No one has challenged Konami's "Beatmania" turntable gaming series yet, but we could have two contenders in 2009 with "Scratch: The Ultimate DJ" and the rumored "DJ Hero" from Activision. We asked the creative lead on "Scratch" what he learned from Konami and his thoughts on a DJ "Guitar Hero."
Konami pioneered much of what music games are become today, and while other companies took what Konami started with "Guitar Freaks" and "Drummania" and ran with it, few have touched the DJ-centric "Beatmania."
2009 could be different. Hip hop producer Quincy Jones III has teamed up with Genius Products and developer Seven Studios for "Scratch: The Ultimate DJ" and Activision is rumored to be working on "DJ Hero," though that title has not been formally announced.
The team behind "Scratch" is aware of the precedents "Beatmania" has set.
"I think 'Beatmania' really helped establish the genre and its basic gameplay," "Scratch" creative lead Dan Lehrich in an e-mail interview with MTV Multiplayer. "As far as things we can improve upon, I think 'Beatmania' showed me a few things… that most American gamers want to play games with music they know, that graphical and story-driven context of actions is an important factor for a lot of people, and that if you have a turntable, players should be able to scratch!"
Knowing the genre's roots and having Quincy Jones III backing you is nothing to laugh at, but "DJ Hero" would have the marketing of the publisher who made "Guitar Hero" a monster. That's not on Lehrich's radar yet, however.
"Like you [said]… its all rumors and speculation at this point," he said. "I’m just focused on 'Scratch' and what we’re doing, and that keeps me pretty busy! I really believe in what we’re building and I feel good about the approach we’re taking to making this type of game. I have a lot of confidence in our team and our ideas."
We'll have more on "Scratch" soon, including Lehrich's interesting explanation for why hip-hop games have been a failure so far with gaming audiences.
What do you want from gaming's first modern DJ game, "Scratch"?
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