The Beatles are coming to Rock Band!

Beatles and Rock Band

After much speculation about an upcoming game, it has been confirmed that the Beatles will be coming to a game produced by Harmonix, the makers of Rock Band. There is much to be excited about, besides the fact that this has to do with The Beatles.

Just the details, ma’am

Wired live blogged the event and while much of it is tangential ephemera, there’s a good summary at the top. The key points: The deal is exclusive, the game will be released during the 2009 holiday season, the game won’t be branded with the “Rock Band” name, and Giles Martin will be involved!

The lack of the “Rock Band” name was expected – The Beatles clearly didn’t want to dilute their trademark but from what I am guessing, the core gameplay will remain the same, with the “musical and visual journey” providing lots of trivia, information and history to placate rabid fans, such as myself. (Think of it as Rock Band fused with The Beatles Anthology)

Not just a cash-grab

Also surprising is Giles Martin’s involvement. Giles, the son of Sir George Martin, famed producer of The Beatles, collaborated with his father to produce the 2006 Love compilation album that was also the soundtrack for the identically-named Cirque du Soleil performance. I quite enjoyed the album, so I’m hoping some of that experience will brought over to the game. I’m sure that George Martin would love to be involved himself, save for his age.

Coupled with the fact that The Beatles are known for resisting undue use of their trademark, I believe this will make the game more than just a cheap one-timer meant to empty the pockets of fans. Harmonix, the developers of the original Guitar Hero and Rock Band also have a good track record for originality. While Rock Band 2 wasn’t too much of an improvement over the already great original, there’s no denying it’s not a good game. (I have yet to write my full review of the game, but check out my preview for more)

One point of interest that sure to be a sore wound for Activision is the fact that the deal is exclusive. This means that there’s no possibility of The Beatles appearing in a Guitar Hero game, unlike other artists (such as Oasis) that have tracks available in both series’ games.

The Songs: What’s important

From what I’ve read, the game will feature a variety of songs from their early days (Please Please Me) to their final days together in the studio. (Abbey Road). Obviously, some songs are a natural fit (While My Guitar Gently Weeps) others would just not work with a game. (Revolution 9)

Wired is holding an online poll where you can vote up the songs you’d like to see in the Beatles game. I suggest you take part and voice your opinion, since Harmonix, the developers, are known to check Internet forums for feedback on what songs to include in upcoming games.

My personal preferences have already been stated.

Changing the game

A Beatles music game has real potential to be wildly successful. Besides the fanatics (like myself) who are already in love with Rock Band and The Beatles, a properly-executed game will have potential to drawn in an older generation to video games, and at the same time, introduce the awesome music of The Beatles to a younger generation, that, for whatever tragic reason, has yet to appreciate the wide range of their abilities.

Even though the likely release date is over a year away, it’s safe to say that I’m excited. Very excited!

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