After the success of "Found Me the Bomb" by Buckner & Garcia on the Rock Band Network, I had wanted to work on more projects with Giant Bomb. One of the great things about the site is its music, from the various iterations to the Bombcast theme to the E3 music playing before video features this week. If you aren't aware, these are all done by Giant Bomb user WaffleStomp, aka Phil Reno.
After finally meeting Ryan at PAX East this year, I asked for his blessing to bring original Giant Bomb songs to the Rock Band Network. He told me to go talk to Phil, and now I'm glad to reveal that we're going through with it.
The video is just a prototype made specifically for this reveal. We're not just releasing 30-second themes, because that would be pretty lame. Instead, we will be working with Phil to create medleys of these shorter themes, extended versions of some, and other fun and crazy experiments. All the songs will be re-recorded to ensure the best quality. It might take a little time, but it'll be worth it. Just be sure to follow my blog on here or my Twitter for updates and new videos as we make progress.
So, if you watch the Big Live Live Show Live, you notice something crazy happened toward the end of the show. No, not Norm almost killing everyone with a giant sword, but Buckner & Garcia's brand new song, about Giant Bomb! My name is Owen Douglass, and I am the owner of Ozone Entertainment. Last December, I revealed that Ozone Entertainment was working with Buckner & Garcia to bring the Pac-Man Fever album to the Rock Band Network. This was to celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Pac-Man, and 2011 would be the 30th anniversary of the title song's debut. Jerry and Gary were very open to the idea, and helped get me everything I needed to get started.
Halfway through creating the Rock Band tracks, I came to the conclusion that trying to release eight song simultaneously was absolutely insane. I highly doubted I could get all of them fully tested and reviewed in a timely fashion, and then expect people to buy all of them right off the bat. So I split the album into two tracks - each with two songs from side A and two songs from side B. I settled on making sure the first set all had harmonies too, because singing with friends make it even more ridiculous to play.
When preparing to promote the first set of songs, I approached several sites. Rock Band fan sites, IGN, even Harmonix themselves. But the most enthusiastic of the places I contacted was Giant Bomb. As you may be aware, the Bomb Crew are big fans of Pac-Man Fever, with Jeff being a huge fan of the whole album. It was brought to my attention that a Pac-Man Scrub League was coming up, and I thought what better opportunity would there be to have Buckner & Garcia come on and talk about the album!
Jerry Buckner & Gary Garcia are extremely nice guys, and were up for ANYTHING to help promote the album. Written interviews, phone calls, allowing me to make videos, whatever helped me out. So when I asked them to appear on TNT for the Scrub League, they enthusiastically agreed. And so, they went on and discussed the album's creation, why Rovio are a bunch of assholes, and that a new mobile game was in development (EXCLUSIVE!). I can tell you that before then, I got to hear the full Angry Birds song. And it is the most bat-shit crazy song I've ever heard from those two. I mean, I was on the phone with them as it played and I didn't even have a reaction to give them. It was unlike anything they've done before. It's a shame you'll never hear it, especially since I don't have a copy of it. Maybe one day, if you guys pester Rovio enough to give them permission.
A few days passed, and the Bombcast came out. On it, they discussed how great it was to have Buckner & Garcia on and how much Rovio sucks. Then, Ryan let something slip.
"I want... I want Buckner & Garcia to write a Giant Bomb song. I want them to write a song about this stupid Web site."
The second I heard that, a lightbulb hit my head. Obviously Buckner & Garcia still have what it takes to make great songs - I heard it in the Angry Birds song. Since people can't hear that, why don't we do this for Giant Bomb as a thank you for being so nice to us and allowing us to be on TNT. I emailed Buckner & Garcia, explaining the situation, and I persuaded them that it was a great idea. I then sent an email to Ryan saying that were going to do this, and he pretty much brushed it off. Yeah, like Buckner & Garcia would do this.
Except, they're working with me now. And I tend to pull off some incredibly stupid things.
