AC/DC subject of first group-centric Rock Band

MTV inks deal with Australian rockers to release first band-based stand-alone product exclusively via Wal-Mart in November; pack's 18 tracks can be added to Rock Band, Rock Band 2; no DLC version planned.

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Three months ago, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith launched to middling reviews and solid sales--just over 1 million units as of the end of August, according to the NPD Group. Until today, it seemed that the tribute to the Boston rockers would be the only band-centric instrument-based rhythm game until Guitar Hero: Metallica ships in 2009.

However, today Electronic Arts, MTV Games, and Harmonix upended that theory by revealing a new Rock Band game focused on legendary Australian group AC/DC. The AC/DC LIVE: Rock Band Track Pack will be available as a stand-alone product for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on November 2 in North America for $39.88 and the PlayStation 2 for $29.88. A Wii edition will arrive on November 16 for $39.88 in the US and Canada, with all four versions hitting the UK, Europe, and Australasia in December.

While the game will be available at "most major retailers" internationally, domestically it will only have one source. The The New York Times reports that in the US, the AC/DC LIVE: Rock Band Track Pack will only be sold at Wal-Mart, its Sam's Club subsidiary, and its online store. The megaretailer has struck a deal with AC/DC's label, Sony-owned Columbia Records, to promote Black Ice through dedicated stands in its stores peddling AC/DC albums, DVDs, T-shirts, and other merchandise--including games.

"If you want to be a physical band, you better make an alliance with a strong physical retailer," Columbia Records chairman Steve Barnett told the Times. "It's a great way to sell the new album, the catalog, the game, merchandise and DVDs." A Rockstar rep confirmed to GameSpot that Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, and Walmart.com will be the only places the track pack will be available, and no downloadable version is planned.

Gamers who want to incorporate the songs from the new game into their regular Rock Band and Rock Band 2 repertoires are in luck. "All tracks from the AC/DC LIVE: Rock Band Track Pack will also be available for play in Rock Band and Rock Band 2 by entering a special export authentication code for the Xbox 360...and PlayStation 3," said MTV Games in a statement. No mention was made of the versions for Wii and PS2.

One thing the AC/DC LIVE: Rock Band Track won't have is a virtual version of guitarist Angus Young jumping around in his trademark schoolboy uniform. "AC/DC's likeness are not used as characters or avatars in the game," a MTV Games rep told GameSpot. "AC/DC LIVE Rock Band Track Pack is like Rock Band and Rock Band 2 in that it is completely focused on the music while giving people the opportunity to live out their rock star fantasies as themselves rather than playing as digitized versions of the artists."

A compete list of AC/DC LIVE: Rock Band Track Pack's 18 songs--all of which are live versions taken from various performances--is listed below. The total running time of the combined songs is just over 99 minutes.

"Thunderstruck"
"Shoot to Thrill"
"Back in Black"
"Hell Ain't a Band Place to Be"
"Heatseeker"
"Fire Your Guns"
"Jailbreak"
"The Jack"
"Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap"
"Moneytalks"
"Hell's Bells"
"High Voltage"
"Whole Lotta Rosie"
"You Shook Me All Night Long"
"T.N.T."
"Let There Be Rock"
"Highway to Hell"
"For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)"

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