Having earned their wings crafting franchises like Rock Band and Dance Central, the music game maestros at Harmonix are teaming up with the Mouse House to create a game based on the spellbinding 1940 musical ‘Fantasia’.
Fantasia: Music Evolved, due out for Microsoft’s Xbox One and Xbox 360 (with Kinect) in 2014, turns players into a brand new sorcerer’s apprentice. Under the tutelage of master wizard Yen Sid (that’s Disney spelled backwards), gamers will attempt to control magical forces -- just as Mickey did in the film’s most famous sequence.
That’s pretty much where the similarity ends, however, as this isn’t strictly a trip through the film’s iconic scenes. Instead, players will wave their arms to the beat of 25 significantly more contemporary music tracks, from Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” to Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven”, as they restore color and life to a variety of environments inspired by the original film. You’re essentially conducting music via a series of rhythmic gestures, helping to reshape a drab world.
It’s a pretty bold step. The original film is a singular classic, a trippy audiovisual feast set to a stirring classical soundtrack. There’s bound to be some pushback from Disney fans expecting this to more closely mirror the movie, particularly in its choice of songs.
But with Fantasia: Music Evolved, Harmonix is hoping to give the ailing music-game genre a shot in the arm. The popularity of the genre has waned significantly since its 2008 heyday, when dueling entries from Guitar Hero and Rock Band helped drive millions of gamers to spend billions on plastic instruments and digital music game libraries. While dance games like Dance Central and Ubisoft’s Just Dance still perform well at retail, the glory days of the genre are long past.
In an effort to rekindle that flame a bit, Fantasia: Music Evolved retains some of the creative flair Harmonix is known for. Players will be able to ‘remix’ tracks on the fly, briefly transforming Bohemian Rhapsody, for instance, into an orchestral piece or a heavy metal jam. Loads of smaller interactive experiences promote exploration and experimentation, transforming a set of underwater clams into a recordable drum kit, for instance.
In the hands of a lesser developer, this could all come grinding to a halt – the Kinect sensor isn’t exactly the most dependable input device. But Harmonix has time and again managed to work wonders with it. Toss in a little Disney magic and Fantasia: Music Evolved could well be worth a listen.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Dance Central