Remember the 1940 Disney Animated Classic Fantasia? Of course you do. The epic musical masterpiece, featuring dazzling animation set to famous pieces of classical music will soon be making a massive comeback- no, not as a new feature film (which they totally should do), but as a new video game that will be released for the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Xbox One platforms in 2014.
In an LA Times exclusive, Disney has announced plans to continue the legacy of the Fantasia brand, this time around with music by today’s biggest popular music acts.
“Fantasia: Music Evolved” is a motion-controlled musical adventure that utilizes Microsoft’s Kinect device and takes the player through a number of newly crafted animated worlds — only this time the soundtrack isn’t Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven. The animated action in “Fantasia: Music Evolved” is set to a pop-heavy soundtrack that features the likes of Bruno Mars, Queen, Fun., Kimbra and AVICII.
“Walt described it as being about the classic music of all time, and that was where we jumped off,” says Chris Nicholls, Disney Interactive’s director of product development. “We saw a little chink in there and said, ‘OK, it’s not about classical.’ “
“Fantasia: Music Evolved” was designed by “Rock Band” and “Dance Central” maker Harmonix, and is said to feature more than 25 of the “industry’s biggest acts.
The game is being jointly developed by Disney Interactive and Harmonix. According to the developers, the aim of the game is to incorporate modern pop music into the visual world of Fantasia. Harmonix director of communications and brand management John Drake says it’s “not a movie game,” making it clear that this new Fantasia will continue the Disney legacy in a modern fashion.
“We wanted to make music malleable,” says Chris Nicholls of Disney Interactive. “We wanted to put the player in charge of the orchestration and do it in a way that felt unconstrained. We wanted to take you through an adventure via music.We wanted to allow people to play with music and understand the simple joy and thrill of playing music, but do it in a way that was approachable and easy to enjoy.”
The gameplay will apparently involve the player to “find visual cues” that can speed up, slow down and sometimes even merge the songs. Other cues challenge the player to remix the song in any way he or she sees fit, such as adding guitars or a string section.
The images revealed so far are quite impressive, which include an underwater coral-reef themed area, as well as what appears to be a magical printing press.
Fantasia, released in 1940, was Walt Disney’s ambitious vision which dramatically combined stunning animation with classical standards. It was followed by a sequel, Fantasia 2000 in 1999. Walt Disney’s original plan was to make Fantasia a continuing legacy franchise, with numerous installments, but sadly those plans didn’t take off as the movie failed commercially. However, today, Fantasia is regarded as a true Disney classic as well as one of Disney’s best selling home video titles, probably because of the enduring popularity of the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” sequence featuring Mickey Mouse in his most iconic role.
The game is currently planned for the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Xbox One. No word yet on whether Fantasia: Music Evolved will also be released for other consoles like the Wii U or on handhelds like the Nintendo 3DS.
What are your thoughts on Fantasia: Music Evolved? Do you think there are way too many music-based games out today? And do think adding modern music to the Fantasia brand is a good thing? And do you want to see a new Fantasia feature film? (I know I do!) Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Gary is a Disney nerd whose favorite animated movies are Beauty and the Beast, The Incredibles and Frozen. When he's not out catching Pokemon or watching animated films, he's usually analyzing literature or creating artwork.