The Beatles: Rock Band is a music video game being developed by Harmonix Music Systems, published by MTV Games and distributed by Electronic Arts. The game will consist of songs by and virtual depictions of The Beatles, from their first album, Please Please Me, to their last recorded album with record label EMI, Abbey Road.
The game will be released internationally on 9 September 2009, coinciding with the release of new, remastered CD versions of The Beatles albums. The game will be shipped as a bundle with themed instrument controllers and as a standalone game for which all existing Rock Band and compatible music game accessories can be used. The game will incorporate many of the gameplay features of the Rock Band series; however, the game will not be an expansion pack for the Rock Band series; Harmonix co-founder Alex Rigopulos describes the game as "... a new, full game title production built from the ground up."
left|150px|thumb|Dhani Harrison, son of the late George Harrison, was instrumental to the inception of The Beatles: Rock Band. According to Harmonix's lead designer, Chris Foster, the idea of The Beatles: Rock Band came about during a chance encounter between MTV president Van Toffler and Dhani Harrison, son of George Harrison. Dhani, having been familiar with Rock Band, suggested a Beatles-theme game but both considered it an unlikely possibility. The meeting spurred Dhani into further discussions with Harmonix's president, Alex Rigopulos, sharing his ideas for the game; at the same time, Dhani also helped to introduce the Rock Band concept to Apple Corps and its key shareholders Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Yoko Ono Lennon.
Harmonix subsequently created a simple demonstration of the game that included examples of the music and artwork that would be possible in the game. With the creation of the demo, the remaining Beatles were brought on as creative partners for the game. Olivia Harrison also provided input into the game. The development team was able to bring Giles Martin aboard as the game's music producer; Martin having previously served as co-producer for The Beatles Love project. Giles was able to assure multitrack capabilities to The Beatles' master recordings, which is essential in allowing individual audio feedback to each player — for example, missing a note on the guitar track of a song will temporarily quiet the guitar audio in the song. The ability for up to three players to sing vocal harmonies, a feature not present in previous Rock Band games, was designed and implemented as an optional feature so as not to be overwhelming to players. Dhani assisted with modeling for character animation in the game. The team designed venues that represented parts of The Beatles' history in order to create an atmosphere of authenticity. Psychedelic "dreamscape" venues were also designed, inspired in part by the Love project.
The Beatles: Rock Band was first revealed when Harmonix and MTV Games announced an exclusive agreement with Apple Corps, Ltd. to produce the standalone title on 30 October 2008. Prior to this announcement, industry rumours reported that both Harmonix/MTV Games and Activision were vying for The Beatles songs, the latter for the Guitar Hero franchise. The agreement was the result of 17 months of discussions. John Drake, PR spokesperson for Harmonix, stated that Apple Corps "respected and appreciated what Harmonix does creatively for rhythm games" as part of the success of the deal.
[[File:Thebeatles-rockband-opening-cinematic.jpg|right|thumb|The transition from the song "Here Comes the Sun" to "I Am the Walrus" in the opening cinematic for The Beatles: Rock Band.]] The game will feature a visual and musical history of The Beatles and will include the United Kingdom-released versions of songs from their albums Please Please Me through to Let It Be. The game will "feature different periods of the band — you get early days, Liverpool, then psychedelic and on from there," according to McCartney. Dhani Harrison has stated the game will include "stuff that has never been heard, never been released." Gamestop's vice-president of sales, Bob McKenzie, noted after seeing a demonstration of the game, that the game includes "some of the cutscenes and some of the added material from the band and from that era."
The game includes a heavily stylized opening cinematic produced in part by Pete Candeland of Passion Pictures, with help from animator Robert Valley and background visuals from Alberto Mielgo. Candeland, who is known for his work animating Gorillaz videos, also produced the opening cinematics for both the original Rock Band and Rock Band 2. Reception of the cinematic has been highly positive; described as "surreal" by Boing Boing's Offworld blog, it's been called "simply stunning" by Frames Per Second and "damned spiffy" by the Entertainment Weekly blog PopWatch.
On 18 April 2009, during Paul McCartney's performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, footage was shown from the The Beatles: Rock Band featuring The Beatles members rendered in the Rock Band engine.
