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Lionhead's new creative director talks 'Fable: The Journey,' Lionhead's future

The man who took over the studio creative director role for Peter Molyneux on horses and Lionhead's structure in 2012.

Fable: The Journey 640
Fable: The Journey 640
Matt Leone has written about games for three decades, focusing on behind-the-scenes coverage of the industry, including books on Final Fantasy 7 and Street Fighter 2.

The man who took over the studio creative director role for Peter Molyneux on horses and Lionhead's structure in 2012.

At a press event showing Fable: The Journey last week, Lionhead's Gary Carr — the man who took the studio creative director role when frontman Peter Molyneux departed earlier this year — stood up with Polygon to discuss his team's latest game and touch briefly on future plans.

Thinking back to the origins of The Journey's development, Carr said the game began as an idea about a Kinect-controlled horse, and the horse turned into one of the game's main characters.

"The important thing about the horse is that it's something that's there for you to grow attached to," he said. "And at first, it's just a vehicle. It's just a creature that's pulling you along. But slowly, the more you play the game, the more the horse becomes a part of the storyline ... I know some guys who've been playing the game, who are pretty hardcore gamers, who actually said one of the biggest things when they finished the game wasn't the creatures — wasn't the beautiful world — it was the fact that they really cared for the horse."

Carr also said that his team's plan for The Journey changed very little over the course of the game's development cycle.

"I've still got the original [design document] that we did 18 months ago, and the beats are there," he said. "It's still the same premise. We haven't changed at all. We've managed to basically flesh out that idea. And for once, which is very unusual for Lionhead, we stuck to the plan. We didn't change our minds, and that's why we managed to do it in 18 months."

On the current structure of Lionhead, he mentioned that — though the team has only released Fable games in recent years — that's no indication of what players should expect from the company in the future.

"We always have a few teams kicking around, and a few small teams who branch off and do other things," he said. "You can't just pour everybody onto one idea — that's just not going to [help you] evolve as a studio. So there are a number of things I can't talk about, as you would imagine. But we're a team rolling off a finished title now, and we're rolling onto something new and exciting which I can't tell you about."

And as for media reports of Lionhead developing a next-generation Xbox "MMO-like" role-playing game, as mentioned in a recent job listing?

"I'll have to read those; I haven't read them," he joked. "No, but we do a thing called Creative Day every year, and we let anybody in the studio ... work on a concept or a tech demo. And it can be anything. It doesn't have to be a computer game. It can be an idea for world peace. It can be a spreadsheet concept. It can be anything ... And that's a really important thing. I don't want it to be about one person. It shouldn't be about what Peter [Molyneux] says or what I say or the other senior members of the studio. Great ideas can come from anybody at any time, so Lionhead is going to cultivate that culture it always has done — and hopefully we'll be coming up with other things, not just Fable, in the future."

Fable: The Journey is scheduled for release on October 9th.