Fantasia: Music Evolved is a motion-controlled music rhythm game developed by Harmonix for the Xbox 360 and Xbox One with Kinect. It is the interactive successor to Walt Disney's 1940 animated film Fantasia and its 1999 sequel Fantasia 2000, both of which it is based on.
The narration directly references the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" segment from Walt Disney's 1940 animated film Fantasia. The sorcerer Yen Sid tasks his new apprentice, the player, with animating the worlds he has created. Players generate life in initially desolate levels by moving in rhythm with licensed popular music, which unlocks gestures that change elements of the musical composition. In an example, a player traced arrows with her body in time with a song, and was rewarded with a selection of rock, orchestral, and brass music overlays that fit over the song. The Kinect's camera shows the player as an on-screen silhouette, which transforms other objects when the two touch. The game is able to read nuance in the player's body movements and change the visual animations accordingly.
Fantasia: Music Evolved is designed to emphasize creative control, although with that in mind, players score points based on how accurate they are in time with the music, and also build up a streak for even more points. The player is unable to fail or lose the game. After completing a level, some musical elements are exported to the overworld. Players collect magical energy while playing, which is used to unlock items that can be brought into the levels.
Players are able to share their final, saved mixes after the levels are complete. There is also a two-player mode. Unlocked areas become available for arcade mode, while party mode enables access to all available songs, although song-based goals cannot be completed.
Disney Interactive Studios first contacted Harmonix with the idea in 2010. The Harmonix team was invigorated from the success of its Dance Central and brainstormed about further intersections between motion control and music. Harmonix was not open to Disney's offer to meet at first since the team did not traditionally use third-party intellectual property. At the meeting, there was an instant connection when Disney mentioned Fantasia, since the brand connected with Harmonix's projects in development. Disney and Harmonix wanted a game more interactive for the player than simply participating in the actions of the film, so the Harmonix team began planning from Walt Disney's original intentions via his production notes instead of from the final film release. Disney Interactive Studios executive producer Chris Nicholls met with the Harmonix team to establish core principles upon which to base the game. The development team liked the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" dream sequence scene best, where Mickey controlled the weather and background orchestra like a conductor from atop a mountain. Its "reaching out" interaction is reflected in the gameplay. This scene, where "magic and the manipulation of music itself were woven into a single act", became a central narrative conceit and "creative inception point" for the team. While visiting the Disney creative teams, the Harmonix team was also inspired by Disneyland's World of Color show.
Fantasia: Music Evolved was unveiled at a press event just prior to Electronic Entertainment Expo 2013 as a modern update of Walt Disney's Fantasia. The game was designed as an interactive successor to the film. The team aimed to contemporize the film by connecting physical movement with music. They chose to emphasize freedom of choice instead of themes from their previous games such as imitation and scores based on performance. Harmonix co-founder and CEO Alex Rigopulos has called this evolution into "musical creativity" a long-term interest of the company, as well as its "creative responsibility". Project lead Daniel Sussman differentiated the game from previous Harmonix releases and added that the team was "trying to make something accessible and creative". The game is designed to read nuance in player gestures to afford for greater creativity. Harmonix also wanted the game to be a tool for making music similar to the experience of musicians. The team spent a long portion of its development period iterating through experiments before settling on the final combination of gameplay and creative elements.
Harmonix's CEO affirmed that the team was excited about the innovative aspects of the game, specifically its options for creativity. At the time of the game's announcement, creative director Matt Boch compared the creative spirit and innovation of the Fantasia film's team to that of the Harmonix staff. While internally testing the game, the team competed to perform the "craziest" performance of the songs. Disney and Harmonix have brainstormed about a theme park adaptation of the game as a future possibility.
There is another sorcerer named Scout, who acts as the game's guide, and helps the player fight off a force called the Noise. The Noise is a force that brings distortion to the realms of the entire gameplay. Scout helps players learn how to remix music and restore music to each realm.
Songs from more than 30 artists are included in the game, and each song is accompanied by three colour-coded mixes (Blue, Pink and Green), two of which vary by the song. "Bohemian Rhapsody", for example, has the original, an orchestral composition, and an 80s metal mix. The licensed music includes compositions from the classical era, including Night on Bald Mountain by Modest Mussorgsky that is a feature piece of the original Fantasia film. The span of music is a first for Harmonix, and represents a fusion of music genres across music history. Classical songs are highlighted Italic, and any other genre of songs are highlighted regular. There are thirty-three songs in this game.
