The shocking news of Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington's suicide yesterday is still reverberating. Nearly two decades after their debut, the California-based alternative rap-rock band remained a huge commercial force in the rock world, and were on the verge of launching a tour which was set to take them to stadiums and arenas all over America. In the wake of Bennington's death, the band's future is now unclear.
Outside of live and recorded music, some may recall when Linkin Park teamed up with the mobile software company Artificial Life Inc. in 2010 for an unlikely collaboration: an action-adventure multiplayer online role playing game.
The game, called 8-Bit Rebellion!, featured all six members of the band reimagined in an 8-bit art style. In it, the band sets out to defeat the nefarious PixxelKorp – which, along with stealing all of the band's music, is trying to take over the 8-bit world for its own "HD empire." Players could progress and fight through levels, each based on a member of the band, like a standard 2D side-scroller, as well as talk to other players via in-app messaging and IMs.
While it released to mixed reviews, the game is remarkable as a rare example of a close collaboration between the band and developer. Rather than simply lending their likeness and music, the band actually worked on the project, lending their own ideas to 8-Bit Rebellion! Vocalist and artist Mike Shinoda specifically helped contribute to the design of the project. "They were able to turn my sketches and our creative ideas into a living, breathing world that we think gamers will thoroughly enjoy," he said (via Kotaku). "My bandmates and I grew up playing games like Metroid, Donkey Kong, Zelda, Space Invaders, Mega Man and Rygar. We wanted this game to have the feel of a vintage game, and a big part of it was the music."
Linkin Park also rewarded fans who beat the game with an unreleased song and music video for the track "Blackbirds." It joined 12 other songs, eight of which were 8-bit reimaginings of Linkin Park classics, like "One Step Closer," "In The End" and "Crawling."
The game was released for iPhones and iPads on April 26th, 2010 and hit number one on iTunes' music games chart in just over a week. The band put out another game on Facebook in 2013 called LP Recharge.
In a medium relatively notorious for crappy licensed tie-ins, Linkin Park's devoted, hands-on work on this product gives 8-Bit Rebellion! a level of care similar games often don't have.