Hip-hop-loving gamers who have looked on enviously as their rocker peers enjoyed Rock Band and Guitar Hero will soon get a game that fulfills their own music-making fantasies. This summer, Genius Products and Genco Interactive will release Scratch: The Ultimate DJ, a music-based video game made with hip-hop fans and wanna-be disc jockeys in mind.
To add credibility to their product, the companies recruited rap industry vet Quincy Jones III to help develop it. "Having been in music for 25 years and produced for like LL Cool J and Tupac and Ice Cube and all those guys, I thought there was a huge void in the gaming market place for something in the urban space," Quincy Jones III, or QD3, told Rock Daily just days after debuting his company's Lil Wayne documentary at Sundance. The gameplay will be similar to other major music titles, but players will be working on a turntable controller and drum pad.
Just like in real life, the DJ in Scratch has one job: Get people on the dance floor. The more feet on the floor, the more points you score and the more gigs you unlock. "You might start doing a block party. You have other venues and they're all really unique venues that have amazing graphics," QD3 says.
Of course a music-based game is only as good as its soundtrack, so Jones and his team at Genius grabbed tracks from Run-DMC, Eric B & Rakim, Kanye West and Gorillaz for the game's playlist. They even managed to get some new music from the Beastie Boys' in-house DJ Mix Master Mike. "We wanted to try to represent all the categories â€" as many as possible â€" and have a game that's super credible to the core audience. But also appealing all the way up to the parents," Jones said. "We licensed the multi-track. You can take any element you want â€" the bass line, the scratch, in some cases vocals â€" even different parts of the harmony of the vocals and the drumsâ€¦ whatever you want. They are all on the beat pad or the turntable and you can manipulate them on your own."
Whereas countless hours playing Rock Band won't make you a better guitarist, QD3 pledges, "If you learn how to play this game, then you can do the real deal." That's probably because Scratch has some of the biggest DJ equipment makers, including Numark, building the game's controller and drum pad. "The hardware is basically the controller and you have hyper-realistic turntables, it comes with a fader; you can do transformer cuts and regular scratches and all that. It simulates the real thing exactly â€" digitally," Jones says. "If you learn how to scratch on this, it's the exact replica of the real thing. You're essentially buying a little studio." The game will also feature a two-player mode in which dual DJs can play simultaneously with or against each other.
Just as Rock Band competes against Guitar Hero, Scratch will soon be confronted by DJ Hero. "I don't have a whole lot of detail about what they're doing. But I do know that ours is going to be a very authentic experience," QD3 tells Rock Daily. "That's one of the reasons I got involved; it's that we give you the closest thing to the actual experience. I would say, as a hip-hop fan, I think people are gonna be surprised at the level of authenticity."
Scratch: The Ultimate DJ is due out Summer '09 on Playstation 3, XBox 360 and Nintendo Wii. Check out the Scratch track list below:
Scratch: The Ultimate DJ
The set list will include:
"Flashing Lights" - Kanye West
"Intergalactic" - Beastie Boys
"Let's Get it Started" - The Black Eyed Peas
"Slacker" - Tech N9ne
"Don't Sweat the Technique" - Eric B. and Rakim
Additional music from artists: