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Beatles: Rock Band wows Abbey Road

Harmonix performs at remasters unveiling.

The Beatles: Rock Band took centre stage at Abbey Road studios last night, during an exclusive preview event for the newly remastered Fab Four back catalogue.

In front of a small invited audience in Studio 2, where The Beatles recorded the bulk of their music, staff from Harmonix and MTV performed a three-song set - "I Saw Her Standing There", "I Am The Walrus" and "Here Comes The Sun" - before inviting guests up on stage to try it out.

Before that, snippets from a bunch of remastered Beatles tracks were played alongside the originals to highlight the differences, which were pretty spectacular in most cases, although admittedly played through the studio's megabucks set-up.

The game received equal billing alongside a preview of arguably the music industry's biggest event of the year, which was quite a coup for the developers, MTV and EA. And the audience was able to see, during "Here Comes The Sun", how the room they were sitting in has been replicated exactly for the background animation in-game, before it morphed into one of the many impressive 'dreamscape' animations.

The gorgeous intro cinematic - which was our pick of E3 - was also aired on a big screen, to rapturous applause from a crowd including Love producer Giles Martin, Apple Corps senior management, Xbox Europe execs and, fitting in seamlessly, Eurogamer.

Eurogamer's Johnny Minkley and Kristan Reed play Abbey Road. This is what childhood dreams look like in action.

One non-gaming Beatles fan wowed by Rock Band was chief leader writer of The Times, Daniel Finkelstein, who rushed over to speak to Harmonix immediately after their performance, then stumbled through Macca's bass part to "I Want To Hold Your Hand" on stage.

Speaking to Eurogamer as he came off the stage, he said: "It's terrific, but I'm absolutely hopeless at it. I was really amazed by how good the remasters were, how good they came out. But the animation on this is fantastic. And it'll take quite a long time to master, but I bet I spend a lot of time doing it. You get the authentic experience; I really enjoyed it."

Writing up the event on the The Times' blog earlier today, he noted: "I am not a games player, I have to admit, but any Beatles fan would have to possess this. It really is quite extraordinary." He gets a bit mixed up about Guitar Hero and Rock Band, though.

Eurogamer, though, naturally stole the show with a heartbreaking rendition of "I Am The Walrus".

We'll have exclusive footage of Harmonix's Abbey Road spectacular, plus an interview with the team, and hands-on impressions of the latest build soon, once the pesky embargo lifts next month. In the meantime, here's a few pictures of us rocking out.

The Beatles: Rock Band is coming to PS2, PS3, Wii and Xbox 360 on 9th September.

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The Beatles: Rock Band

PS3, Xbox 360, PS2, Nintendo Wii

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Johnny Minkley avatar

Johnny Minkley


Johnny Minkley is a veteran games writer and broadcaster, former editor of Eurogamer TV, VP of gaming charity SpecialEffect, and hopeless social media addict.