Majesco QA: Zumba Fitness: World Party and the Power of a New Generation

In “Zumba Fitness: World Party,” take your work out to Brazil, Hawaii and beyond in this exotic journey packed with rhythms and culture from around the world.  Check out the Xbox Wire exclusive interview below with Majesco Entertainment Executive Producer, Lisa Roth, and Chief Technology Officer/Head of Development, Kevin Ray, and stay tuned for more news and insights from other renowned developers of the hottest and most anticipated games coming to Xbox.

What are you most excited about for developing on new generation hardware?

The Xbox One is an exciting piece of hardware.  The new architecture, and Microsoft’s system software, has opened up a lot of possibilities. We are leveraging the new technology to manipulate HD Film in real-time.  The basic premise is that you’re interacting with a movie – not by branching, but by causing the scene to come alive through your move
ment. The Xbox One allows us to synchronize many streams of HD data in parallel, delivering a completely unique experience each time the game is played.

How will a new generation of hardware impact the future of “Zumba Fitness World Party?”

Overall, the visual quality of the games will continue to make huge strides. Our production path looks more and more like feature film production. The Xbox One hardware allows us to deliver multiple layers of HD Film with hundreds of video textured sprites, all with dynamic lighting, shading and particles.  The future is akin to a virtual movie set where your actions dictate the movie that is created with HD Film-like quality.

How is the visual experience of “Zumba Fitness World Party” different from other “Zumba” titles?

“Zumba Fitness World Party” utilizes visuals of real backgrounds and real dancers so players actually feel like they are dancing in exotic locations around the world. We’ve departed from the animated look of our past games to create a unique visual identity that feels more like interactive HD film. This approach delivers the best aspects of what video games and fitness DVDs have to offer in a way that more closely connects the player to each in-game instructor. The new graphic presentation has been very well received by consumers, retailers and media alike so that kind of validation makes the resource investment worthwhile.   

What kind of process did you go through in choosing the soundtrack for the game? How did you ensure an international feel?

Delivering an international feel was essential and this was a massive team effort. In many cases, we selected music based on the experiences we had abroad with expert choreographers in various genres of dance. For instance, in Puerto Rico we took a class with Daddy Yankee’s choreographer to experience the emerging style of Girly Funk (a sexy, female version of reggaeton). The music he used in our workshop was so hot that we ended up licensing the track and adding the choreography into the game. We had a similar situation with Tabitha and Napoleon Dumo (“So You Think You Can Dance” choreographers).

This talented husband and wife team created some amazing music video choreography for the new Herb Alpert rendition of “Puttin’ on the Ritz,” a true American classic. We licensed the track and modified the choreography to fit the “Zumba” formula in “World Party.” We even licensed the music video as an exclusive XBOX One unlockable reward.

Throughout the entire process we had a dedicated music team that met several times per week. We started with a list of rhythms that we needed in order to deliver the 30+ dance styles supported in game. Then we narrowed down our choices to a hit list of ideal tracks to represent salsa, Tahitian, pop, hip-hop, etc. It was a lengthy process but an invaluable one—“World Party” features an unparalleled soundtrack composed of chart-topping hits, Zumba Originals and well known tracks from the countries featured in game. 

How do players unlock bonus content in “Zumba Fitness World Party?”

Players unlock content in Quickplay mode by earning 3 stars on any routine. In the new World Tour mode they can unlock rewards by earning Zumba miles as they dance routines in featured destinations. Bonus content includes videos, souvenirs, passport stamps and postcards which can be shared via Facebook. 

What culture/country impressed and or taught you the most while travelling abroad to film the different locales and Zumba Fitness Instructors for “Zumba Fitness World Party?”

Experiencing a culture through dance is extraordinarily insightful. Each country was impressive in its own way, so it’s hard to pick just one. In Brazil, for example, Beto Perez (Zumba’s Founder and COO), and our team were escorted into a favela which became the backdrop for our in-game Brazil environment. There was danger and poverty everywhere and yet there was happy music around every corner. When we arrived at the venue where musicians and dancers where performing Afro Samba, it transformed into the most joyous, jubilant place on earth. It was a true testament to the power of music and dance.

Hawaii was also impressive because Hula is based on a direct connection to the island land. Every movement has a meaning; whether referring to wind or rain, it’s all about nature. Dancing Hula in Hawaii, amidst the stunning landscape, was unforgettable. Each country had its own flavor and special connection to dance. Our challenge was to capture the authenticity of each style within “World Party.”