It's the day our neighbours prayed would never come: Sony has announced that it plans to launch a follow-up to London Studio's SingStar title this November, featuring 30 new songs from artists ranging from Duran Duran, Elvis and George Michael to Busted, Destiny's Child and Natasha Bedingfield.
Called SingStar Party, the new edition will feature team modes, proper duets, extended EyeToy compatibility and even a way of unlocking all the original SingStar's songs to take advantage of the new features. It'll be available in two packages - one featuring the dual microphones and USB adapter that shipped with the original game, and one standalone version for people who already have them.
For those with no experience of SingStar: you're missing out. The idea is to sing along to songs in a karaoke style while the game measures the pitch, tone and rhythm of your voice and scores you accordingly. It's a guilty pleasure on your own, but it's an absolute riot played with friends - and that's one of the key things Sony is hoping to nail down with SingStar Party.
The Duet Mode, for a start, now allows players to each sing one vocal part of a song, rather than singing along simultaneously and trying to out-score one another (although that 'Battle' mode is still in there, obviously). In Solo mode, you'll sing one part of the song and the original artist will sing the other. The duets named on the track listing are Elton John and Kiki Dee's Don't Go Breaking My Heart and Sonny and Cher's I Got You Babe.
Pass The Mic mode, meanwhile, caters to larger groups of players - something that will sound good to anybody who ever had a roomful of people eagerly scrambling for the microphone with the original game. Players will group together in teams, and take each other on in solo rounds, combined duets, random battles, surprise singer selections, first-to-a-certain-score and first-team-to-7,500-points, amongst other things. Players and songs will be picked by carousel, and there'll also be a "Shuffle Token" that players can use to spin it again if they don't fancy the song the wheel selects.
It'll be easy to identify who goes next, too, as the expanded EyeToy compatibility will use pictures of each player to identify them when it comes to their turn, on menu screens, and of course on high score tables. You can also have EyeToy put you behind the bars of music rather than the artist's video, if you prefer.
Of course, the track listing will be the thing that most of you want to hear about, so we won't delay you much longer - except to say that you'll be able to insert the original SingStar disc at the carousel screen and update SingStar Party with the 30 songs from the original game, giving you the chance to sing along to 60 in total, in all the new game modes including duet. Presumably this means they're on the Party disc already and the original disc merely unlocks them, but we're sure you don't care particularly about that.
And, before we paste in that all-important track list, we'd also like to point out that it would be nice if SingStar Party fixed a few of the niggles in the original, something that Sony has yet to comment on. After a while we grew a little annoyed with the way the timing was fractionally off on playback, and the way the game preferred us to hold notes without tapering off, whatever the singer happened to be doing. It'd be nice to see better handling of harmonies too - we still can't do that Mis-Teeq song. Oh, and we want more distortion effects on playback. Please?
Here's the full, 30-song track listing:
- Alicia Keys - Fallin'
- Ashford & Simpson - Solid
- Bill Withers - Ain't No Sunshine
- Blu Cantrell - Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!)
- Bob Marley - No Woman No Cry
- Buggles - Video Killed The Radio Star
- Busted - Year 3000
- Cyndi Lauper - Girls Just Wanna Have Fun
- Destiny's Child - Survivor
- Dido - White Flag
- Duran Duran - Hungry Like The Wolf
- Elton John & Kiki Dee - Don't Go Breaking My Heart
- Elvis - Way Down
- Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out
- George Michael - Faith
- Jamiroquai - Cosmic Girl
- Javine - Real Things
- Kylie Minogue - I Should Be So Lucky
- Little Richard - Tutti Frutti
- Maroon 5 - This Love
- Natasha Bedingfield - Single
- Pink - Just Like A Pill
- Scissor Sisters - Take Your Mamma
- Sonny & Cher - I Got You Babe
- Spandau Ballet - Gold
- Spice Girls - Who Do You Think You Are
- The Beautiful South - A Little Time
- The Foundations - Build Me Up Buttercup
- The Police - Every Breath You Take
- Tiffany - I Think We're Alone Now