Hardcore gamer distrust for Microsoft's Kinect is down to a shortage of challenge and immersion, according to Peter Molyneux. The Lionhead boss hopes that forthcoming Kinect exclusive Fable: The Journey will "compel" detractors to invest, with a level of difficulty comparable to Fable 2.
"The trouble is for a lot of gamers is that they haven't got an example that they like, yet," Molyneux commented. "Dance Central and the Sports titles, they're wonderful, incredible things for a mass market. But gamers love being challenged.
"They love big immersive adventures lasting ten hours, not ten minutes. And it's human nature to be suspicious of something until you see an example that you like."
Though easy enough to get into, Lionhead's next game will put up a fight as you progress. "I don't think The Journey is going to be any easier. I think it'll be more accessible, but not easier. In fact, one of the things we did in Fable 3 was to take out the death mechanic. We've put that back in. If your horse dies, you have to get another one before you can progress.
The studio was tasked with making a game for both casual and core audiences, Molyneux explained. "Our job is to make a game that the hardcore would really enjoy. That's what Microsoft asked us to do, so that the people who don't have Kinect would feel compelled to get it. Not because they have to, but because they want to.
"And we do that by making a 90+ Metacritic game that is reviewed by gamers," he added. "That's who review these games, and that's why the early games didn't get those scores. And that's our ambition now."
The Journey drops players into the shoes of a tribesman who shacks up with famed soothsayer Theresa. Play is divided between a horse and cart, where you'll steer with simple flicks of the hands, and on-foot questing segments.
"It has to be accessible - you want people to instantly understand how to control the horse, and do magic. But what we mean by challenging, there are going to be occasions where you have to think hard about how to use your magic to get past a barrier.
"The great thing about having a system that's open-ended is that you'll feel, more and more, that it's you that's solved a problem, and not a button-press or working out a code The difficulty we're looking at is around the Fable 2 level, between one and two. Easy at the start, and a lot more challenging."
Step this way for a look at the new game's fabulous art direction. It's apparently "difficult to be unique" using Unreal Engine, but Lionhead has managed pretty well. And pick up issue 76, on shelves today, for a two-page preview.