How 'The Beatles: Rock Band' Was Born

Creative director Josh Randall recalls how seemingly impossible game came to be.

Ever since 2005, when the original "Guitar Hero" made a splash in the rhythm-gaming market, there have been a few bands people have been dying to see in a video game. The Beatles were one of the bands on a lot of wish lists, but no one really expected that they would be willing to license their music out for use in a rhythm game. But, improbably, the release of "The Beatles: Rock Band" on September 9 will see their music on PlayStation 3's, Xbox 360's and Wii's around the globe.

We caught up with Josh Randall, the creative director behind "The Beatles: Rock Band," to find out how the game came to be.

"It all started around a chance meeting between Dhani Harrison [the son of George Harrison] and Van Toffler, the head of MTV," Randall recalled. Harrison was apparently a big fan of Harmonix, the developer of "The Beatles: Rock Band," because of their work on the "Guitar Hero" franchise. MTV had just acquired the developer, so Harrison was wondering what Toffer thought about doing a rhythm game with a full band, rather than just guitars. This was right around the time Harmonix was already hard at work on "Rock Band," a game that offered just that.

Toffler suggested that Harrison meet with Alex Rigopulos, Harmonix's co-founder, to talk about the game. Randall saw that meeting as the birth of "The Beatles: Rock Band." "In that meeting, they started joking: 'Oh, yeah, we should do a Beatles game, that'd be cool.' And then the more they thought about it, they realized, 'Yeah, that would be cool, we should do this.' From there, Harmonix and MTV Games approached Apple Corps and got the conversation rolling."

From there, it was just a matter of bringing all the parties together. Randall came onboard in late 2007, when he was charged with making a demo video to show the "shareholders" at Apple Corps. "The shareholders are basically Paul [McCartney] and Ringo [Starr] and Yoko [Ono] and Olivia Harrison," Randall said. "So we worked with Giles Martin, the son of Sir George Martin, who produced most of the Beatles' catalog, to get a few songs in 'Rock Band' to see how they would play.

"We bundled it all up and headed over to Abbey Road Studios," he added. "There, we met with the different shareholders and showed them what we were thinking and started talking about ideas, and they thought it was cool. Things just progressed from there."

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