Harmonix, MTV, Apple Corps Announce Beatles
A conference call today attended by Gamasutra revealed that a "dedicated, custom" video game framed around the Beatles songs is on its way.
"Today we're announcing an exclusive partnership with Apple Corps, MTV Games and Harmonix to create a brand-new video game featuring the iconic music of The Beatles," said Van Toffler, MTV Music, Films and Logo group president.
"We're not in the business of producing standalone games for every artist that's out there... but [for] a monumental band like The Beatles, it's the perfect confluence."
Apple Corps CEO Jeff Jones noted that the title will mark the first time Beatles music has ever been signed on for representation in a video game format. "In MTV and Harmonix, we see partners that admire the Beatles and Apple's original spirit and vision," said Jones.
The announcement comes following a joint announcement teased by MTV Games and rights-holder Apple Corps yesterday which prompted many to speculate that Beatles songs would be arriving in Rock Band, but a stand-alone exclusive music title takes a step beyond the rumors.
"This is a once in a lifetime opportunity," said Harmonix's Alex Rigopoulos.
"We have been up and running on this project for some time now... and I want to make it clear that this game is not just a Rock Band song expansion pack."
"It will be a new, full-blown, custom game title production built from the ground up," he stressed.
Rigopoulos clarified that the new game would not be under the Rock Band banner but would be its own individual title -- and said that interoperability with Rock Band instruments is "something we're not ready to talk about yet," though he did say it would be "an interactive music-making game [with] interactive performance of the Beatles' music."
He promised further details on the title in the coming months, and did not comment on whether or not Beatles music would also be coming to the existing Rock Band franchise.
Few details on the nature and content of the gameplay itself were revealed on the conference call, but a simultaneous worldwide release next year was confirmed.
And though Rigopolous declined to confirm how many Beatles songs would be included in the game, it looks like the aim is to incorporate as many as possible: "Certainly it is our intention to address the entire span of the Beatles catalog over their entire career."
Questions regarding whether or not the game would contain a competitive element versus a focus on simply engaging with the music were not addressed. Nor did any of the participants on the conference call disclose financial details of the partnership.
The official press announcement released today says the game was "creatively conceived" with input from remaining Beatles Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, the wives of late band members John Lennon and George Harrison. Beatles LOVE project co-producer Giles Martin will also serve as music producer for the project.
"The project is a fun idea which broadens the appeal of The Beatles and their music. I like people having the opportunity to get to know the music from the inside out," said McCartney.
"It gives me great pleasure to be part of The Beatles / Apple and Harmonix / Rock Band partnership," added Starr.
"The Beatles continue to evolve with the passing of time and how wonderful that The Beatles’ legacy will find its natural progression into the 21st century through the computerized world we live in. Let the games commence."
"It’s cool," said Ono of the game. "I love it, and hope it will keep inspiring and encouraging the young generation for many decades."