The Beatles go digital with Rock Band-style game

The Beatles are coming together with MTV and the makers of Rock Band for their first interactive video game experience.

The Beatles are coming together with MTV and the makers of Rock Band for their first interactive video game experience. The Fab Four will make their digital debut in a game being developed by Harmonix and published by MTV Games, ]the companies announced Thursday. Contrary to early speculation, the game will be a standalone entity -- not a part of Rock Band.

Many of the details, including the name of the game, are being kept under wraps. Here's what we do know: MTV describes it as an "unprecedented, experiential progression through and celebration of the music and artistry of The Beatles." It is set for a late 2009 release. Sir Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and the widows of John Lennon and George Harrison provided input, the network promises, and have all given "their full blessing[s]" to proceed.

"The project is a fun idea which broadens the appeal of The Beatles and their music," McCartney says. "I like people having the opportunity to get to know the music from the inside out."

"The Beatles continue to evolve with the passing of time," agrees Starr, "and how wonderful that The Beatles' legacy will find its natural progression into the 21st century through the computerized world we live in."

Giles Martin -- son of George Martin, the man who produced most of the Beatles' records -- will serve as music producer of the project. Martin, incidentally, also co-produced the Cirque de Soilel show "Love," a Vegas attraction based on the Beatles' songs.

he journey into the digital realm has been a long and winding road for the legendary Liverpool quartet. Rumors dating back to 2006 have discussed the possibility of the Beatles' music becoming available on iTunes or another MP3-style platform. Even after last year's legal settlement over royalty disputes, though, the tunes have yet to become remastered and released into the file-based music world.

Of course, the newly revealed game isn't quite the "revolution" fans have been waiting for -- but, well, it's "something." Consider it a first step, a sign that the music will move away from the format of "yesterday" and into the era of today. And, "with a little help from their friends," we hope the powers that be can "work it out" and not "let us down." I am the walrus. (Sorry. Felt like I needed to squeeze one more song reference in there, and I ran out of titles that actually fit into the dialogue.)

In any case, if the new game doesn't lead to a full digital release in the near future, at least we all know who to blame. Wonder what Ms. Ono's up to these days, anyway?

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JR Raphael

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