Although the basic gameplay of "The Beatles: Rock Band" is similar to past "Rock Band" games, there's one notable addition: three-part harmony. The developers of the game have added the ability for three players to sing at once and even harmonize with one another to get extra points. MTV News spoke to Josh Randall, creative director behind "The Beatles: Rock Band," to find out just how this innovative feature came to be.
Randall said the idea started out simply. "I think we were just trying to find features that would be very Beatles-y. Typically, on Friday nights here, we go down to the pub and afterwards come back up and play 'Rock Band.' What I noticed, we would get 10 or 20 people playing, but of course only three or four people can interact with the game. But a bunch of other people in the room would be singing along. So I was thinking, 'I wish there was a way we could plug in some extra microphones, so the other people could sing along.' Especially Beatles tunes, since everyone already knows the lyrics, it just makes sense.
It was around that time that the developers had been listening to a ton of Beatles music and noticed that the signature sound for their music was a really powerful three-part vocal harmony. From there, they made it a priority to get the feature in the game.
"It's really cool the way it turned out," Randall said. "In the game, if you wanna just sing the main line, you can. But if you want, you can try and sing the vocal harmony. And if you try and sing vocal harmony, you won't lose points if you screw it up. It'll only add to your points. And if you need to practice to get a better understanding about how harmonies work and sound, we have a whole practice mode where you can listen to any portion of a song."
But even with those features, the developers weren't certain that people would be able to take to harmonizing so easily. "We were concerned that this would be too much of a leap for players, 'cause a lot of people don't know how to sing harmony, but we had a lot of focus tests, and people picked it right up. Then I was at E3, we had a party there, and I was so surprised. People were almost instantly singing in harmony together. It was amazing. Being in a room with people singing in harmony is amazing. It sounds so good, and it just makes you feel good. I'm pretty psyched that I get to have a job where I'm encouraging the world to sing harmony together."
For more on "The Beatles: Rock Band" check out Multiplayer.MTV.com.