Kinect-powered adventure were hit hard by criticism
In an interview with CVG, Lionhead creative director Gary Carr explained how his team felt after journalists and fans were overwhelmingly negative about the E3 2011 demo of Fable: The Journey. According to Carr, the reception of the Kinect-powered entry in the franchise left the team "destroyed". Carr said the studio rallied around the criticism and sought to improve upon what they had already started.
"In the past we have shown things much more underdeveloped, much cruder, than the Fable The Journey demonstration at E3 . But for some reason, it wasn't resonating with people," said Carr.
"I think the presentation itself is partly to blame. I think we should have shown Fable The Journey further down the line."
"I think the studio took the criticisms to heart," Carr said. "I was okay, personally. The team rallied really quickly, it made us double-down on the project and worked really hard to make sure it was the best thing they could make. I think the turning-point was after the E3  showing, we finished up on developing our first dungeon. It's still the best one in the game. We nailed it. I think that turned the team. People started realizing that no, we were not making a shit game. We were making something that can be great."
Carr also had an unorthodox answer for the criticism about Fable The Journey being an on-rails experience. After the first showing of the game, Lionhead founder Peter Molyneux insisted the game was not on-rails; it was an insistence that was later found to be untrue.
"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," Carr explained.
"I think, if we had done this again, we would have just said, yeah, it's on rails. The truth is, at the time Peter was saying it wasn't on-rails, we at Lionhead were considering free body movement. But it was awful. It just wasn't fun."
"Ultimately, the decision was, keep the faith. On-rails is actually necessary to make the game work really well. We are building a story-based game, a well-crafted world, a powerful narrative, a beautiful looking game. All our money is going into that. We are not messing with alternative control schemes anymore," Carr added.
Fable: The Journey is expected on Xbox 360 in October of this year.