Not that it's much of a surprise anymore, but Apple Corps (not this one) and MTV have announced Rock Band: The Beatles an untitled Beatles music project, to be developed by Harmonix. While not a Rock Band expansion, this is a pretty major coup over Activision, owners of the Guitar Hero franchise. We're in the conference call now. More details to follow.

Notes from the conference call:
  • "This will not be a Rock Band title, this will be a custom title"
  • Journey through The Beatles first album through their last -- "samples" from their whole catalog
  • "A number of new dimensions" that you haven't seen from Harmonix before
  • Just in time for the holidays ... in 2009
  • Tracks are based on UK releases -- the idea is to play the songs through The Beatles career (not remixed or remastered tracks, we think)
  • Is the imagery tied to the existing art from the songs and albums? The developers aren't prepared to talk about specifics, but "visual imagery" is a big part of the project
  • Interoperability is not something that's being talked about yet
  • "Very little" can be said about the game itself today. "MTV and Harmonix was clearly the innovator in this category of games" -- Apple Corps was really impressed with Harmonix's creative and musical approach
  • "It's not a Rock Band game, it's a Beatles game. They deserve a fully dedicated title. [The game] takes advantage of the Rock Band platform in many ways ... [and it's] going to be compatible with existing Rock Band peripherals" -- we can assume that instruments from other music games (e.g., Guitar Hero) will also be supported
  • No hardware platforms announced
  • No comment on licensing Beatles tunes for other games -- this is an exclusive arrangement for Beatles music in video games (as for digital distribution of The Beatles catalog on music services (e.g., iTunes): Apple Corps is still working out details; no announcement to make nor date nor anything else!)

This article was originally published on Joystiq.