Beatles videogame slated for 2009, but still no iTunes

Beatles_l In a conference call at 10 a.m. ET this morning, the Beatles’ Apple Corps. Ltd., MTV Games, and Harmonix announced a new videogame using the Fab Four’s catalog. And little else.

The game, which will have music supervision by Giles Martin, son of longtime Beatles producer Sir George Martin and co-producer of the Beatles’ Love project with his dad, is slated for the 2009 holidays. It will not be a Rock Band game, however; it will be a wholly new, stand-alone title. Details will unfold in the coming months.

As of 10:15 a.m., an iTunes rep officially declined comment as to whether this finally opens the gates for the Beatles’ catalog to be offered on iTunes.

There has been talk of an all-Beatles videogame for months, but where it would land — MTV Games’ Rock Band franchise or Activision’s Guitar Hero — remained a mystery. Whether it will also include the band members’ likenesses is still unclear, although the game will feature different eras of the band’s career visually, starting with the black-and-white feel of the early ’60s and moving into the mod Rubber Soul years, Yellow Submarine, and their final hippie phase. (No word yet on whether the game will introduce new instruments, but here’s hoping for a plastic sitar.)

For Harmonix, the company that develops Rock Band, the Beatles game will be the big priority for 2009. In June, Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos put the Beatles at the top of his artist wish list, along with Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, and the Rolling Stones. “titanic bands of that era that have a special place in people’s hearts,” he told EW. (Rock Band has since secured exclusive rights to AC/DC’s music.) MTV president Van Toffler, when asked about the probability of an all-Beatles game, joked, “I heard they’re pretty popular. That would be big, right?” But around the same time, Guitar Hero cofounder Kai Huang was still holding out hope. “The Beatles are very unique: They’re a band and an industry who have always been very guarded about their music and careful about who they choose as partners,” he said in August. “We’ve been waiting, as everybody else in the world has been waiting, to get their music.”

You could point to Martin Bandier (former EMI Music Publishing head and current CEO of Sony/ATV Publishing, which controls more than 200 Beatles copyrights) as the man who got the ball rolling. He told the Los Angeles Times back in March that a videogame centered on the Beatles’ music is “something we have talked about and something I’d like to pursue.” This came on the heels of American Idol’s first Beatles-themed episode. Which leaves one more subset of the industry for the Fab Four to conquer: digital downloads. To date, the Beatles’ Apple Corps has yet to authorize sales of their songs via the other Apple, iTunes. Perhaps that, too, will change soon enough.

A representative for MTV had no comment, and a Harmonix representative would not confirm any details included in this story.

For Harmonix, the company that develops Rock Band, the Beatles game will be the big priority for 2009. In June, Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos put the Beatles at the top of his artist wish list, along with Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, and the Rolling Stones. "titanic bands of that era that have a special place in people’s hearts," he told EW. (Rock Band has since secured exclusive rights to AC/DC’s music.) MTV president Van Toffler, when asked about the probability of an all-Beatles game, joked, "I heard they’re pretty popular. That would be big, right?" But around the same time, Guitar Hero cofounder Kai Huang was still holding out hope. "The Beatles are very unique: They’re a band and an industry who have always been very guarded about their music and careful about who they choose as partners," he said in August. "We’ve been waiting, as everybody else in the world has been waiting, to get their music."

You could point to Martin Bandier (former EMI Music Publishing head and current CEO of Sony/ATV Publishing, which controls more than 200 Beatles copyrights) as the man who got the ball rolling. He told the Los Angeles Times back in March that a videogame centered on the Beatles’ music is "something we have talked about and something I’d like to pursue." This came on the heels of American Idol’s first Beatles-themed episode. Which leaves one more subset of the industry for the Fab Four to conquer: digital downloads. To date, the Beatles’ Apple Corps has yet to authorize sales of their songs via the other Apple, iTunes. Perhaps that, too, will change soon enough.

A representative for MTV had no comment, and a Harmonix representative would not confirm any details included in this story.


Comments (125 total) Add your comment
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  • Leo

    Um, is anyone else completely psyched about this? Holy carp!

  • Miss Pepperpot

    YES!
    YES!
    YES!

  • Dan L.

    I hope they put more songs from their later years on there. That was when they got into heavier rock. If they don’t have “Taxman,” “Birthday,” “Helter Skelter,” and “Revolution” I will be very angry.

  • Vince

    Even though this song pack on disc won’t be as finger-burning-ly (just made that up obviously) tough as “Guitar Hero Metallica”, this will be a must buy…as long as the rumors are true.

  • Farva

    I AM VERY psyched about this. I personally prefer Rock Band, and I am a BIG Beatles fan. This is a dream come true, as long as ‘Daytripper’ is on it.

  • J.D.

    Can’t say I’m that interested, and if it isn’t DLC I won’t touch it. Digital all the way!

  • shar

    Omg can’t wait!

  • Guzo

    This is the best news ever!!!
    This is gonna help sell a lot of Xbox and PS3 to older people and this is going to make an awesome game experience! Love The Beatles.

  • Tori

    If they made a Beatles ‘Rock Band’ or ‘Guitar Hero’, i’d be so excited!!!
    I’m HUGE Beatles fan and so is my boyfriend. We would enjoy a game like this because it incorporates a favorite game of ours and our favorite band.
    <3

  • Jeez, Louise

    Great news but for the wrong platform.
    I’ve been a Guitar Hero guy myself and I really can’t see myself spending money on a game and it’s accessories that cost as much as a game system. I won’t even buy Guitar Hero’s new set-up (I bought the game only since I have the guitar controller) because of the nearly $200 price tag!

  • Don

    This is huge! The Greatest Band of all time. I have been hoping for this moment. A way for a new generation of fans to experience The Beatles.
    I can’t wait.

  • Mike

    Sweet, this just confirms it . . . Guitar Hero is managed by gamemakers, and Rock Band is managed by music lovers. With mutliple songs by stellar bands like The Who, Rush, Boston, Nirvana, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, and soon to be Foo Fighters, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble, and THE BEATLES, Rock Band is constantly redefining the “infinite setlist.”

  • 09 challenger

    F the Beatles. Yeah they are great, but nothing beats Pink Floyd. Now thats worth waiting for and paying the prices.

  • Jeez, Louise

    Yeah, but Rock Band is entirely too simple compared to Guitar Hero. The makers of Rock Band were the originators of Guitar Hero if I’m not mistaken. They left because Activision cut them out of the profits.

  • Amy

    I’ve been saying they should have Beatles songs on there forever! And now they’re releasing a whole game for them?! Blissfully happy…

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