LOS ANGELES – “Gears of War” fans may have been disappointed that no Microsoft Xbox 360 Kinect version of the game was announced at the E3 conference on Monday, but Gears creator Epic Games still has a big role to play in one of the new Kinect titles released.

At its E3 kickoff, Microsoft introduced the first retail Kinect game running on Cary-based Epic’s Unreal Engine 3 technology – “Fable. The Journey.”

Peter Molyneaux’ Lionhead Studios is using the Epic technology, and Molyneaux, an acclaimed game creator, took the stage to walk through a live demo of the new title.

“With the Fable games we’ve focused on bringing a living, breathing world to life with the focus on you becoming the hero,” said Molyneux, creative director of Lionhead Studios and Microsoft Game Studios Europe. “Now we can connect you to this world and make you feel 100 percent more in control.”

The Unreal engine is one of the most popular in the videogame industry, being used by developers worldwide across virtually all game platforms.

(Watch the video trailer for the game here.)

During the demo, a player used his arms to replicate holding the reigns of a speeding horse and buggy. The horses were controlled by using a whip or pulling back on the reigns. One off the carriage, the demo featured an assortment of on-foot exploration involving spell-casting. By using different types of hand gestures, the player was able to conjure and jettison spells at enemies.

The Fable franchise has sold over 9 million copies over the years, but this is the first time the studio has licensed Epic’s technology to bring the fantasy world of Albion to life.

“In using the Unreal Engine with its excellent tools for crafting cinematic in-game experiences, it allows our developers to focus on the quality and uniqueness of Fable: The Journey,” said Molyneux. “Already we are seeing a more beautiful, vivid and unique world full of dramatic moments and have crafted new, never seen before gameplay experiences.”

“More magical,” says Epic

“The world of Albion has always been a beautiful place, and Lionhead embellishing it using the bells and whistles of Unreal Engine 3 makes it even more magical,” said Mark Rein, vice president of Epic Games, who was at the press conference.

During the original Kinect press conference a few years ago, Epic’s Unreal technology was used for a technology demonstration that showcased the controller-free gameplay experience.

“Lionhead truly impresses with their proficiency for Kinect, with intuitive and natural feeling player interactions using voice and gesture controls in demonstrations we have seen firsthand,” added Rein. “That gripping experience combined with stunning UE3 visuals truly make this is a world-class union of imagination and technology.”

(More Epic news: Ice-T and Gears of War 3 demo – read here.)

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