Xbox highlights at E3 – Cowboys, Jedi knights and horse sweat: what’s not to like?

fable the journey

The orcs, babes and jawas are milling around Los Angeles again. It can only mean that the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, is in town. The annual videogames conference is jammed with eager gamers queuing to play previews of new titles while provocatively dressed actors seek to grab your attention.

Kinect titles showed great imagination, with “Gunstringer”, a cartoony western-set title with unusual interface – you act as the puppeteer working a cowboy puppet. It comes from Twisted Pixel Games, whose “ ‘Splosion Man” remains one of the most fun Xbox games of recent years.

Perhaps the best Kinect implementation – and one of the real standout games of the show – is “Fable The Journey” from Brit super-creator Peter Molyneux. For much of the game you interact with a horse pulling your cart, using your hands on imaginary reins to guide him, swishing a virtual crop to speed him on. Because the Kinect has a microphone, you can speak to the game: clicking your tongue encourages him, “Whoa” slows him down. Molyneux told us that he was devising the game so the horse would only respond to one person’s voice.

Molyneux is known for free-ranging games with extraordinary attention to detail.

“We have horse sweat technology so if you whip the horse he’ll start to perspire. I wanted to have more details of the horse’s biology, with other material released from the horse’s bottom, but there was a push back from the other developers in my team, so we dropped that.”

Since the most frequent view of the horse is from behind, maybe that’s for the best.

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