Walt Disney, the production company responsible for multiple animated features, and Harmonix, the group behind Guitar Hero, have teamed up to create what has been dubbed “Fantasia: Music Evolved”. The original Fantasia was released in 1940, and comprised of 8 animated sections that were set to classical music.
According to the game’s creative director Matt Boch, “The inspiration is the moment of Mickey on the cliff, conducting the heavens and conducting the sea”. This iconic moment took place in the third segment of Fantasia, entitled “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”.
The Fine Print
Players will essentially be able to conduct an orchestra with their hands in front of their Xbox camera. They will be able to change the tone and pace of the music through the use of gestures. According to Boch, players will be provided with a set of choices “…that allow you to transform the song in a direction that’s closer to an 80?s, metal power-ballady thing, or push it in a direction that’s more symphonic. Or split between the original symphonic elements and metal elements”.
However, players will also be judged on their ability to hit the correct note at the right time. The game will feature pieces of music from the original film, composed by heavyweights such as Frank Schubert, Ludwig van Beethoven, Igor Stravinsky and Johann Sebastian Bach. In addition, there will also be numerous other contemporary tracks added to the selection, including offerings from Queen and Bruno Mars.
The Ultimate Classic
In Fantasia: Music Evolved, players have to prove themselves to Yen Sin, the sorcerer that Mickey Mouse served under in the 1940’s film. In order to do that, players have to visit all the different sonic playgrounds and perform the tunes, in order to unlock rewards and progress through the game.
The game also makes use of Microsoft’s Kinect technology, adding to the interactive experience. By moving left or right, players obtain a panoramic view of their virtual world, whilst swiping their hands enables them to conduct their orchestra at a chosen tempo. When there’s a solo, aspiring conductors can trace their finger in the air, which turns into a music arpeggio that plays behind the song.
Fantasia: Music Evolved will only be able to support two-player function, but nevertheless, it’s a great game in that you can’t really lose – even if you are not a musical maestro, you can still earn points and rewards throughout the gameplay.
A Final Note
The game is set for release in 2014, and has been three years in the making. Graphics are bright, detailed and rich, and Fantasia: Music Evolved provides a whole new take on rhythm-based gaming. In essence, the user is turned into what one early review dubs a “musical sorcerer”, able to manipulate a music composition with different hand gestures. Who knows? If you do well, you might just be rewarded with the sight of a giant turtle with a clam jazz band perched precariously on its back. (Yes, really. You can even give them a different musical instrument and design your own clam melody.)
Another positive aspect of the game is that it will hopefully introduce a whole new generation to the joys of classical music, a grossly underappreciated genre in today’s world. So warm up those wrists, gamers and music marvels – Fantasia will soon be here to put your skills to the test.
Grace Matthews is a London-based lifestyle blogger who always makes sure to use swimming ear plugs when spending her days lapping in the pool.