Disney Plans 'Fantasia' Game for Xbox (Video)

6:00 AM PST 06/04/2013 by Paul Bond
Walt Disney
"Fantasia" the movie

"Fantasia: Music Evolved," which allows players to remix songs, will include music from Queen and Bruno Mars.

Disney is turning its groundbreaking 73-year-old animated feature film Fantasia into a video game, though with music from classic rockers and contemporary artists.

The game, Fantasia: Music Evolved, is scheduled for release next year on Microsoft’s upcoming Xbox One and its Xbox 360 platforms.

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Using Microsoft’s motion-sensing Kinect system, players wave their arms, push the palms of their hands in various directions and generally move to the music in an effort to actually remix songs. Onscreen, all that moving around is also allowing them to explore and alter their visual environments.

The game will come with more than two dozen songs, each including its original version and remixes that players can remix further in multiple ways through their body gestures.

The five songs Disney announced Tuesday are "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen; "Locked Out of Heaven" by Bruno Mars; "Settle Down" by Kimbra; "Levels" by Avicii; and "Some Nights" by Fun.

Disney didn’t disclose the financial arrangements it has with the artists. In a nod to the original Fantasia, which features music by Bach, Tchaikovsky and more, some classical music will also make an appearance.

The game was developed over two years by Harmonix, the company behind games like Dance Central and Rock Band, and will include the ability for players to share the remixed versions of songs with others. It’s a feature that insiders say Disney worked hard on, given it had to navigate tricky licensing issues.

“It lets you be part of the creative process of a song. Once you put so much energy into making it yours, we know you’ll want to share it,” says John Drake, director of brand management for Harmonix. “Disney, being the awesome media partner they are, secured a very good rights portfolio.”

While the film Fantasia starred Mickey Mouse as an apprentice to sorcerer Yen Sid, insiders say the iconic cartoon character isn’t a primary focus of the video game, as he is in Epic Mickey, a game from Junction Point Studios that also uses Yen Sid as a plot point. Disney recently shut down Junction Point after softening sales of Epic Mickey.

Disney's top brass have been putting pressure on the conglomerate’s interactive unit to turn a profit. In the fiscal second quarter, Disney’s interactive segment lost $54 million on $194 million revenue. The unit is making a big bet on Disney Infinity, a high-tech hybrid of a traditional action figure and a video game that is due Aug. 18.

The Fantasia movie first had a limited release in 1940, then several wider releases through the years. It has earned $76.4 million worldwide at the box office. A sequel, Fantasia 2000, was released in 1999 and earned $60.7 million worldwide.

See a trailer for Fantasia: Music Evolved below.

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