So, as the internet is more than likely aware by now, Harmonix Music Systems has announced a new game: a video game adaptation of the classic Disney series, Fantasia.The announcement trailer has drawn much ire for looking and sounding like any other modern dance game: preppy, middle-class dancers, flailing to modern pop hits. The reception to the video has been less than stellar to say the least? As for me? I feel a bit differently. I’m excited.
Every Harmonix game I’ve ever played (and I have played and/or own most of them) has been a gem. I love the concept, and I’m liking the modern soundtrack I’m seeing so far. As if should happen, Harmonix has also confirmed via the game’s Twitter there will be classical music in the songlist as well. Harmonix is not one to disrespect sources like that (see The Beatles: Rock Band). As a fan of both Fantasiaand Harmonix, I personally find it funny that there is a rather large group of people who don’t seem to realize who is making this game. If it was anyone else, I would likely be with them, but I have faith in Harmonix. They have never let me down in the past, and I don’t anticipate to be let down now, judging from what I am seeing.
Fantasia was always about coupling music and visuals together in a harmonious fashion. Classical music has always been the base in previous Fantasias, yes, but are we so closed-minded as to think that classical music is the only music that can have such potential? Let us use an example many people don’t seem to use often, dubstep.
In a modern dubstep selection, there is an almost ludicrous amount of audio/visual potential. What can be brought to life from the drumline? The sweeping synths? The drop, a still before the violent wobble bass in the “verse?” Anything could be woven from the threads a dubstep song provides, from a bloody war in the ancient times to a bittersweet love story 200 years from now. It’s all what you make of it.
In a song like Bohemian Rhapsody, what comes to your mind when you hear it? What do you see in your mind’s eye? What scenes spring out, what story can you tell? What about Levels? Settle Down? Even something like Locked Out of Heaven can tell a beautiful story through its sound. The vocals are not the only part of the song; anything could spring out of the music! It’s a magnificent feeling! All music, from every generation, every period, every genre, can craft a story. All it takes is an open ear, and an open mind.
On the gameplay, we haven’t seen that much of actual gameplay, if any at all. We have to remember this trailer did not show much other than people “playing” the game and the screenshots. The screenshots show me a picture of “conducting” the game, if you will: using hand movements, you modify the environment, which will move with music. Of course, I cannot be sure this is what’s happening until I see it in action, but this is what I am gathering as I view them. Sound and visuals seem to be manipulated together, conducting both with a wave of your hand. You are the conductor, as Mickey was moving the brooms. You are not watching Fantasia. You are Fantasia. And that, my friend, is an experience I cannot wait to feel for myself.
I am not asking you to change your opinion, I’m not even trying to sway it; I am simply trying to show you my view on this title. I am excited with what I am seeing, and with the confirmation of classical music being a part of it in true Fantasia fashion, even more so. Harmonix is a company of musicians. The lengths they went to respect The Beatles in TB: RBwas astounding, and made me realize how much they truly care about what they do.All I ask, is have a little faith in them. Harmonix knows what they’re doing. If they didn’t, Disney wouldn’t give this to them. Disney doesn’t screw around with Fantasia.
Fantasia lives on. The pop music only hurts if you let it, and we haven’t even seen what the realized visions and tales are like for them yet. Who knows? Maybe the fresh meat goes hand in hand with the aged-to-perfection wine.