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Beat Legend: Avicii interview: Rhythm gaming evolves with the legendary EDM artist

Shacknews spoke with Jean-Marcel Nicolai, COO of Atari, about the new mobile rhythm game Beat Legend: Avicii and how it came to be.


There's no denying that the late Tim "Avicii" Bergling was one of the best EDM musicians in the scene. Though unfortunately he's gone now, we still have his songs to remember him by – that, and the latest rhythm game inspired by his work, Beat Legend: Avicii.

The premium mobile game is the first title in a series of planned musical artist-focused rhythm games that will eventually feature several different musicians. Avicii has the honor of being first in this title, and we sat down with Jean-Marcel Nicolai, COO of Atari, to get a bit of background on this particular title.

If you're a music lover or a fan of Avicii, you'll definitely want to take a look at Beat Legend: Avicii. Before you run off to grab the game, you might want to sit back and take in this interview first, however. Check out our chat with Nicolai below. 

Shacknews: How did you decide on which songs to include for this game in comparison to AVICII Invector?

Jean-Marcel Nicolai: We went through the roster of Avicii’s incredible music and picked 15 of his biggest chart-toppers. We chose songs that resonate with millions of fans, along with ones that are ideally suited for translation into playable levels. We hope that the song selection and presentation help pay tribute to the music and legacy of Avicii, bringing his biggest tracks to eye-popping, pulse-pounding life.

Shacknews: Why did you decide to swap from the format of AVICII Invector to this new one that looks more akin to games like Guitar Hero/Rock Band note paths?

Nicolai: Mobile platforms deserve a lot of attention, and you always need to have a specific format. The tap-and-swipe gameplay we utilize for Beat Legend is a natural fit for touch controls. It is the best way to translate the speed and dynamism of AVICII Invector onto mobile devices. The design was refined through internal and external playtesting and we landed on something that will feel comfortable for fans of the mobile rhythm genre while adding some unique gameplay twists.

Shacknews: Is the game only coming to mobile devices?

Nicolai: Beat Legend: AVICII is currently only available on the App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android).

Shacknews: Will Beat Legend: AVICII be free-to-play or will it be part of a platform in which you eventually pay for "modules" with additional artists?

Nicolai: Beat Legend: AVICII is a premium title, providing 15 Avicii tracks for $2.99.

Shacknews: Did this move come about as a result of the popularity of AVICII Invector?

Nicolai: We are huge fans of Avicii, so when Hello There Games — the developer of AVICII: Invector — came to us with this exciting opportunity to publish a mobile adaptation, we jumped at the chance. We knew we could make a great game, one that is a love letter and memorial to the music and legacy of Avicii.

Shacknews: Will there be any crossover, story-wise, with AVICII Invector?

Nicolai: Beat Legend: AVICII features similar environments to AVICII Invector, and you’re piloting the same ship from Invector. Beyond that, the format of Beat Legend is quite different- it offers a roster of 15 tracks that you can pick from at your discretion and play at any time, as opposed to the level-based progression of Invector. Down the road, each game will be managed independently as audiences and gameplay are different.

Shacknews: Have you received any feedback from AVICII Invector that you took to improve or expand upon Beat Legend: AVICII?

Nicolai: As mentioned above, the gameplay and the audiences are different, so we tend to look at each game separately, and not necessarily implement the same features. The overall response to Invector was extremely positive, so we wanted to ensure we transferred the same spirit of excitement from that title into Beat Legend.

Shacknews: Will there be additional songs to download with Beat Legend: AVICII, and will they be on a paid basis?

Nicolai: The game comes with 15 tracks at launch, we have plans for additional content packs of Avicii music in future updates.

Shacknews: Are there any special features you have planned for Beat Legend: AVICII that we haven't seen in any music game before?

Nicolai: We hope the combination of legendary Avicii tracks, gorgeous psychedelic visuals, and engrossing gameplay provides a one-of-a-kind rhythm experience on mobile, one that satisfies both long-time Avicii fans and those just getting to know the music of this indelible artist.

Shacknews: What additional artists do you plan on showcasing for this new series?

Nicolai: In the future, we will add new Avicii tracks, and eventually music by new artists. Stay tuned for more details!

Senior Editor

Fueled by horror, rainbow-sugar-pixel-rushes, and video games, Brittany is a Senior Editor at Shacknews who thrives on surrealism and ultraviolence. Follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake and check out her portfolio for more. Like a fabulous shooter once said, get psyched!

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