Disney forms own 'Band'


SAN DIEGO -- Disney Interactive Studios made a major move into the growing music gaming space Wednesday, announcing its release of "Ultimate Band" for the holiday season for the Nintendo Wii and portable DS systems.

Unlike such top-selling titles as MTV/Electronic Arts' "Rock Band" and Activision's "Guitar Hero" series, Disney Interactive's game will not require any musical instrument-like peripherals -- only the DS stylus and Wii controller and nunchuk -- for gamers to rock out on guitar, bass, drums or as lead singer.

The game was developed by Disney's Fall Line Studios, but the company also worked with leading London-based music consultants Radial Music on a song list that will range from 1960s classics to current pop hits.

Disney Interactive has successfully released games based on "Hannah Montana" and "High School Musical 2," but Disney senior game designer Derek Dutilly stressed that "Band" is much more than a vehicle for Disney recording artists.

"We worked with Radial to make sure we hit a wide variety of music," he said, citing "Whip It" by Devo, "My Generation" by the Who and "Fell in Love With a Girl" by the White Stripes as being among the songs included on "Band."

"We tried to hit a broad spectrum, but stuff that people were still familiar with," Dutilly said.

Dutilly noted that it was challenging to create a game without such add-ons as guitar or drums, but said, "We decided early on we wanted to be peripheral-less. We think the Wii remote and nunchuk and touch-screen on the DS really bring a lot to the table. The motion-sensing aspects that are built into the Wii are absolutely perfect for this game."

He added that the lack of peripherals also means the game can also be priced for the mass market -- and well below the more than $150 that the "Rock Band" game, with all its instrument peripherals, currently costs.