As we move forward from the ‘10s (is that what we called them?) and into the ‘20s, there’s been a lot of looking back at some of the best things that came out of the last ten years. And while there’s those big drops that everyone was talking about, there’s also some games (many, probably) that touched us on a personal level or from smaller companies and creators that really made an impact and gained a sort of cult following.
Undertale is one such game. It’s an RPG (roleplaying game) that emphasizes choice above all else. You are able to fight your way through its fantasy world or choose to do something different as you come across the different areas and their occupants–from dancing to conversing, even wiggling. And, as much as people loved its clever gameplay, they also adored its soundtrack.
Enter Chicago-based “acoustic dectet” Fifth House Ensemble, a group of incredibly talented musicians with a focus on the impact of music and art on people in all walks of life, and also on creating unique, immersive concert experiences. The ensemble’s Artistic Director, Dan Visconti, had his own immersive experience with a video game back in 2012 when he sat down to play gorgeous indie darling Journey.
The feeling that game gave, of the experience of a journey and the immersive sights and sounds were akin to an opera, Visconti told Gamegrooves in a December 2019 interview, and he was hooked on bringing games, a sometimes overlooked medium, into a space where anything outside the norm was challenged, like with chamber music. He created Journey LIVE and after a phenomenally successful showing with it on Kickstarter and the show itself, set out to do it again, with another game that captivated–Undertale.
Undertale LIVE has had its own cult following since the idea first got announced, and the ensemble got permission to move forward with the project from the game’s developer and composer, Toby Fox, to proceed with creating a totally unique show that really played off the game’s narrative of making choices and travelling different paths. And tomorrow, all the hard work, livestreams and rehearsals culminate in the world premiere of Fifth House Ensemble, Materia Collective and award-winning producer AWR Music Productions (who produced Distant Worlds: Music from FINAL FANTASY and A New World: intimate music from FINAL FANTASY) new show, Undertale LIVE at the Studebaker Theater.
The show is unique to each audience and theater that experiences it, as it allows attendees to actively shape the narrative via voting. Each choice made in each evening’s storyline, then, is defined by those in attendance, and what they hear and see as a result will be different each time. This echoes the game’s different paths, but its creators assure that it still allows for fans of Undertale to hear their favorites from other paths if audience voting doesn’t go the way they expected.
With a fanbase of four million and an active Twitch stream that’s been following the creation of the live concert experience, it was no surprise that the show nearly sold out well before doors open this weekend–January 11 and 12. As it stands, there’s now a second showing that was added for January 12, with some VIP packages even still available that’ll net you special seating, a poster, and a digital album download, or premium seating and a T-shirt, but the second showing too is selling out fast.
It’s clear whether or not you’ve played Undertale that the game has affected both the performers and fans immensely, letting them know there are other paths they can follow and better choices they can make, and bringing beautiful music to their lives as well. So whether you pick up Undertale on Steam to play through before the show (or after), have it already amongst your most beloved game experiences, or simply want to hear something unique, innovative and new, we recommend seeing if you can’t get to the Studebaker this weekend and enjoy the interactive storytelling and sounds of Undertale: LIVE
For more information on the show, click here.