The music of the Beatles will arrive as a playable video game for the first time on September 9, 2009 when The Beatles: Rock Band hits stores in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The game, which will be available for Xbox, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii on the same day, "takes players on a journey through the legacy and evolution of the band's legendary career," according to a press release issued by the title's makers, Apple Corps, Harmonix and MTV Games. While there's no playlist or word about venues and avatars, there will be a limited number of instruments issued that are modeled after guitars, basses and drums John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr used (regular Rock Band peripherals will be compatible, too).
Three offerings will be released on September 9th: The Beatles: Rock Band software ($59.99); standalone guitars ($99.99); and a limited edition premium bundle that will presumably include the game and some configuration of instruments ($249.99). And there's an incentive to pre-order now: the game's makers say exclusive content will be accessible to those who reserve the game in advance through major retailers over the next few months. The game's official Website is active and promises updates.
McCartney, Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison are all backing the game, which is being overseen by Love co-producer Giles Martin. Rumors that Beatles music would finally come to Rock Band or Guitar Hero fired up in June 2008 after insiders speculated that the appearance of the Fab Four's music in American Idol, the film Across the Universe and the Cirque du Soleil Love production indicated Apple Corps might be willing to loosen their famously tight grip on the band's catalog. In October 2008 the game's makers made it official, announcing, "This game will take you on a journey from the Beatles first album Please Please Me until the last album at Abbey Road," as Apple Corps CEO Jeff Jones put it. "It will span samples of the whole catalog all the way through." At the time, McCartney added, "I like people having the opportunity to get to know the music from the inside out."
The game will be the first Rock Band title specifically branded to a band, though the game does offer full albums; the Guitar Hero series includes special versions for Aerosmith and Metallica (exclusive preview here).
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