It’s been too long since I made mention of notable Rock Band track pack additions, but with the imminent release of four new Spinal Tap tracks, that’s going to change for the moment.
Due June 16th and 18th (on Xbox 360 and PS3, respectively) alongside the release of their new album itself, Rock Band will be getting “Back from the Dead,” Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare” and “Warmer Than Hell” from Tap’s new Back From The Dead album, as well as Jack The Ripper-based themetune “Saucy Jack.”
Said bassist Harry Shear– err, Derek Smalls, “Tap has always gone where the audience is. We hope this time the audience reciprocates. Whatever that means.” [via Harmonix]
The legendary Abbey Road studio, recreated in plastic form for E3 to promote The Beatles: Rock Band, as photographed by Harmonix creative director Josh Randall.
Answer: yes, full stop.
As I hinted at before, somehow the team at Harmonix, alongside Gorillaz animator Pete Candeland of Passion Pictures (I’m presuming, based on Candeland’s similarly jaw-dropping work on Guitar Hero II‘s TV ad and the full-3D Rock Band 2 intro), have managed to even out-Katamari Katamari Damacy for what I’m going to call as the finest surrealist game intro we’ve ever seen.
And it’s for the Beatles. At first, you’ll think, hey, what amazing likenesses! This is like when the Mamas and the Papas were on Scooby Doo, only even more completely brilliant! And then a minute and twenty later, the doors of perception are blown open and it changes, and then another 25 seconds later, it blossoms even further into a relentlessly glorious technicolor dreamscape to the very end.
Apart from the updated trailer for Sony’s The Last Guardian/Trico, this could easily be the best cinematic treat to come out of E3 2009.
UPDATE: Harmonix has posted a beautiful hi-def version of the intro to the official Beatles: Rock Band website, where you can pick out even more details and legacy references, like the tiny jar of Marmite Ringo packed for his British Invasion, sitting in his Strawberry Fields Farm box. If this animation doesn’t pick up some Major Awards in 2010, I’ll eat my bowler.
Though I’m actually jonezin’ so much harder to re-watch the game’s animated intro that kicked off Microsoft’s E3 conference (especially the White Album era bits!), Harmonix has instead just released the first gameplay trailer for their Beatles: Rock Band.
The trailer gives you a look at the band through their various stylistic eras, as well as the first look at the mechanics of its harmonizing vocals — a technique Harmonix utilized in their earlier Karaoke Revolution games, but which are just now debuting in Rock Band via the Beatles.
The game will include 45 songs on disc, ten of which have just been announced — “I Saw Her Standing There,” “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “I Feel Fine,” “Taxman,” “Day Tripper,” Back In The USSR,” “I Am The Walrus,” “Octopus’s Garden,” “Here Comes The Sun,” and “Get Back” — with full downloadable albums being delivered later, starting with the entire Abbey Road album, and an Xbox Live exclusive on the song “All You Need Is Love.”
As noted before, the game will be released for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii on September 9th.
Dredged up from the unknown depths at French gaming site JeuxVideo: the first video of TT Games and Harmonix’s fantastically unlikely crossover Lego Rock Band. While it doesn’t show off any gameplay, per se, since we’ve been playing Rock Band for the past two years, it shouldn’t take too many guesses there as to what to expect.
What it does hint at is some of the environmental destruction detailed several weeks back, as well as the game’s “fantasy locations” (ie. big yes to Lego pirate/castle stages), and, at the tail end, TT Games’ propensity for slapstick bricks.
Ars Technica’s latest interview with Harmonix head Alex Rigopulos has scored an effortless Unison Bonus with my heart, and it’s got little to do with the state of the music industry’s involvement with Rock Band going forward.
Instead, (and finally!) Ben Kuchera presses Rigopulos on the idea of working with Sony to get the studio’s earlier work, particularly the Sony-owned Amplitude, done right via the PlayStation Network:
Rigopulos: I would love to. That game is still close to my heart. I love it. I’d love to do a sequel to Amplitude, actually. It’s an issue of prioritization… For us, that lingering question of “what are we going to do about Amplitude” is still very much out there. I would love to come back and do it right for the PlayStation 3, for example.
And, even better, gets him to elaborate on the studio’s obvious next best move: the iPhone, a place I’d love to see HMX show the Tap Tap ilk just how it’s done, either with a reworked port of its outrageously under-appreciated iPod game Phase [buy it now if you haven’t already], or something more original:
Rigopulos: Believe me, we’re looking at the iPhone. If we take a stop on that platform, we want to do it right, so we’re thinking about the specific attributes of the iPhone so we can make it the right step where we can make the product that’s the right product for that platform. We could just do a port of Phase, but I’m wondering if there isn’t something that’s more ambitious that we could do as well. I don’t think we have any specific plans there yet, but needless to say, we’re looking at it.
King of Rock: Ars talks to Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos [Ars Technica]
The best games news I’ve heard out of CES thus far? Via Crispy Gamer, Harmonix’s Alex Rigopolus bucking the sequel trend and maintaining development focus on Rock Band as a pure platform, very much as it should be:
“We’ve actually made a choice to break out of the annual release cycle for Rock Band this year,” Rigopolous told the assembled press and industry members. “[This is] partly because the annual cycle places limits on the choices you can make as a developer. We’re trying to take a long term view.”
That doesn’t mean Harmonix hasn’t given up on standalone releases — in October the company announced a new deal with The Beatles to provide a custom one-off Rock Band-esque exploration of the band’s back catalog, slated for release later this year.
Harmonix co-founder Alex Rigopulos has some very smart reflections on the birth and evolution of music gaming in this recent chat with Wired, talking about the work and non-work of music creation software — which the company was founded to create — versus their music performance software as we know it today.
He also expounds on how familiarity with the music helps guide you as a player, and the risks in broadening its catalog from Guitar Hero‘s cherry-picked ‘best of the history of rock’ catalog to Rock Band‘s more all-encompassing selections that attempt to foster music discovery rather than just appreciation, and, implicitly, makes you understand why the company is at the fore of the music gaming genre.