Beatles, video game maker: We can work it out

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Original rock band, meet Rock Band.

The Beatles' Apple Corps. and MTV's Harmonix on Thursday announced a deal that will bring the music of the Fab Four to video game consoles by the end of 2009.

The agreement is a surprising one. The Beatles have famously shunned digital music distribution – one of the few remaining artists to withhold their catalog from Apple's iTunes online music store. But this deal carries the blessing of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono Lennon, and Olivia Harrison.

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The game also represents a departure from tradition for Harmonix. Its popular Rock Band franchise, which lets wannabe rockers use a plastic guitar and drumset to jam to a set of included tracks and download additional songs online, seemed the logical place to debut the new content. But unlike other band-specific editions of Activision's Guitar Hero franchise for Aerosmith and Metallica, and now an AC/DC-themed Rock Band, Harmonix will bring the music of the Beatles to gamers in an entirely new format.

"Let me make this clear. This game is not just a Rock Band expansion pack," said Harmonix co-founder Alex Rigopoulos. "It's a full, new music game built from the ground up."

Early details of the game have it using gameplay familiar to Rock Band fans and covering the Beatles' entire catalog of music, including visuals from the band's albums and films.

Said McCartney: "The project is a fun idea which broadens the appeal of The Beatles and their music. I like people having the opportunity to get to know the music from the inside out."

Wired asked readers which songs they'd most look forward to playing in a Beatles video game, and the results, as of this writing, put "Revolution" and "Helter Skelter" at the top of the list.

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