[[File:Ringo_Starr_e_Paul_Mcartney_-_E3_2009.jpg|thumb|right|Surviving The Beatles members, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney introduced the game at the 2009 E3 convention.]] The game was formally showcased on 1 June 2009 at E3 2009. Presented by Harmonix at the beginning of the Microsoft press conference, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr briefly took the stage to discuss the games. Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison, widows of the late John Lennon and George Harrison respectively, also made a brief appearance. The same day, a press release was issued revealing ten of the game's 45 songs. Two trailers of the game also premiered; one featuring gameplay and the other of the game's opening cinematic. The introductory cinematic includes two songs listed in the press release as well as the unannounced songs "Twist and Shout," "A Hard Day's Night" and "Paperback Writer".Template:Fact
[[File:The-beatles-rock-band-stage.jpg|thumb|left|Avatars of The Beatles in their various period outfits will be used in addition to several historical venues, including the set of The Ed Sullivan Show when The Beatles performed their first live broadcast in the United States.]] The game allows players to perform in virtual bands by providing up to six players with the ability to play three different peripherals modeled after music instruments (a guitar peripheral for lead guitar and bass guitar gameplay, a drum peripheral and up to three microphones for vocals). These peripherals are used to simulate the playing of rock music by hitting scrolling notes on-screen. In songs with multipart vocals, players need only to stay in tone with the lead singer to score points and keep the performance meter up, but players earn additional scoring bonuses when they successfully complete phrases in harmony.
The game will feature gameplay modes similar to other Rock Band games. "Story" mode is similar to the "Career" mode of the first Rock Band game and follows a linear progression through The Beatles history. Optional challenges will available in each of the story's "chapters", tasking players to accomplish specific goals. As in previous Rock Band games, players can play any song in the game either cooperatively through "Quickplay", or competitively in "Tug of War" and "Score Duel" modes. In addition to a drum training mode called "Beatle Beats", there will be a trainer for the three-part vocal harmonies. On the Xbox 360, achievements will be linked to The Beatles history.
Several historical venues were recreated for the game, including The Cavern Club, the set of the Ed Sullivan Show, Shea Stadium, The Budokan, Abbey Road Studios and the rooftop of the Apple Corps Headquarters. The venues also include "dreamscapes" in conjunction with the Abbey Road venue, representing the transformation of the band in its later years. Songs linked with dreamscapes will begin with the band performing in Abbey Road studios before progressing into a scene that represents the song in some way; for example, during "Octopus' Garden", the dreamscape reflects an underwater reef.
[[File:Beatlesinstruments.jpg|thumb|right|275px|Instrument peripherals designed for The Beatles: Rock Band. Far left: The Ludwig drum controller; Top right: The Rickenbacker 325 and Gretsch Duo Jet-inspired guitar controllers; Bottom right: The Höfner 500/1-inspired bass controller.]]
Four new instrument peripherals modeled after those used by The Beatles members will be introduced with the game. These include a Rickenbacker 325 guitar, a Gretsch Duo Jet guitar, a Höfner bass and a Ludwig drum set. A "Special Edition" bundle of the game will include one Höfner bass controller, one Ludwig-branded drum controller, a microphone, a microphone stand and yet-to-be-revealed "additional special content". The Rickenbacker and Gretsch guitar peripherals will be sold separately.
The game will include 45 master tracks chosen from The Beatles albums recorded during their 1962–1969 tenure with EMI Records. Previously unreleased studio chatter will also be included. The game will include The Beatles tracks whose publishing rights are owned by Sony/ATV Music Publishing Company.
The following songs are confirmed for inclusion in the game:
Additional songs will be available for the game as downloadable content. This includes full albums; the remaining songs from Abbey Road will be released for the game shortly after launch. The song "All You Need Is Love" will also be among the first batch of downloadable content, proceeds from which will be donated to Doctors Without Borders. The song will initially be available as a timed exclusive for Xbox 360 on the same day the game is released. It will later become available for the PlayStation 3 and Wii.
Downloadable content for The Beatles: Rock Band will not be playable on other Rock Band titles. Likewise, downloadable content for Rock Band will not be compatible with The Beatles: Rock Band. Furthermore, the songs contained on The Beatles disc will not be exportable to other games in the Rock Band series.
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