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IF you are a Kinect fan you've probably been keeping a close eye on the upcoming Kinect exclusive: Fable: The Journey. However while certainly the fact that Fable has jumped onto the Kinect band wagon (for the time being at least) may be good for all you motion control lovers it leaves all of the adamant controller fans out in the cold. Certainly, if you are a controller purist you might be upset by the next installment into the highly popular series turn instead to the fairly enjoyed Xbox add on Kinect; even more so if you are, as well, a Fable fan.
Fable: The Journey diverts from the rather dull and mediocre use of Kienct in other games and implements it in a fairly different way. The use of Kinect is quite unique in that it requires the player to wave their arms and shout wildly at the TV (or more precisely the Kinect sensor) to perform spells and other helpful and very necessary gameplay options. It seems more complex to be just another "waving at the TV and looking like an idiot while achieving little enjoyment" game. It also changes drastically from previous Fables and offers little to no exploration and is mostly going to be on rails.
Writing off not yet released games is something we all do – including myself, and when it comes to a platform which has so far not impressed us with its array of games over the past 2 years, its incredibly easy to be cynical. Indeed the Kinects range of games varies little from family friendly games with a basic premise to games with poor controls that are aimed at the more hardcore audience.
Rise of Nightmares was an incredibly flawed Kinect exclusive that drew great criticism for its poor overall performance. That said it was hard not to enjoy it – well, for me anyway. Its poor controls and stodgy graphics left more than a little to be desired but one thing it did have on its side was, oddly, originality. It reminded me of old horror games you'd play on PC, because, while the use of Kinect was nothing like how old games were operated, it's cheesy story, setting and laughable characters and dialogue made it a loveable rogue.
Kinect needs more than a few games that play poorly but are enjoyed simply for there cheesy badness however, and could Fable: The Journey be that game? That game that we all agree "saved" the Kinect? That game that made all the motion control opposed people stand up and say "You know what, I’m getting a Kinect!"
Not in my mind. In my mind F:TJ will not be a success. I may be good, a playable and enjoyable game, but a success? Not really. The simple fact is that Fable was extremely popular and despite the mixed views on Fable III, still is. Why take a series that although still popular does have fans disappointed and throw this in their face? If it sucks people will rage at Microsoft and Lionhead and probably the Kinect too. But if it is awesome? I predict a similar result regardless of how enjoyable F:TJ is.
Whether Kinect based or not, The Journey is so drastically different from previous Fables that it will alienate a lot of fans. The fact it's on Kinect, a system that as much as it is loved also has its fair share of hate as well, makes it even worse.
From where I am, Fable: The Journey is looking much like a Kinect experiment by Microsoft and Lionhead; an experiment to really test Kinect and see if people buy into it. But can MS and Lionhead really justify potentially ruining an entire series for the sake of Kinect? F:TJ is going to be judged mainly on the fact it's a Fable game. There will be little mercy from critics and fans should there be a fault with it, because it's not just a new game in a new series waiting to be judged, it's a Fable game. Should Lionhead have chosen to make it an entirely new game, unrelated to the Fable series, people would be more forgiving, would judge it as a new game, but so long as it has Fable in the title it could easily break a ton of hearts. F:TJ will have to be one hell of a game to not disappoint many people, and if it isn't? Lets just say Peter Molyneux will be glad to have left.