When we first learned of the development of Darkstar back in 2004, the game's cinematics were to feature over an hour of the music of Rush.
Unfortunately, negotiations broke down with Universal Music who control the use of most of the songs, and last summer the producers were forced to remove all Rush from the soundtrack and replace it with original music.
"We are now negotiating with Universal and Atlantic to include the following songs to be featured in the feature length scifi film that serves as back-story to the project: Anthem, Bastille Day, The Twilight Zone, Cygnus X-1, Cygnus X-1 Book II, Tom Sawyer, YYZ, The Camera Eye, Witch Hunt, Vital Signs, Subdivisions, Red Sector A, The Enemy Within, Red Lenses, Mystic Rhythms, Manhattan Project, Time Stand Still, Test for Echo, Time and Motion, Limbo, One Little Victory and Nocturne. The band and their management has approved the use of all of these songs, but final negotiations must be completed with Universal and Atlantic before we can announce the final songlist. We're hoping we can include this entire list." - J. Allen Williams/Parallax Studio L.L.C., December, 2009
As a Rush fan, the first question that came to mind was, "who replaced Rush?" Well, the old adage "if you want something done right, do it yourself" came into play as J. Allen Williams, who not only wrote, produced, directed and animated the game, also stepped up to the plate to co-write the soundtrack with musical partners Bill Bruce (guitars) and Jimmy Pitts (keyboards). As it turns out, in another lifetime the multi-talented Williams also played bass in the 80's band "Wilder". The band regrouped, and along with additional members, formed "Progressive Sound and Metal Worx" to record 38 original songs for Darkstar. The final product is a progressive metal soundscape that will satisfy any progressive rock fan. The 2CD original soundtrack is also available for purchase at Darkstarstore.com; here is the opening track of the soundtrack album, "Surfing The Velvet Abyss".
"'The band gave us a green light years ago, but tough negotiations with Universal more recently have gone nowhere - and at the end of the day, they own the RUSH masters. They simply want too much money, more than was ever talked about during this process.' commented Studio owner J. Allen Williams. 'At this point we've made the difficult decision to pull the music and produce an original score for Darkstar so we can release, and that is now in process. We wish it could have gone better for both RUSH and our project, but that's Hollywood for you. Clearance rights were our last worry as we were told repeatedly over the years that the band was behind us. Anthem encouraged us to talk about it in interviews, which we did.' said Williams. 'We are disappointed, of course, as I'm sure there will be fans who have been writing us for so long waiting to see their favorite band in Darkstar. I have a true love for RUSH and a vision that could have glorified them to a new generation of listeners. It sucks, it's sad, but that's the final word.' Darkstar began production in mid-2000, featuring the original cast of the television series Mystery Science Theater 3000, Clive Robertson (Sunset Beach), and was veteran actor Peter Graves final performance. Darkstar is back on schedule for release now that these issues are resolved." - Darkstar Press Release, July 1, 2010
The game features the entire original cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000 as well as Clive Robertson as the captain. I have had the opportunity to take "The Westwick" (the starship featured in the game) for a test drive, and the anticipation was well deserved. The game opens with an elaborate opening film comprised of live action and CGI elements, which concludes with your character, Captain John O'Neil, waking up from hibernation after 312 years. As it happens, your character coincidentally has amnesia, so as you begin the game your first task is to learn as much about yourself and your surroundings as possible. Described as an interactive movie, the game play at first glance is similar to that of Myst, but much more cinematic in nature.
For more information, visit Darkstar.gs.