So I buckled down and went through the site. Buckner & Garcia songs are well-known for their silly references to the subject manner, so I had to make sure this song had plenty of them. We were on TNT, that's a big thing. The Bombcast and Quick Looks are their most popular features. That was easy. But Giant Bomb has some crazy memes that would be perfect. I sent Buckner & Garcia quite a few of them. The "I'm a Wizard" and "Uh uh uh uh uh" ones stuck out most, so that's why they ended up being prominent in the song. Unfortunately, we didn't end up using "BatmanBatmanBatman" , "Rider Meet Horse, Horse Meet Ride", and "Pulling a Brad". Maybe in the seque... I mean, what? No, we're not doing a second song!
Buckner & Garcia did their magic, and put the pieces together, making the lyrics crazy and finding the perfect work-around to making the wizard reference work without needing explicit censoring. They laid on a bluesy jam on top of it, making sure to incorporate all of the Rock Band instruments, and sent me the initial mix. I was blown away by how good it was and the next morning passed it on to Ryan. To say he was excited was an understatement.
We decided to keep the song a secret until the Big Live Live Show Live (which was a month away) so that I would have time to produce a Rock Band Network version of the song to show off, since just playing a song with no visuals on a video stream would be... weird. Buckner & Garcia added an extra guitar solo, some more keys, and then I got to work. In a short period of time, I got it all together and was just about ready to do for September. Except... it needed a little something extra.
I decided to make the band look like the Bomb Crew! This was surprisingly more difficult than you'd think. About 10,000 people were going to watch this. If I didn't create decent versions of the people they've been following for years, I'm pretty sure they'd be pissed. So I grabbed headshots of all four of them (sorry, Patrick), and meticulously re-created them as best I could. Rock Band has pretty limited tools I quickly found out. For example, I wanted Jeff to be in a full tracksuit, but I couldn't find pants in there. I also had trouble capturing Vinny's full badass-ness in a video game, so I just went all out on him with a sweet spiked-shoulder leather jacket. I do think I got Jeff a bit too well, as it sort of creeps me out to look at it.
So the week of the show, I sent over the video of the Rock Band track, the final mp3, and the details on how Gary would call into the show and they gave me the time on the schedule. Going on in the final half hour of the show? Madness! We somehow pulled it off though and didn't get too out-shined by the other insane things during the show. People seemed to enjoy it, and now we just have to get it into Rock Band.
We're aiming to have it out on Xbox 360 along with Pac-Man Fever Set 2 later this month or early October. Pac-Man Fever Set 1 is available now on the Xbox 360 AND Playstation 3. Will this song appear on the PS3 too? Well, just pester John Drake about it. He totally controls that. 16 Comments
I'm happy to let you know that the first batch of Buckner & Garcia tracks will be available in Rock Band 3 on Xbox 360 TOMORROW! Get your MS Points ready, because here's a look at the full charts!
And if you're wondering about the rest of the album, fret not! The other 4 songs are in the works, including "Do the Donkey Kong", "Ode to a Centipede", "The Defender", and "Goin' Berzerk"! Don't believe me? Here's a very early look at them:
Also Ryan is going to be giving away CD copies of the album with Pac-Man cheat sheets signed by Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia! Make sure to keep an eye on when he does something crazy with that. Should be fun!
If you missed the news, I announced that the Pac-Man Fever album release on the Rock Band Network will be broken up into two sets to allow the songs to come out. So when can you expect Pac-Man Fever Set 1 to come out on the Xbox Live Marketplace? Well, how about next month!
That's right. All four tracks of the first set are now in the RBN pipeline being tested and reviewed to ensure maximum awesomeness. So, how do they look in the game now? Allow me to show you.
We hope you enjoy these great tracks, coming soon to Rock Band 3. Oh, and since you're here on Giant Bomb I would suggest keeping your eyes out for a special treat next month from the Giant Bomb Crew. As Ryan Davis said, "Pac-Man is relevant again in 2011" and the Fever is just heating up.
Just thought I'd drop in from the studio to give you guys a little update on how the album is coming along. If you don't know, the full 8-track "Pac-Man Fever" album is coming to the Rock Band Network, and it's going to be awesome.
First, let me clear up some things brought up from news articles, people messaging me, and even an episode of the Bombcast:
1) The songs will be the 1999 re-recordings that Buckner & Garcia released that year. There's several reasons for this. For one thing, these recordings were done on much better equipment, making them easier for us to work with in the mixing process. Another big reason is the reason they even exist: Sony wouldn't give Jerry and Gary access to the original masters. So with full control of these masters, it made the process easy without going through Sony.
