MTV Games announced Thursday (March 5) that the world's first video game that will allow gamers to play along to the music of [artist id="969"]the Beatles[/artist] will be released at the end of the Summer. And the game's got a name: "The Beatles: Rock Band."
The project, released alongside replica Beatles instruments that connect to the game, will ship on September 9, for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and the Wii.
"The Beatles: Rock Band" is being made by "Rock Band" creators at MTV-owned Harmonix Music Systems and, even though it's not being pushed as a "Rock Band" spin-off, it bears many of that series' signature hallmarks. That means that it will include a dense track list that multiple gamers can play along to on the mic, on the guitar, on the bass or on the drums.
For those who already have one of the hit music games that have been all the rage in gaming lately, "The Beatles: Rock Band" will be available as a stand-alone disc of Beatles tracks that can be played using guitars, drums and a microphone, à la "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band."
For Beatles maniacs, however, there's another option: The game will also be sold with instruments — Beatles-style instruments. The publishing folks at MTV Games won't say which vintage Beatles guitars and drums they're modeling the instruments on just yet, but fans of John, Paul, George and Ringo might as well start speculating.
Some questions remain, of course. The official track list hasn't been announced, nor have some key features, like whether the music in the game can be imported to the official "Rock Band" interface in the manner that allowed "Rock Band 2" gamers to import and play all the songs released in the very first "Rock Band" game. With a September release, the makers of the game have plenty of time to clarify.
This will be the first major "Rock Band"-related product to ship on the Wii at the same time as other platforms. The Wii, 360 and PS3 versions are priced at $59.99. The games will be sold with one guitar for $99.99, or in a full band kit for $249.99.
MTV has created the game in conjunction with the Apple Corps, which holds the rights to the Beatles music. The game has received creative input from Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with Yoko Ono Lennon and Olivia Harrison. In the original announcement for the game, Ono said, "It's cool. I love it and hope it will keep inspiring and encouraging the young generation for many decades." Giles Martin, a music director on the Cirque du Soleil show "Love" and son of Beatles producer George Martin, will serve as music producer on the game.
Band-specific music games have been rising in popularity. After a couple of years of straightforward "Guitar Hero" and "Rock Band" games, Activision launched "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith" in mid-2008. In the fall, MTV shipped "Rock Band: AC/DC Live." This month, Activision delivers "Guitar Hero: Metallica."
The Beatles certainly up the ante. How do you top that?
For more on "The Beatles: Rock Band" and many other video games, check out our gaming blog at Multiplayer.MTV.com.