Fable's creators have called on gamers to give Kinect exclusive Fable: The Journey a chance.
Dene and Simon Carter founded Big Blue Box in the late '90s, and it was they who drummed up the Fable universe before being absorbed into Peter Molyneux's Lionhead, which was subsequently purchased by Microsoft.
Since the launch of Fable 1 in 2004 on Xbox there have been a number of Fable games released, including the odd spin-off, including Xbox Live Arcade game Fable Heroes, which launches releases next month. But it is Kinect exclusive Fable: The Journey, due out in September, that has come in for some stick from veteran fans of the role-playing game series.
Indeed Peter Molyneux, who continues to work on the game as a consultant despite his high-profile exit from Microsoft to go it alone with new start-up 22Cans, has acknowledged how divisive the game has been for core Xbox 360 fans.
"From the blogs and the posts that I've seen, there's a lot of scepticism out there," he said during a press event in San Francisco last month. "People think that they're going to be leaping around the room or they're going to have to shout at the top of their voice and feel embarrassed. We don't want that - we want you to feel relaxed."
The Carters, who recently announced the formation of their new independent studio, Another Place Productions, told Eurogamer much of the criticism of The Journey is unfair.
"It's unfair that game's getting a lot of stick," Simon Carter said. "It looks great. What they're trying to do, by marrying core gaming with Kinect, is obviously tricky. It's a difficult control mechanism to get into core gaming. I think they're doing a great job."
What they're trying to do, by marrying core gaming with Kinect, is obviously tricky. It's a difficult control mechanism to get into core gaming. I think they're doing a great job - Simon Carter.
Dene Carter said there's plenty of room within the popular Fable franchise for spin-offs, including the likes of a Kinect exclusive.
"Why there can't be room for a Kinect side spin-off of the Fable franchise I don't know," he said. "That seems a bit odd. I can't think of any good reason why that would not work. If this was a Mario thing for example, if this was a Mario shooter based on the Wii controller, nobody would go, 'That's a terrible thing. That should never have happened. That's a betrayal blah blah blah vitriol vitriol.'
"But strangely enough Fable seems to be treated very differently from that. We all know it's a franchise. We all know it's a brand. The fact somebody wants to do something a bit different with that brand while we're waiting for the next big game, that doesn't seem like something people should get too angry about. If you don't like it, don't buy it."
He added: "If they were talking about the core franchise, I would have an awful lot of time for that. It's more the fact that they're complaining about a different team doing something different based on the franchise. If it was called Black & White shooter I don't think we'd have had the same level."
"When Mario Kart came out, nobody was going, what?! There's no jumping! That's not the next Mario game! What are you talking about Miyamoto! I hate you! I'm going to burn your house down and kill your children!" Simon said.
When Mario Kart came out, nobody was going, what?! There's no jumping! That's not the next Mario game! What are you talking about Miyamoto! I hate you! I'm going to burn your house down and kill your children! - Simon Carter.
Fable: The Journey is played out across a 300-mile trip through Albion to The Spire. It's played from a first-person perspective with much of its action taking place on horseback. When riding it through the narrow paths of The Journey's Albion, a tug of both hands will speed it up, while pulling left and right on a pair of imaginary reins will change direction.
The game was revealed at E3 last year in a presentation Molyneux later admitted he "fluffed". In the Microsoft E3 press conference, a tall dark stranger controlled what appeared to be an on-rails first-person Fable experience. He cast spells at the game's goblin-like Hobb enemies by waving his arms.
Despite how stinging scepticism can be, Dene Carter said it's much better that gamers care about a product in some way than they don't care at all. "On the other hand, I love people are passionate and do feel some kind of emotion to what we're doing rather than shrugging their shoulders and going, 'Whatever.' He said. "Let's be honest, our industry could so easily move into that."
Lionhead is rumoured to be working on the inevitable Fable 4, for release on Microsoft's next Xbox, itself rumoured for release in time for Christmas 2013. Fable 4 is reportedly "a proper, controller based" game.
Meanwhile, Lionhead today revealed the final box art for Fable: The Journey. "Maybe this isn't the biggest news for all our fans out there, but it is a big moment for the development team," the studio said in a blog post. "The box art signifies that we are working on a game now that will appear in shops all over the world and this is how you are going to spot Fable: The Journey in local retailers.
"Needless to say we are very proud of it! If you own a Kinect - or are planning on buying one in the near future - and you are a serious gamer who doesn't want to jump around their living room, then this is the game to look out for."