Disney and rock go together about as well as taste buds and vegemite. While the cage dancers in Guitar Hero III
were some slight embarrassment, just think of the cringe factor when
you suddenly realize you’re expected to mash buttons to a Nelson song.
Or, and you know this is going to happen, Hannah Montana covering Avril
Lavigne?

Ultimate Band
might force you to realize those fears when it arrives for the Wii and
Nintendo DS. Disney Interactive has seen the earning power of Guitar Hero and Rock Band and, as the screenshots show, lifted as many aspects as possible.

The
interesting thing here is that there are no peripherals. On the DS
you’ll play guitar, drums and sing with just the stylus, while Wii
users will use only the system’s controller(s). Noble idea, sure, but
one that misses the point that the peripherals are half the fun.
They’re ridiculous, yes, but so is most of gaming when you get down to
the nuts and bolts. There’s a reason no one plays Guitar Hero with the controller, even when trying to earn a stupid achievement: it’s lame.

Obviously, you want the track list. So do I. But this is what we’ve got so far. Disney
is working with some of the very biggest names in rock, alternative,
popular, emo and indie rock music, allowing band mates to play sets
from a broad selection of current hits and all-time rock favorites.


More interesting is the ability to create and mix tracks on the DS, as detailed below. That could be the key feature.

Ultimate Band hits this holiday season. Here’s the press release, with more images afterward:

DISNEY INTERACTIVE STUDIOS INTRODUCES ULTIMATE BAND – THE ONLY ALL-INCLUSIVE MUSIC VIDEO GAME EXPERIENCE FOR ALL AGES

No Peripherals Required, Ultimate Band Makes the Power to Rock Truly Accessible

BURBANK,
Calif. – (February 27, 2008) – Disney Interactive Studios announced
today, Ultimate Band, an all new music experience for fans of the Wii™
home video game system and Nintendo DS™.  Gamers and music lovers of
all ages will realize their dream of becoming a rock legend when they
build their own band or jam alone, all fueled only by the power of the
Wii controllers and the DS stylus.  Disney is working with some of the
very biggest names in rock, alternative, popular, emo and indie rock
music, allowing band mates to play sets from a broad selection of
current hits and all-time rock favorites. Friends and families can rock
out on guitar, bass, drums or as the front man.


“Ultimate
Band invites kids, tweens and teens to join in the jam session,” said
Craig Relyea, senior vice president, global marketing, Disney
Interactive Studios.  “And whether they choose guitar, drums, bass or
front man, members don’t need to buy costly, single-function
peripherals to play their way through Ultimate Band’s deep song list,
dynamic venues, and customizable characters. The Wii Remote™ and DS
stylus are the only tools they’ll need to reach rock stardom in
Ultimate Band.”


Working
with leading London-based music consultants, Radial Music, Disney has
chosen to combine familiar classics with today’s hottest songs in
creating Ultimate Band – a product with global appeal across all age
groups. Instantly-recognizable songs from classic rock to current hit
singles will bring players together for endless hours of entertainment.


“Radial
worked closely with Disney to compile the perfect song list for
Ultimate Band,” said David Hill of Radial Music. “With iconic songs
from every decade since the 60s, these games feature music for
everyone.”


Ultimate
Band, being developed by Fall Line Studio in Salt Lake City, UT, is
slated for release during the 2008 holiday season. When Disney formed
Fall Line Studio in November, 2006, Ultimate Band was the first project
the team began building. Fall Line Studio’s focus is to develop Wii and
Nintendo DS games based on new intellectual property, Disney brands
(with Disney/Walden Media’s The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian on
the Nintendo DS being its first release), and innovative new
technologies such as DGamer which will provide a fun, connected game
community for Disney video game fans.


Ultimate
Band for Wii allows players to live the life of a rock star, by
advancing their music careers and popularity from playing in a
neighborhood garage to performing in front of an international audience
at a world famous venue. Ultimate Band utilizes the innovative Wii
Remote and Nunchuk™ to give fans the ability to play the drums, bass
guitar, lead guitar, or take on the role of the front man.  Players can
also create and customize characters that reflect their own unique
personalities and attributes. Along the way, players will unlock new
songs, venues, and accessories that can be used to customize their band
members.


Ultimate
Band for Nintendo DS is a rhythm-based music game with a built-in
recording studio.  Players can jam to current and classic songs using
the drums, lead guitar, bass guitar, or rhythm guitar. Players can also
create their own original songs using the DS touchscreen and stylus to
lay down tracks for each instrument and apply creative mixing effects.
Ultimate Band for Nintendo DS will also include DGamer functionality
which will allow players to engage with others in a secure online
community via their DS (Wi-Fi or ad hoc) or computer.


Ultimate Band will be rated E10+ (anticipated) and available this holiday season for Wii and Nintendo DS.