While news has been quiet since the game's original reveal, Turbo Tap Games and progressive metal band Dream Theater's collaboration on The Astonishing, a game based on the concept album of the same name, is set to release in February. This digital board/strategy game, inspired by Turbo Tape's UHR-Warlords [$3.99 (HD)], the game will reenact the album's story from both sides of the conflict between the Raveskill Rebel Militia and the totalitarian Great Northern Empire of the Americas, with players taking on both campaigns that meet in an endgame scenario. Along with following the album's story, instrumentals of the album's music will provide the game's soundtrack, along with video material that was only available during live shows of The Astonishing in 2016.

For those who don't know, The Astonishing is based on the album by the same name by the band Dream Theater, who made a 2-disc, 130-minute long album surrounding the story the game takes place in. Deciphering any progressive music concept album can be tough, but the story basically involves rebels against a totalitarian government using the power of art and music to resist their oppressors, sparking a revolution. There's a lot of material on the album and the world that the band created, that wound up being fit for a game that Turbo Tape Games wound up developing.

Dream Theater is perhaps the preeminent progressive metal band in history, thanks in part to having a minor hit song with "Pull Me Under" from their debut album Images and Words. It was to be their only hit, as the radio stopped playing lengthy compositions with different time signatures at some point. Or really, they just started ingoring metal altogether. But plenty of metalheads still love Dream Theater (though their style of composition and singing can be an acquired taste), and they play much bigger venues than you would expect a band that plays their music to play. The band has become regarded as excellent musicians – Mike Portnoy, their former long-time drummer, is regarded as one of the best drummers in all of metal – for example. Rock Band 2 players should be familiar with "Panic Attack* from their Octavarium album, and they know how devilish their music can be to attempt to play back even on plastic instruments. And while they don't get radio play, albums like Metropolis, Pt. 2: Scenes From a Memory, a concept album that started with a single track off of Images and Words, have proven popular amongst the progressive rock and metal subcultures.

So, while The Atonishing Game is releasing close to a year after the album released, there's another good tie-in here, with the Images and Words 25th Anniversary Tour happening in Europe early in 2017. And the plan is for there to be giveaways for tickets and post-concert VIP passes, though the only dates for the 25th Anniversary Tour at the moment are in Europe. Still, expect this one hit in February on iOS, Android, Mac, and PC. It will be a one-time purchase without IAP, and free updates are planned down the road for The Astonishing.

  • lezrock

    Nice! As a pro drummer and musician for myself I can only admire that mix of music, art & game. Color me excited!

  • geoelectric

    First album was When Dream and Day Unite. Images and Words was their second album.

  • Bone16

    One of the best double albums ever! I think there hasn't been one made this good since Pink Floyd's The Wall 👍

    • Magellan

      I've gotta disagree. The Astonishing is (mostly) pretty awful. I mean there's probably 20 or 30 good minutes of music hidden somewhere in that bloated mess, so maybe if it had been a 1-disc album instead of a double it may have been OK. As it is though, I think it's by far their worst album. 🙁
      It pains me to say that too, since I'm a long-time fan (for about 25 years) that owns everything they've ever done, and has seen them live 10+ times, so this isn't coming from a hater.

      • Bone16

        Did you see the concert? You might have a different perspective then