The original score for the game was written by Inon Zur, who also produced and orchestrated many other tracks in the game. The official soundtrack, consisting of Zur's original music, was released on October 21, 2014.
|Song title||Artist||Realm||Pink mix||Green mix||DLC mix|
|"Applause"||Lady Gaga||Bonus Songs/Tutorial||Heroes X Villains||Veldt||Arena|
|"Blue Monday"||New Order||The Plant||Orchestral||Whalley's Strange||Heroes X Villains|
|"Bohemian Rhapsody"||Queen||The Nation||Classical Arrangement||Metal||Fort Knox Five|
|"Eine kleine Nachtmusik"||Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart||The Shoal||Nassau||Chords|
|"Enjoy the Silence"||Depeche Mode||The Shadows||Speed of Dark||Chris Micali|
|"Feel Good Inc."||Gorillaz||The Plant||Melancholy Town||Case & Point||Danny Saber|
|"Fire"||The Jimi Hendrix Experience||Bonus Songs||Eddie Kramer Electronica/Analog||Eddie Kramer Orchestral|
|"Forget You"||CeeLo Green||The Neighborhood||'80s Rewind||Watch the Duck||Fi-Ya House|
|"The Four Seasons: Winter, 1st Movement"||Antonio Vivaldi||The Haven||Alt Rock||Steve Porter|
|"Galang"||M.I.A.||The Neighborhood||Saffron Harem||Inter:sect Spoon Party||Daizy D00K H00TENANNY|
|"Get Ur Freak On"||Missy Elliot||The Plant||Luke Boggia||Death of the Cool||ASMS|
|"Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2"||Franz Liszt||The Press||Hungarian on the Plain||Telecaster|
|"In Your Eyes"||Peter Gabriel||The Capsule||'79 Mixtape||Pardo Bros||Fort Knox Five|
|"Levels"||Avicii||The Cosmos||Inter:sect 6581||De7il's||0H S0METIMES|
|"Locked Out of Heaven"||Bruno Mars||The Cosmos||First Impossible||Ska||Fort Knox Five|
|"Main Theme"||Inon Zur||The Cliff||Closer to Inon||Four Way Stop|
|"Message in a Bottle"||The Police||The Shoal||Sending Out a CQD||Audrio||Metal in a Bottle|
|"Night on Bald Mountain"||Modest Mussorgsky||The Hollow||Hamilton||Neon Sabbath|
|"The Nutcracker Suite, Op 71a"||Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky||The Shadows||D00 BAH D00||DC Breaks|
|"Radioactive"||Imagine Dragons||Bonus Songs||Spirit Kid||Jake Staley|
|"The Real Me"||The Who||The Neighborhood||Orchestral||Big Vision of Little St. James||James Landino|
|"Rocket Man (I Think It's Going to Be a Long, Long Time)"||Elton John||The Capsule||'80s and Rainy||Dubspot Labs||Interstellar Man|
|"Royals"||Lorde||The Cliff||Hifalutin||Heroes X Villains||0I 0I 0I|
|"Scout's Song"||Inon Zur ft. Lindsey Stirling||The Cliff|
|"Settle Down"||Kimbra||The Haven||Spartacus||Golden Ratio|
|"Seven Nation Army"||The White Stripes||The Hollow||Micali X Bartlett||Steve Porter||Danny Saber|
|"Some Nights"||Fun.||The Haven||Ashtar Command Parallel||W@RBL3S||Mind Vortex|
|"Super Bass"||Nicki Minaj||The Cosmos||Soca||Jake Staley||She Always Fly|
|"Symphony No. 9: From the New World, 4th Movement"||Antonín Dvořák||The Nation||1-1||Remix for Big Band|
|"Take Care"||Drake ft. Rihanna||The Shadows||Steve Porter||Pentatonix Vocal||Erik Jourgensen|
|"Toccata and Fugue in D minor, BWV 565"||Johann Sebastian Bach||Bonus Songs/Tutorial||Organ||Synth|
|"Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1"||The Flaming Lips||The Press||Mumbai||Grimecraft|
|"Ziggy Stardust"||David Bowie||Bonus Songs||Orchestral||Ashtar Command Parallel|
In addition to the on-disc setlist, there is also downloadable content which consists of 18 songs and three remix expansion packs. Three of the DLC songs are available as a pre-order bonus with retail copies of the game. The three remix packs are included with pre-orders of the either the standard digital copy or the digital deluxe copy of the game on Xbox One. The digital deluxe bundle on Xbox One included immediate access to all DLC for the game, which included all 18 songs and three remix packs. Those who purchase the standard digital bundle or the retail disc do not have early access to the DLC and have to wait for each track to become available before purchasing. Purchasing all of the DLC individually will cost approximately $48 in total.
