Fable: The Journey is a Kinect spinoff of Microsoft and Lionhead Studios' roleplaying series, whose E3 2011 demo received negative reactions that were so strong it actually "destroyed" the studio. However, it also became their motivation to work on a better product.
According to Lionhead creative director Paul Carr, in an interview with CVG, he was surprised that the demo would be so attacked, since past E3's "we have shown things much more underdeveloped, much cruder, than the Fable The Journey demonstration at E3 (2011). But for some reason, it wasn't resonating with people." said Carr.
He added that he thought "the presentation itself is partly to blame. I think we should have shown Fable The Journey further down the line."
The negative backlash became a rallying cry. "I think the studio took the criticisms to heart," Carr revealed. "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 (2011) showing, we finished up on developing our first dungeon," Carr added, then promised, "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 said that former head Peter Molyneux's initial insistence that Fable: The Journey not be an on-rails game didn't help, both in public perception and in development. "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," he related.
"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," he concluded.
Fable: The Journey is due to be released on Xbox 360 on the 4th September in North America, and the 12th October in the UK.