Ahead of the release of The Beatles: Rock Band, The Boston Globe talks to Harmonix about the process of making the game.
"The band always looked joyful when they were playing,'' said Chris Foster, lead designer of The Beatles: Rock Band. "To get that kind of life into the visuals, those moments when they're looking at each other and smiling, we had to make new rules."
That's just one of the behind the scenes insights that Harmonix gave to the Boston Globe. The fact that The Beatles: Rock Band comes out in a months' time is quite the coup for the Massachusetts-based developer, as the Beatles have previously fiercely guarded their back catalogue and never made the songs available for download.
On The Beatles: Rock Band however, the remaining band members and other members of the Beatles camp were active contributors. "We know what John [Lennon] looked like, but not what he moved like,'' said Eran Egozy, co-founder of Harmonix. "Having Yoko and the other shareholders involved made the game so much better. It raised the bar." Attention to detail seems to be Harmonix's watchword for this project, from painstakingly picking out individual instruments from single track recordings of early songs, to how high Ringo Starr's drumsticks flew into the air.
There's a big buzz around the game, especially after the high-profile rollout at this year's E3 where Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney appeared on stage during Microsoft's press conference, but the Globe notes that not everyone is so enthusiastic: "I don't believe there's a teenager in the US who cares about The Beatles: Rock Band,'' says Joe Spiegel, an industry analyst at Dalek Capital Management in New York. "And I don't think this is the economic environment to go after new gamers." As a counterpoint to Spiegel's gloom however, the Globe spoke to Kanaa Malcolm, a store manager at a local game retailer. "The kids are really excited," she said, before noting that the store had around 300 pre-orders for the game, from people of all ages.
Oh and on a side note, check out the game's opening cinematic, it's pretty awesome.