Fantasia: Music Evolved
At PAX Prime, Harmonix showcased a new region of its fantastical Kinect game, Fantasia: Music Evolved.
The Haven starts off as a darkened winter forest drawn in the art style of Daniel Danger. Between the branches of barren birch trees, stars shine brightly in the sky. As players wipe away icicles, they collect prisms filled with magic that feed into a meter. Once the meter is completely filled, the player can unlock one of the three songs featured on the level: Fun's "Some Nights," Kimbra's "Settle Down," or Vivaldi's Winter movement from "Four Seasons."
Songs are peformed making sweeping motions to align with the on-screen icons. How you go about this is up to you. Some perform like conductors to a symphony, and I saw others do it while dancing. When players successfully perform one of the songs, they are given a transofrmation key that alters the environment. When the first key is applied, the sun starts to rise and a sea monster emerges from the middle of the forest. The second transformational key brings a yeti out of hibernation, who then plays hide and seek with the player.
Once all of the songs are unlocked, players can enter a remix mode that allows them to apply different musical styles to the song of their choice. For the sake of this demo, former GI editor and current Harmonix community manager Annette Gonzalez chooses Vivaldi's "Four Seasons." As you perform, a color wheel appears that allows the you to select a new music style to apply to the song. In this case, the choices are a surf rock sound, dubstep, and a more traditional classical approach. Applying these gives the player a sense of ownership over the song, as you can easily jump from style to style in the middle of a song.
Fantasia: Music Evolved isn't an easy game to describe, but the whimsical world, free-form gameplay, and Harmonix pedigree combine to make a rhythm-based experience unlike anything we've ever seen before. Featuring more than 30 songs and several different realms to explore, Harmonix plans to release the game in 2014 for Kinect-enabled Xbox 360s and the Xbox One.