2) All of the game sound effects are there. Jeff wondered this on the Bombcast a while back, and I can safely say they'll all be intact, from the Pac-Man death noise to the Donkey Kong climbing noise. I've been asked if any of these sounds will be assigned to the instruments, and they will not be due to it making no sense to jump from the real instrument part to the game sounds and back again. It'd break away from the authentic feel of the songs.
However, a nice feature I've done exclusive to these versions of the songs is that the required count-ins for them in the game all were created using the sound effects. So when you start up the title track, you'll hear a count-in consisting of Pac-Man's wakka sound.
3) The songs will be using RBN2, which includes all the new features from Rock Band 3. This means that the songs will not be playable in Rock Band 2, but this is a compromise we're willing to take as it gives us access to keyboard and vocal harmonies. If you've listened to the album, you'll know both of these are very prominent is each song and will be extremely fun to play. For example, on the title track during the chorus the lead singer sings "I've got Pac-Man Fever" while the harmonies echo "Pac-Man Fever!" In a party scene, we can imagine how fun that will be.
Also, this will give us access to the Pro Modes for Rock Band 3. Now, some articles have been mentioning Pro Guitar support for these songs. RBN2 does not give us access to author that mode, so even if we wanted to it'd be impossible to implement. But the songs will have Pro Drums and Pro Keyboards, and they'll add an extra layer of difficulty to these songs that will challenge players.
Now, second I'd like to let you guys know how the actual work is going on the tracks. Two of the songs have already went into playtesting, "Pac-Man Fever" and "Froggy's Lament". Jerry and Gary have sent me along the masters to all eight songs now, so we're chipping away at the charting and mixing for them now. Of course, we can't put in the keys and harmonies yet, but hopefully by next month Harmonix will release the new RBN tools to allow us.
Jerry, Gary, and I are all very excited about this whole process and are so grateful for all the positive feedback we've received about the album's Rock Band release. We hope you're all ready to catch the Fever again later this year, and when new things develop I'll try to post another blog update for you guys. Leave me some comments below and I'll try to respond to what I can. Thanks!
Full "Pac-Man Fever" album coming to the Rock Band Network
PHILADELPHIA - (December 13, 2010) - Ozone Entertainment today announced they will be authoring the rhythm game debut of video game enthusiasts Buckner & Garcia for the Rock Band Network. Their debut album "Pac-Man Fever" will be coming to the service in its entirety in celebration of Pac-Man's 30th Anniversary.
The album was originally released in 1982 consists of eight tracks, each themed after classic video games such as Frogger and Centipede, and feature sound effects taken directly from the games. The title song peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 and is certified gold by the RIAA.
"We are very excited to be working on bringing this classic album to Rock Band," said Owen Douglass, owner of Ozone Entertainment. "With the release of all the fantastic new Pac-Man games this year, it shows that the character is still very relevent after all these years and people still love to play his games. We wanted to reintroduce today's gamers to the song that defined the peak of Pac-Man's cultural success, as well as the entire album which celebrates some of the other great titles of gaming's past."
"We are very excited to have our album released on the Rock Band Network especially in light of Pac-Man's 30th anniversary," said Jerry Buckner. His partner Gary Garcia added, "We had a lot of fun recording it and hope our fans have fun playing along with all the songs."
All eight of the songs from the album will take advantage of the new features introduced into the series by Rock Band 3, including Pro Drums, Standard and Pro Keyboard, and Vocal Harmonies. They are expected to hit to Rock Band Music Store on the Xbox 360 in early 2011, with potential future releases on the Playstation 3 and Wii consoles.
Hey there, Giant Bomb. I'm Owen Douglass, the owner of Ozone Entertainment. Most people will recognize me from my work on the Rock Band Network. I'm the guy behind the songs by Ron Wasserman, Counterfeit Pennies (as featuring in the free RBN Megamix 1), Sophie B. Hawkins, The Giraffes, and Eiffel 65.
I'm really enjoying what I've seen on the site thus far and will do my best to try to contribute when I can. I'll also make sure to keep you guys in the loop on Rock Band projects I announce and other fun stuff like that. So I just wanted to say hello, and I look forward to interacting with all of you!