After widespread rumors, MTV Games-owned Harmonix announced that it was developing a rhythm game based on The Beatles, arguably the most popular band of all time. At the time, Harmonix cofounder Alex Rigopoulos insisted that the game would be an all-new game, and "not just a Rock Band expansion pack" a la the AC/DC Live: Rock Band Track Pack.
"Let me make this clear," Harmonix cofounder Alex Rigopoulos told the Wall Street Journal. "It's a full, new music game built from the ground up."
Today, MTV Games and Beatles record label Apple Corps revealed that the game would, in fact, bear the branding of Harmonix's signature Rock Band franchise. This morning, the companies announced that The Beatles: Rock Band will be released on September 9, 2009--i.e. 9/9/09--in North America, Australasia, and the European Union. (Previously, the game was expected in Q4 2009.) It will ship simultaneously on the Wii, Xbox 360, and PlayStation 3, but not on the PlayStation 2, unlike Harmonix's last project, Rock Band 2.
Distributed via the Electronic Arts Partners program, The Beatles: Rock Band will indeed be a brand-new game featuring songs and visual elements that span the group's entire career, from Please Please Me (1963) to Let It Be (1970). It is not yet confirmed whether the Beatles themselves will be featured as playable characters.
In the US, the game will be available as a $59.99 a la carte game for use with instruments from previous Rock Bands and other compatible hardware. The Beatles: Rock Band will also be available as part of a $249.99 limited-edition bundle with an all-new drum set, guitar, and microphone modeled after the Beatles' own instruments. Also announced were Beatles: Rock Band-branded stand-alone guitars for $99.99 each.
To date, the Rock Band franchise has sold more than 10 million copies. In January, Harmonix promised that all of its efforts would go toward creating the Beatles game along with new downloadable content for existing Rock Band games, with no other series entries set for this year.