Fable developer Lionhead is pushing its little-known incubation team, which experiments with new game ideas, into the public eye. And as part of that push it has revealed a cancelled game called InkQuest.
The Microsoft-owned Guildford company works mainly on Fable games, but Lionhead Incubation has for about a year now dabbled in new projects.
"Game developers love to create," the developer said in a statement published on the Lionhead website.
"It's why we do this job in the first place - to find that seed of an idea, that spark, that tiny bit of magic that captures first ourselves, then our friends, then perhaps a whole community.
"About a year ago, the Lionhead Incubation department was formed out of the desire to do just that - to find new ideas and inspiration that can then be turned into groundbreaking games, large or small. This, however, is not a measure of success: The ideas that don't get developed further are just as important as those that do."
The game was born out of Lionhead's 2013 Creative Day game jam, where a team of four - Jonny Hopper, Iain Brown, Adam Sibbick and Mike Green - put together a small demo called InkQuest.
Lionhead describes the game as "part magical map, part audio book, part adventure game". InkQuest was deemed good enough for it to be "incubated", which meant the concept was expanded and built into a prototype. This prototype tells the story of Sophie, a young girl transported into a magical book. The video, below, shows us what might have been.
"We explored worlds made entirely from words and investigated different ways of telling stories within them," Lionhead explained.
"We explored various art styles and developed some amazing technology for a kind of artist's 'performance capture' - capturing and replaying our artist's creative process."
Unfortunately it was decided not to put InkQuest into full production.
Lionhead is currently working on Xbox One exclusive Fable Legends, due out in 2015.