Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The Beatles Rock Band Opening Cinematic
As many of you already know, Andrew and I are rather addicted to the Rock Band series (and don't get me started on how I don't like Guitar Hero - sorry GH fans!). So when we heard about the new release of The Beatles Rock Band, which released officially today 09-09-09, we decided we needed to pre-order it - especially since we could get 3 free additional tracks from pre-ordering.
I was a little unsure that it deserved all the hype, even after seeing the track list. Yes, I do love The Beatles - we used to check their albums (in cassette tape form) out from the library and listen to them on constant repeat until it was time to move on to the next album. And their influence on today's and future music is irrefutable. But would I really want an entire game of just their music? Well, silly me for forgetting the huge range their sound has, especially as the times changed and they changed with them.
I also wasn't sure that the gameplay would be impressive enough to deserve its own disc, as opposed to having The Beatles' songs as downloadable content, as they've done with the other releases. Then I heard that they were finally doing multiple vocal parts, including up to 3 part harmony. OK, that's way cool. Especially for The Beatles' songs - the harmonies are fantastic. And then I saw the opening cinema pre-released, and I was blown away. Check it out (sorry kids, tried to embed it but the code is buggy so here's the link instead)
Not only do I love the energy, movement through time and places, and great attention to Beatles history, but the coinciding changes in animation and graphic styles as they move through time is fantastic. We start with the flat, graphic, but still very appealing character design, and end up with a very impressive 3D psychadelic world of "I Am the Walrus", ending on a parade led by the Hindu god Ganesha who also has hints of walrus from added horns (although really that's more like a rhino), with the Beatles riding on his back and an impressive myriad of animal friends marching behind. We have no doubts that from the get-go this is going to be a story-based game, which Beatles fans new and old should have no trouble becoming emerged in and (re)discovering their music.
And today I just found this very cool frame-by-frame analysis of the opening cinema, detailing the song and Beatles trivia references. (Sorry, tried to embed this as well and also having problems) Amazing how much Frame By Frame found, but also how much attention to detail Harmonix put into this. Although, when George Harrison's son Dhani is working for the company, it's not too surprising!
If you're interested in more of the background on how this got made, this is a great interview with the men behind Rock Band. Now the critics are saying the game won't do well in this economy. I do hope that the advances in the gameplay, along with how enjoyable the Beatles songs are to experience by not only hearing them, but playing them, will change people's minds and make the game a success. Of course, I've only had it since midnight last night and have already found a few things that annoy me about the gameplay. But on the whole, already I'm extemely glad we added this to our collection. Next step - more playtime and see what they have for DLC (downloadable content)!