Guitar Hero originators and rhythm aficionados Harmonix recently announced that they were producing yet another (gasp!) music game exclusively for the upcoming Xbox One. It wasn’t going to be Rock Band or Dance Central, with both of those franchises coming to an end earlier this year, at least in terms of regular downloadable content. No, this game is to be known as Fantasia: Music Evolved, and if you’re thinking “COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT!”, well, you’d be incorrect, because this game is as stated—Disney‘s hand is indeed involved and, using the new Kinect, you will be able to walk in the shoes of Mickey Mouse as sorcerer Yen Sid‘s apprentice to combine stunning visuals and enchanting tunes to create something resembling art. At least within the confines of what the game will allow you to.
Rather than adapting the original 1940 production into a game (and this is best reserved for companies that are not these lovelies), Harmonix have opted for a route that integrates the original vision of Fantasia, that is, marrying music and visual stimulation, and will use the Kinect to do so. In the most recent unveiling of the game, and through some words via Harmonix’s publicist Nick Chester, Fantasia: Music Evolved is less like Dance Central and more like…well, here are his words exactly:
1. Not like Dance Central in any way outside of the fact that you’ll have to move your arms. You can use your feet and head, sure. 2. Probably closer to Elite Beat Agents meets Electroplankton meets a point and click musical adventure. Just with a 3D cursor and Kinect.
Seriously, if you like music games and original ideas that are beautifully realized, this is it. I’m biased, but for serious, I’m telling you the truth. Check it out.
And on further thought, why can’t the comparison to Ubisoft‘s Child of Eden be made? I understand the aim that Harmonix are taking here, getting far more than your body involved with the musical experience, but your senses and, furthermore, your creativity.
See, unlike Child of Eden and Elite Beat Agents, after you understand the fundamentals of Fantasia: Music Evolved, you will be able to evolve the music itself, tying together different pieces in thematic and, more importantly, meaningful ways. While employing the idea that Child of Eden pursued, synesthesia, you are allowed to take the idea a step back from having your senses tickled and instead enact situations in which you connect with the music as a conductor, reciprocating almost the same idea of having stepped into Mickey’s oversized shoes as the sorcerer’s apprentice.
But what does all this mean?
Well, it certainly means that we have a gem on our hands, to be sure. While the light gameplay demo that GameTrailers presented doesn’t quite encapsulate what we have in store, nor does an in-depth write-up offer the same, the mere idea, as well as the brains behind it, are more than enough security to assure a well-built product.
Fantasia: Music Evolved is certainly not the game the Xbox One needs to be a killer console, only furthering the idea that Microsoft is shoving the Kinect down our throats when we don’t necessarily want it, even going so far as integrating it with console processes and requiring the device to be plugged in for the One to work. In fact, it’s a downright shame that the title will be appearing on such a restrictive console. And it’s also not Shooter of Duty: Combat in Space Desert or whatever that would certainly sell millions of units with no problem.
Yet, Fantasia is a game that we deserve, because it’s beautiful, just like everything else Harmonix have done. It gives us another reason to enjoy music in ways we never really considered and connect with it beyond the ideas of triggering samples with plastic instruments or mirroring moves on a screen. It will allow us to connect with musicians we love (and maybe some you don’t love just yet) and give you the opportunity to experience them in ways you never considered and to draw your own web of fantasy from one imaginative mind to another using your own.
There’s a lot we don’t know about Fantasia: Music Evolved just yet, but like anything Harmonix have done and arguably being the best developers for the Kinect on a consistent basis, it’s certainly promising. We’ll know more next week as the title will be made available to the E3-going public and I will personally have a look to see if I can confirm these words above. I’m skeptical, too, mostly regarding the console itself, but more confident in the developers than anything.