The Grateful Dead Gamers are about to embark on a long, strange trip.
Provided, that is, they decide to truck along with a virtual world based on iconic jam rockers The Grateful Dead. Due to launch in August,
the online game is being handled by Curious Sense, who recently created 'Find Your Own Way Home,' an online venture based on the substantially less influential REO Speedwagon.
Sound crazy? Not to Curious Sense CEO Adam Blumenthal, who told Rolling Stone that the Dead is "one of two or three perfect bands for this kind of multi-channel game
Multi-channel is right. The new game world will be accessible from a variety of services,
including Facebook, the band's official site, and mobile devices. It won't, however,
be just another button-tapping rhythm game.
Though quite early in development, the socially-driven game world will reportedly be built
around the band's music, touching upon Grateful Dead themes like trains, Americana,
gambling, nature, and, of course, outer space. Different regions of the world
will feature different Grateful Dead minigames and activities. The game's
developers have full access to the band's license -- including their names,
likenesses, and a massive vault of photos, videos and more -- so fans should
expect it to be authentic.
"While some games will definitely be for the faithful, many others will be successful
first as great games designed with broadly-appealing Grateful Dead
themes," Blumenthal said. "The music won't be in your face so much,
unless you want it that way."
It's a much different approach than the typical band-based games that have dominated
home consoles over the past five years -- and likely a more profitable one. Acts
like Aerosmith and Metallica enjoyed initial success with their own branded
Guitar Hero games, but that was before the music game genre fell on hard times.
Recent Rock Band games based on The Beatles and Green Day were considered sales
The Dead isn't the only iconic act taking their show online. The Michael
Jackson-themed Planet Michael is due to launch in 2011, a virtual world
inspired by the King of Pop's lyrics and philanthropic interests.