4mm Games, the studio from two Rockstar co-founders, has announced its first game: Def Jam Rapstar, a music game aimed at hip-hop fans that's "not just about music, it's about swagger."
Hip-hop has yet to really manifest itself in a respectable way in videogames, but 4mm Games and Def Jam Interactive intend to change this situation with Def Jam Rapstar, a music game that's designed to appeal to serious fans of hip-hop music and culture. "There are not very many products out there that speak directly to the hip-hop consumer base," Def Jam Interactive's VP or Marketing Lauren Wirtzer said. "More than just a music game, this is a game that really incorporates all of the crucial elements of this lifestyle. It's not just about music, it's about swagger."
Okay, so they just proved that they know how to use the word "swagger." Not bad, but credibility's an elusive thing, especially when it comes to music - can Rapstar's song list actually live up to its aspirations? 4mm says they're "trying to make a game that appeals to anyone who's enjoyed hip-hop in the last three decades, but really want to speak to "all of those fans out there who don't have a hip-hop game that can encompass that breadth of music across that whole period, all the way through to right this second what's coming out."
So how does Rapstar actually play? 4mm and Def Jam Interactive wouldn't say, but judging from the debut trailer, it seems like you'll be karaoke'ing rap songs with a microphone peripheral. One thing the trailer does make clear is the game's bid for mainstream appeal - it features a pair of young girls, a "nerdy" looking guy with big glasses and a cardigan and one "hip-hop" guy all lip syncing to Young Jeezy's "Put On."
The only somewhat concrete thing 4mm would spill in terms of gameplay is that they're going for a game that can "live long beyond the box" by giving players stuff to do beyond just singing a song. Hinting at a "game-like experience on the web" in addition to the actual game, 4mm said they want to create a "community that goes on for a very, very, long period, almost MMO-esque, if you like."
Hopefully we'll find out more about whether or not Def Jam Rapstar can successfully turn its swag on when it makes its full debut at E3 next week.