With Rock Band 2 shaping up to do battle against Guitar Hero: World Tour, the stakes are higher than ever in this unique genre.
With Rock Band 2 having announced it had secured songs by The Beatles, on the eve of it showing off brand new AC/DC tracks to the UK press, you know Harmonix is pulling out all the stops to ensure it takes the lead against Guitar Hero: World Tour.
We catch up with Harmonix as Dan Teasdale (Rock Band 2 Lead Designer) and John Drake (Harmonix PR) reveal six things you never knew about the Rock Band series until now...
Getting The Beatles Songs Happened By Chance
John Drake: "It sort of was a chance meeting. There were two layers to it. One layer was we were talking to them already, because we're talking to everyone all the time trying to get as much music as possible into the world of interactive music gaming.
So they were talking on the business side already and then Van Toffler, the president of MTV Networks and Dhani Harrison, George Harrison's son, and Olivia Harrison met on family vacation. They sort of ran into each other and started talking. I guess the Harrisons were fans of Rock Band!
So all these things came together. The band members and legacy of the band members sort of found out about us and obviously we're huge fans of theirs. For the particulars of it, we should put you in touch with someone at MTV. But that's the anecdotal story, it's really, really cool."
They Show The Game Off To Convince Bands To Sign Up
Dan Teasdale:"The way we have seen bands sign on is we just show them the game. As soon as they sit down and play drums and play guitar and get that feeling of being onstage, the hard work is done."
Harmonix Rarely Get Turned Down
John Drake: "We don't really get turned down a lot. And when it is, it's more like 'oh, not right now' or 'maybe later'. The bigger artists, people like The Beatles and AC/DC, those are always ongoing conversations."
They Don't Know Which Songs Will Be In Guitar Hero
Dan Teasdale: "We don't know in advance that kind of stuff. I think a lot of that crossover is because there's a lot of great bands and a lot of great songs."
Harmonix Listens To Your Suggestions
Dan Teasdale: "Every song in Rock Band has to be fun to play. We're not going to put in anything that isn't fun. So that's the first bar it has to pass. From that point on, we figure out which songs we pick. We have a process at Harmonix and MTV we use as we go through our huge list of dream songs as we go down to what we put in.
We also take suggestions from RockBand.com from not only famous bands, like massive world American style bands, but also indie UK bands or German or any upcoming bands, post them up on RockBand.com and we'll consider them."
Songs Picked For Rock Band Need Repetition
John Drake: "Eric, our audio director, has always said it's always about validating interesting parts and repetition. Because being in a band is about playing the same four-bar phrase for a while, then breaking it up.
So we look for songs that have variation but also that let you lock into a groove and play as a band together. So to give you an insight into what we're looking for, that's sort of what it is, but anything that's fun or anything that people can drunkenly sing along to. Like Eye Of The Tiger. Come on man! Eye Of The Tiger!"