|Song title||Artist||Realm||Pink mix||Green mix||Release date|
|"Paradise"||Coldplay||The Hollow||Erik Jourgensen||0NEPAIR||11/11/14|
|"Spoonman"||Soundgarden||The Press||Black Wave Paranoia||Danny Saber||11/11/14|
|"Try it Out"||Skrillex and Alvin Risk||The Plant||11/11/14|
|"Burn"||Ellie Goulding||The Nation||Tree Adams||Philharmonix||11/24/14|
|"Just Like Heaven"||The Cure||The Shoal||First Impossible||Fort Knox Five||11/24/14|
|"Lucky Strike"||Maroon 5||The Hollow||Dubspot Labs||Lindseystomp||11/24/14|
|"Burning Down the House"||Talking Heads||The Neighborhood||Nola '74||Boomtwins 'Nought But Ashes||12/9/14|
|"DONE."||The Band Perry||The Shoal||Tree Adams||Sonic ATS||12/9/14|
|"Stay the Night"||Zedd ft. Hayley Williams||The Capsule||Brain & Melissa||Death of the Cool||12/9/14|
|"Counting Stars" 1||OneRepublic||The Cosmos||Tree Adams||Stars Hoe Down||12/23/14|
|"The Edge of Glory"||Lady Gaga||The Nation||Inter:sect||Kirv||12/23/14|
|"Let It Go" 1||Demi Lovato||The Haven||Cole Plante||L||12/23/14|
|"It's the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)"||R.E.M.||The Neighborhood||XPUNK||MTM||1/6/15|
|"Lay Me Down" 1||Avicii||The Plant||L@y M3 D%wn||WatchTheDuck||1/6/15|
|"You Make Me"||Avicii||The Press||Bayreuth||Mystery Skulls||1/6/15|
|"As Long as You Love Me"||Justin Bieber ft. Big Sean||The Cosmos||Glitchtronic||Cole Plante||1/20/15|
|"Closer"||Ne-Yo||The Shadows||WatchTheDuck||Mall Goth||1/20/15|
|"I Cry"||Flo Rida||The Shadows||Dubspot Labs||Death Of The Cool||1/20/15|
1 Song is also available through a special promotion.
Remix Expansion Packs
The remix expansion packs are included with both digital versions of the game on Xbox One. These expansion packs do not provide new songs, instead they provide additional remixes for the on-disc songs.
Dance Expansion Pack
- "Get Ur Freak On" - Missy Elliott
- "In Your Eyes" - Peter Gabriel
- "Rocket Man" - Elton John
- "Some Nights" - Fun
- "Take Care" - Drake (feat. Rhianna)
- "The Real Me" - The Who
Pop Expansion Pack
- "Blue Monday" - New Order
- "Bohemian Rhapsody" - Queen
- "Forget You" - Cee Lo Green
- "Levels" - AVICII
- "Seven Nation Army" - The White Stripes
- "Super Bass" - Nicki Minaj
Rock Expansion Pack
- "Applause" - Lady Gaga
- "Feel Good Inc." - Gorillaz
- "Galang" - M.I.A.
- "Locked Out of Heaven" - Bruno Mars
- "Message in a Bottle" - The Police
- "Royals" - Lorde
Kevin VanOrd of GameSpot described the game as "overflowing with charm" and that it "makes me feel like a graceful performance artist, a skillful sorcerer, and a master musician all at once".
Miranda Sanchez, writing for IGN, said the game "provides a surprising amount of control and personalization options over each song, which is paired with fun gameplay to bring a fresh new style to the music game genre".
Susan Arendt from Joystiq gave the game a 8/10, praising its animation, distant personality between different locale, remix songs which has extended the lifespan of each song, as well as the Kinect control. However, he criticized the composition spells, as he stated that the feature has needlessly interrupt the core rhythm game.
Ashley Reed from GamesRadar gave the game a 8/10, praising the wide range of songs and remixes, but criticizing the forgettable levels, weak story, as well as persistent issues detecting certain movements.
Chris Carter from Destructoid praised the rewarding and solid gameplay, flexible, intuitive control, as well as an in-game mechanic which allow players to change up the theme dynamically.
Griffin McElroy from Polygon gave the game a 7/10 only, praising its core mechanics as well as the sense of ownership over music delivered, but criticizing the unnecessary unlock system, lack of difficulty setting and exhausting gameplay.
- Fantasia: Music Evolved on Facebook
- Harmonix’s Alex Rigopulos on reinventing music games with Disney’s Fantasia (exclusive interview)
- Harmonix makes players musical magicians in Fantasia: Music Evolved
- Music, movement are new realms for classic 'Fantasia'
- Fantasia: Music Evolved Review
- Fantasia Gets Release Date, New Songs & Area
- Kinect and Classical Music: A Match Made in Disney Heaven?
- New Artists confirmed for Fantasia: Music Evolved! (UPDATE)
- Full Fantasia Song Lust Unveiled at PAX Prime 2014
- Disney announces Inon Zur as Composer and Music Producer for DISNEY FANTASIA: MUSIC EVOLVED
- Fantasia: Music Evolved Original Soundtrack
- Fantasia: Music Evolved DLC List Revealed
- Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved Pre-Order Bonuses Revealed
- Fantasia DLC Release Schedule Information
- Fantasia DLC Cost Information
- Fantasia: Music Evolved for Xbox One
- Fantasia: Music Evolved for Xbox One Reviews
- Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved Review
- Fantasia: Music Evolved review: The rhythm is gonna get you
- Fantasia: Music Evolved review
- Review: Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved
- Fantasia: Music Evolved: Note to Note
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