Beatles work out deal with 'Rock Band' creators on music game

— -- Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band is about to interact with Rock Band.

MTV Games and Harmonix, the makers of Rock Band, have an exclusive deal with the Beatles' company Apple Corps., to create a music video game based solely on the music and career of the Fab Four.

The as-yet-untitled game will be a standalone game, not an add-on to Rock Band or Rock Band 2, released earlier this month. Already in development, the Beatles game is scheduled to be released before the 2009 holiday shopping season.

"The project is a fun idea which broadens the appeal of The Beatles and their music," Sir Paul McCartney said in a statement announcing the game. "I like people having the opportunity to get to know the music from the inside out."

Giving input on the game development so far are McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono and George Harrison's widow Olivia Harrison, as well as Giles Martin, son of Beatles producer George Martin and co-producer of Love, the Beatles musical project.

Calling the game development "a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," Harmonix co-founder Alex Rigopulos said "working directly with the musicians and the family has been immensely inspirational for us."

Rigopulos would not say what game systems the game would be released on. However, he did say that "this game is not just a Rock Band song expansion pack, it is much, much more than that. It will be a new full-blown custom game title from the ground up."

Current Rock Band musical instruments will be compatible with the game, but there might be new projects released, he said. "In addition to letting long time Beatles lovers get inside this music in a new way and also introducing this incredible music to a new generation of listeners, we want to take players on a sort of an experiential journey through the band's imagery and ideas and vision as they evolved over the course of their time together," Rigopulos said.

The game marks the first time that the Beatles' music has been presented in a video game; so far its music has been a rare holdout on iTunes and other online music distribution services.. "This video game is an innovative way to introduce the timeless music of the Beatles to a brand new generation of fans and a unique opportunity for existing Beatle fans to experience the band as they never have before in a complete immersive interactive way," said Apple Corps. CEO Jeff Jones.

As for digital distribution of the Beatles' catalog, Jones said, "all I can say is we are still working out the details."