Fantasia: Music Evolved

Key events

E3 2014: the relaunch of brand Xbox One

Microsoft's 90 minute E3 2014 show was all about the games. How things have changed.

I remember in May last year, when Microsoft unveiled the Xbox One at a press conference in Redmond, the focus was on TV, TV, and more TV. As you'd expect, the reaction from gamers - and developers - was far from positive.

This, coupled with the controversy surrounding Microsoft's U-turns on game sharing, second hand and always online, and the power difference compared to Sony's cheaper PlayStation 4, meant Xbox One launched under a cloud of cynicism among core gamers - those early adopters who Microsoft needed the most.

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Fantasia: Music Evolved release date set for October

Harmonix's Kinect-exclusive music game Fantasia: Music Evolved is due for a worldwide launch on 21st October for Xbox One and Xbox 360, the developer has announced.

The motion-based rhythm game will include over 30 songs, with the most recently announced including Depeche Mode's Enjoy the Silence, The Who's The Real Me, Police's Message in a Bottle, Drake's Take Care, MIA's Galang, and Tchaikovsky's holiday classic The Nutcracker Medley.

Now if only Disney would awkwardly merge its brand with Joy Division again.

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Last month Disney's Chris Nicholls told me that one of the goals behind its upcoming Kinect-exclusive Fantasia game was to "create the most eclectic soundtrack ever in a video game." It looks like developer Harmonix is well on its way to do just that with newly announced additions to its playlist including Cee Lo Green's Forget You - i.e. the censored version of F*** You - alongside Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik and Peter Gabriel's In Your Eyes (best known as the song Lloyd Dobler plays while holding a boom box over his head in Say Anything).

How the Kinect exclusive Fantasia messes with the classics

Change is scary. Hearing Ziggy Stardust intermittently throughout one's life means the last thing you'd want to do is alter David Bowie's 70s classic glam rock anthem. But Harmonix's upcoming Fantasia: Music Evolved encourages players to muck about with their most beloved tunes. This doesn't always sound amazing, but more often than not, Fantasia's player inputs sounds wonderful in ways you'd never imagine.

The basic gameplay involves dancing/punching/karate chopping your way through a series of onscreen prompts sort of like a musical Fruit Ninja, but between sections you're given the opportunity to choose between one of three versions of a song for various instruments. There's always the original track for purists, but if you ever wondered what Ziggy Stardust would sound like as a chiptunes affair or jazz club ditty, there are options for that.

Play with two players and whoever performs best during each section gets to make this choice. Sometimes this is aggravating, such as when I play with Disney's Chris Nicholls who decides to replace David Bowie's vocals with a synthesised Robot Bowie (the fiend!). But when he opts to re-imagine Bohemian Rhapsody's midsection as a classical ballad I initially resist, but am pleasantly surprised by the results.

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