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Apologies for the late delay on this, but I believe this was my favourite interview of the whole of Eurogamer Expo. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did holding it
Interview with Paul Wright, Lionhead for Fable The Journey. Eurogamer Expo, Friday 28th September.
Nickie: So, you are one of the developers for the new Fable The Journey game, correct? What was your role in the development and design of the game?
Paul: Okay, so my role is a designer. On Fable The Journey- I was part of a team that worked on a section that we internally call ‘Horse Care’. It’s the section in the game where you tend to your horse, you heal it, remove splinters and just pamper it, look after it. It was a role that I was drafted in for half way through the project as I was working on Fable Heroes at the time. That project came to the end of completion and I was moved over to this one.
Nickie: What would you say are some of the features of the game that would appeal to players who have never played a Kinect game before?
Paul: As we’ve seen today here (at Eurogamer Expo), we’ve had lot of people come and play Fable The Journey who have never even heard of Fable, never mind played a Kinect game before. The one thing I like and enjoy is that it’s just accessible. The gestures that are used in the game are the same that are used in real life. So when the player is throwing a spear, it actually feels like they’re throwing something. The same goes for pushing something on the screen- it feels the same as pushing something the same way you would on a day to day basis. These are really natural gestures, and that’s one thing less that the player has to get their head around.
Nickie: As I’ve already discovered, it’s a game that you play while sitting down. This is different to a normal Kinect game as usually, you have to use your whole body. So this surely means that this opens the game up to players in wheelchairs or those who don’t have that much mobility in their lower body?
Paul: We’ve had several people in wheelchairs play the game today, and they’ve enjoyed it just as much as anyone else would have. The skeleton tracking that we’ve used for this game is seated tracking, which pretty much ignores anything from the waist down. It does require the player to have ability in both their hands and arms and to be able to lean left and right. The game is able to be played standing up, but of course we do recommend sitting down for the game. It’s a ten hour plus game, and of course we want you to be comfortable, we want you to be relaxed while playing the game to experience the game properly.
Nickie: Why did you want to break away from the ‘normal’ Kinect game by designing the seated tracking?
Paul: The main idea behind the design was that as a company, we wanted this game to be a long enjoyable game so we of course wanted the player to be comfortable. It’s not a ten minute jogging game or a fun thirty minutes where you dance around in your living room. We realised that playing Fable the Journey while standing up- just wasn’t possible for the average player. The only real way we decided that it was possible for the game to work was to have the player sitting down.
Nickie: How does this Fable game differ from any of the other Fable games Lionhead has made in the past?
Paul: Apart from the obvious of this game being a total, interactive experience- the actual narrative is very Fable. There are paths branching in the game, there’s decisions to be made, there are characters to talk to or ignore. The usual elements that are usually found in a traditional Fable game are found in here too. It isn’t the usual free roaming game where you’re running around with a dog, buying houses or starting families, that’s not what this game is about. But there are characters from past Fable games and this is really what we wanted to stick to. We knew that by making a Fable game, we had to make it somewhat similar to the past titles we had released.
Nickie: As a game designer, what hints or advice would you give to our readers out there that maybe want to get into working in the video game industry?
Paul: When people come up to me and say that they would like to be a designer too, I have to ask them how much do they want it? How much are they willing to sacrifice for it? There are thousands of people out there that would love to be a game designer, and because of that the field is very hard to get into. A few out there will show that they want to, and only a few of that number will actually stand out and show up. The best way of course is always to study at university, work harder than anyone else and get the grades. There’s really no back door entrance into the industry, it’s a lot of hard work and it’s not for the weak-hearted as it means a lot of sacrifice both personal and professional. Just show that you have that and bang on a lot of doors. If the doors don’t open, keep banging on them until they do. It’s a lot of perseverance.