Fantasia: Music Evolved is Harmonix's next game, coming to Xbox One and Kinect

Fantasia: Music Evolved is the next game from Rock Band and Dance Central developer Harmonix. Given the studio's pedigree, there's perhaps no better fit for such a musically-inclined IP.

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Disney's Fantasia was an animated epic starring Mickey Mouse designed to introduce a new generation to the wonders of classical music. It eventually became a cult classic, but Disney Interactive EP Chris Nicholls says that "Walt had always imagined Fantasia as an always-evolving platform." More than 70 years later, it appears the right combination of technology and talent has come along to make that vision become reality. Fantasia: Music Evolved is the next game from Rock Band and Dance Central developer Harmonix. Given the studio's pedigree, there's perhaps no better fit for such a musically inclined IP. However, as Harmonix's John Drake points out, "this is not a movie game." In many ways, it's not a game at all--very much unlike the first misdirected attempt at making a Fantasia game. Nicholls explains that Music Evolved "allows you to step into Mickey's shoes and become the sorcerer's apprentice." In this Kinect-powered experience for Xbox 360 and Xbox One, you're not necessarily trying to get a high score or jam with a band. Instead, by Yen Sid's command, you'll explore various worlds and discover "musical moments" using your body. In the exploration half of the game, you'll interact with an environment using "the Muse," a 3D cursor controlled by your hands. By moving your hands, you'll be able to trigger various events in the world, whether it be summoning a school of fish in a coral reef, or electrocuting a pack of worker robots. These interactions can unlock new musical toys to play with, and will liven up the soundtrack of the world you're currently in. Ultimately, your goal is to fill up a meter by collecting stars from the magical "interactions" hidden in the environments. Search hard enough, and you'll be able to open portals to the performance half of the game.

One of Fantasia's many environments

"We wanted to give you a new way of performing music," Drake explained when introducing Fantasia. While Rock Band and Dance Central were about simulation, Drake pointed out that Fantasia is "a music-creation experience. It's not just about 'can you play x path and get five stars.' It's about playing a song and making it your own." When performing a song in Fantasia, your silhouette will appear atop the iconic pedestal that Mickey used in the original film. Here, you become a conductor, and you'll use your arms to mimic the motions of one. Arrows will appear on the screen, and you'll have to swipe your arms in that direction in time with the music. At first glance, it looks a lot like "full body Ouendan." At key points, you'll be able to "remix" the song. Three colored options will appear on the screen, and depending on the way you swipe, you'll drastically shift the tone of the song you're playing. Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" can get an orchestral mix, a guitar mix, or a piano mix, for example. The effects last throughout the entire song, meaning additional remix points will layer upon what you've previously selected. Other opportunities to customize the song will appear during your performance as well. For example, a challenge section will have players attempting to build a cube by waving their arms at the right time. If successful, you'll be able to create a live remix guitar solo using the "music manipulator." Using your hands, you can draw on the surface of an object, and it will record a solo that gets played back during the rest of the song.

Challenges will unlock additional remix opportunities

The end result is a song that sounds quite different from the original, and more importantly, different from other players' performances. Over two dozen songs are promised for Fantasia's initial release, including AVICII's "Levels," Bruno Mars' "Locked Out of Heaven," Fun.'s "Some Nights," and Kimbra's "Settle Down." Of course, Harmonix being who they are, we wouldn't be surprised if Fantasia wasn't just a game--but became a platform for a future pipeline of downloadable content. Fantasia: Music Evolved will be available in 2014 for Xbox One and Xbox 360 with Kinect.
From The Chatty
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    June 4, 2013 6:00 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, Fantasia: Music Evolved is Harmonix's next game, coming to Xbox One and Kinect.

    Fantasia: Music Evolved is the next game from Rock Band and Dance Central developer Harmonix. Given the studio's pedigree, there's perhaps no better fit for such a musically-inclined IP.

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      June 4, 2013 6:10 AM

      This is weird. I'm getting Wii Music vibes from this. Can't watch the video at work though, so I'm not sure if it's quite that dumb.

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      June 4, 2013 6:14 AM

      I never asked for this.

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        June 4, 2013 7:48 AM

        :( same, looks like my fears are a reality I bet the E3 Xbone is going to be all about Kinect games you will see.

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      June 4, 2013 6:19 AM

      I think it sounds cool. Mostly because it's by Harmonix so I think they'll do a good job.

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      June 4, 2013 6:21 AM

      But...*can* I get five stars on songs?

      Full-body Ouendan made me get a semi, though.

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        June 4, 2013 6:24 AM

        Yes, there IS a scoring system for the performances, but that's still being tweaked at the moment.

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        June 4, 2013 6:54 AM

        There was an Ouendan like game for Kinect, I know GB did a QL for it. It sucked.

        The reason Ouendan is fun/challenging is that you need to be precise in the tapping and there's immediate connectivity / reactivity - the feedback cycle is near perfect on that. I can't see that applying to a wave-your-hands game particularly with past latency problems of the Kinect.

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          June 4, 2013 6:54 AM

          a) Harmonix, b) Updated Kinect. Masem, I've had about enough of your Harmonix bashing!!!!

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            June 4, 2013 6:59 AM

            Yea, but they're also making this for the 360, so while the Xbone version could be awesome, if they're keeping gameplay consistent and fair on both platforms, I can't see it being as "good" as Ouendan.

            Like I said in the other thread, this is money hats for HMX. It's just not for me.

            (But damn, HMX should make a Ouendan-type game for mobiles! Hell, team up with INIS to get it done!)

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      June 4, 2013 7:38 AM

      This definitely gives you a workout. I had some fun with it during the event. Throwing your arms around as a conductor and hearing your own version of familiar and popular songs was entertaining to say the least.

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        June 4, 2013 7:44 AM

        Going to my comment to Deathlove above:

        How "good' is the feedback cycle? This is a key factor in rhythm games, and I'm worried with Kinect (at least on 360) this is going to be a bit weak.

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      June 4, 2013 7:53 AM

      Hmm:

      http://www.gamespot.com/news/harmonix-rock-band-will-return-6409223

      "'I'll also say that we don't view Rock Band as something that's being left behind," Rigopulos said. "It's something we’ll return to at the right point in time and reimagine it as appropriate for its time."

      This better not be a tease, Alex.

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        June 4, 2013 7:58 AM

        I hope they somehow figure out how to bring all of your DLC to the new platforms though.

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          June 4, 2013 8:00 AM

          My read of their past interviews on licenses is that they've done their best to try to secure licenses perpetually for any RB title (some they just can't), irregardless of platform.

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        June 4, 2013 8:02 AM

        it will return when music licensors let us do everything!! I would love to try some u2 songs

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