It might simply be "happenstance", as Harmonix man John Drake describes it, that The Beatles: Rock Band hits day and date with the fully remastered back catalogue, but it is nevertheless an unprecedented Beatlesgasm beyond the wettest, wildest dreams of oily marketing men.
It's hard to understate just how big a deal this simultaneous release is for the games industry. Remember, after all, that this is the most treasured, valuable back catalogue in music, and one that has notably never been made (legally) available in digital form. Yet, on 9th September, gamers will be able to download Abbey Road in its entirety as part of the first wave of DLC.
And it would have been so easy to do the game on the cheap. Stick out a 'Beatles' disc for Rock Band, with a by-the-numbers, boring Bootleg Beatles setlist, and sit back as the cash rolled in. But Beatles: Rock Band seems no less a labour of love that the fastidious, forensic remastering of the music itself.
Sure, you can argue that the replica instruments are nothing more than a cynical marketing ploy (though they have been recreated in commendable detail), but look at the tracklisting. "A Hard Day's Night", "Eight Days A Week", "Drive My Car", "I Am The Walrus", "Come Together..." No surprises there.
But "Boys"? It wasn't even written by the group (it's a Dixon/Ferrell track penned originally for US girl group The Shirelles). But, during live performances in the early sixties, it was seen as the band's big drumming song, first performed by Pete Best before Ringo clattered in.
Likewise, "If I Needed Someone" is another non-obvious pick, but Harrison's track offers a snapshot of the influence Indian music was having on the band during the Rubber Soul period as well as, no doubt, providing a supreme vocal challenge with the droning harmonies. And so on.
The core of Beatles: Rock Band is a career mode that charts the band's musical evolution from the earliest days of the Cavern Club, right through to the impromptu performance atop Apple HQ. And songs have thus been chosen not just for their crowd-pleasability, but also significance to the canon. Oh, and that they'll hopefully be a riot to knock out in your living room.
The content even stretches beyond the band's career to include "Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows", a mashup taken from the mesmerising Love album, released in 2006. "It's part of the Beatles' canon and we felt it was important to represent it," says Drake.
The game features the remastered music, boasting technically exclusive mixes which have been tweaked to accommodate the needs of people waving plastic toys around and shouting at the telly.
"We need audio in stem format - drums, guitar, bass, vocals all separated, so when you miss a note you can drop out your part," Drake explains. "It's a priority of the game. Obviously the early Beatles recordings are in stereo, where you have vocals on one side and all the instruments on the other. So Abbey Road was really great about going and finding this amazing audio forensic tech to separate this stuff out."
Harmonix has worked closely with Giles Martin - son of Beatles producer Sir George - on the mixes, with the archives plundered for outtakes, quips and warm-ups taken from the original studio recordings used in-game, say, before you play "Here Comes The Sun". "You feel like you're in Abbey Road Studio 2 with them and playing the songs together".
I actually am, as it happens. In Studio 2. Murdering "I Am The Walrus" on stage in the very room it was recorded by the group in 1967. Harmonix has just played a three-song set in front of Giles Martin, Apple execs and journalists following the first play of the remastered music. Another big moment for videogames.
The animation that runs in the background of "Here Comes The Sun" is beamed onto a giant screen, as the Fab Four tune up in Studio 2, and a glance around at the real thing is a weird sensation to say the least.
In Career mode, the group's performances at the Cavern Club, on the Ed Sullivan Show, and in the Budokan Hall and Shea Stadium are recreated with pleasingly nerdy attention to detail. So once we reach the point where they quit touring to focus on the studio, Harmonix has created 'Dreamscape' sequences that begin in Studio 2 before morphing into unique, gorgeous animations for each relevant track.
Stylistically, then, every effort has been made to make this a complete Beatles 'experience'. But what about the gameplay? Beatles: Rock Band is, essentially and unsurprisingly, Rock Band 2 with a couple of important twists.
The main one is the inclusion of vocal harmonies for the first time. Up to three vocal parts can be performed in relevant songs in addition to all the regular instruments, meaning you can have six people rocking out at once if you have all the kit handy.
Picking out harmonies can be an immense challenge, however, even if you think you know a song intimately. And to perform them in unison for the untrained can prove exceptionally difficult when they are often closely packed together. So Harmonix is helpfully including a Vocal Training Mode designed to help players nail the harmonies - although we've yet to see this running.
Slagging off Ringo's drumming skills is the laziest of all music jibes, and what he may have lacked in technical proficiency, the left-hander makes up for with his unmistakable off-beat style, as distinctive as a Macca bassline. So, Ringo fans rejoice at the Beatle Beats mode - a drum trainer for battering away with actual Beatles percussion samples. Again, this sounds promising, but we haven't seen it in action.
Having said all that, as Lennon famously observed, never mind the best drummer in the world, ol' Ringo isn't even the best drummer in The Beatles. So those hankering after the stick-wielding skills of Macca are well served by "Dear Prudence" - performed majestically on record by Paul, who drilled out the genius fills of the outro.
Outside of Career mode, Quickplay enables access to every song on the disc from the word go, while supporting standard Rock Band fare like Tug of War and Score Duel. Easy difficulty is also now 'no-fail' as standard. Chapter Challenges, meanwhile, are tied into the game's rewards system - complete specific objectives to unlock images, audio and video from all points of the Beatles story.
Replica instruments, despite appearances, are identical to the ones that came with Rock Band 2. Paul Hoffner Bass, John, Rickenbacker 325, George's Gretsch Duo Jet and Ringo's Ludwig kit all look the part, for sure. But whether you really feel the need for them in your life depends on the extent of your Beatlemania, and the contents of your wallet. And they really don't come cheap.
The boxset - featuring game, bass, drumkit, mic and mic stand - weighs in at a hefty £179, while the Rickenbacker and Gretsch replicas retail at an eye-watering £90 each. And, bear in mind, if you truly want to recapture that Beatles magic, you'll need three mics, three mic stands, three guitars, a drum kit, and a massive overdraft.
If, like me, you are of the opinion that Guitar Hero guitars are infinitely superior, then you'll probably want to stick with those if you have them already.
It is to state the bleeding obvious to note that your enjoyment of the game depends on your love of Beatles music. Content aside, it is, as I've said, Rock Band 2 with vocal harmonies. In other words, it's a slightly improved version of arguably the greatest music game ever released. That said, we've still yet to experience the training modes, which will prove crucial to many in enabling them to get the most out of the experience. Harmonies are a great addition, but if they're a ballache to learn they could largely go ignored.
But it's hard to imagine Beatlemaniacs not thrilling at the attention to detail seen in the visual artistry of the animated sequences, and the use of archive and freshly remastered material.
Official DLC plans so far include Abbey Road, and a timed exclusive of "All You Need Is Love" for 360. One unknown is quite how tracks like Abbey Road's "Because", with its nine-part harmonies and keyboard line, translate into the game without being, well, rubbish. All Harmonix will say for now is: "You make adaptations so it's fun to play, even if it's not 100 per cent authentic".
It's hard to fault the game as a Beatles product, based on what's been shown so far. What we'll be looking for, come review time, is how those modes play out, and whether the experience - beyond the content - represents any palpable improvement over previous Rock Bands.
The Beatles: Rock Band is coming to PS2, PS3, Wii and Xbox 360 on 9th September.