Konami announced it'll distribute Def Jam Rapstar
, the music game announced last year
from new studio 4mm Games and Terminal Reality under the marquee of the longstanding hip hop record label.
The announcement promises "the first true interactive Hip Hop music game experience for consoles", and reveals the game will launch on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii. The announcement specifies 40 tracks "at release", suggesting plans to support the game with future music releases.
Major artists and songs have been revealed, like 2 Pac's "I Get Around," Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg's classic "Nuthin' But A 'G' Thang", Kanye West and Jamie Foxx's "Gold Digger" and more from Lil' Wayne, Notorious B.I.G., Slick Rick, Young Jeezy and others. The company also says it will have region-specific music for the U.S. and UK versions.
Users can rhyme along with the music or freestyle, and are intended to use their "console camera" to record and upload performances to the official community site
4mm chief creative officer and co-founder Jamie King tells Gamasutra that Konami's history as an early pioneer in the music and rhythm game space, from Beatmania
through Dance Dance Revolution
, made it the ideal distributor. "It seemed like a natural fit to work with a company that understands what it takes to bring a game like this to market, and that’s exactly what Konami offers us," he says.
King calls Def Jam Rapstar
a "game made by Hip Hop fans for Hip Hop fans," but said the studio also hopes to reach more casual fans: "Without question hardcore Hip Hop heads will find much to love about the game and our tracklist, but there is plenty in the game for the more casual music fan as well."
Given the enormous contraction that the music genre has seen in recent years, however, is there concern about launching a music game in the current environment? "There might be a decline in the 'Rock' music game genre, but I don’t see a decline in the 'Hip Hop' music game genre, because there is nothing out there for fans of Hip Hop," says King.
"So if there is nothing serving a community, then how can there be a decline? We feel pretty good about what we look to deliver this fall with Def Jam Rapstar
," he adds.
As part of today's official announcement, Def Jam Enterprises president and CEO Kevin Liles says: "It is an incredible opportunity to work with 4mm Games and Terminal Reality in developing Def Jam Rapstar, by partnering with Konami we ensure that everyone around the world will have an opportunity to compete with the best of the best."
4mm Games was established by King and Gary Foreman -- co-founders of Rockstar Games -- in May of last year. It has a strategic partnership with Autumn Games, which is co-publishing the game with Konami. It's Autumn's first major release, and the company intends "to provide a new way for top-flight developers to independently make and release games that challenge traditional boundaries."