Guest Star: "It's Kind Of Like Monopoly But In The Hip-Hop World"
Wednesday, Dec 19, 2012 2:15PM
[With the new release of his long-awaited The Mu$ic Biz: The Game finally available for download, creator Sudz Sutherland gives SOHH readers the inside scoop on the decked out app that allows you to go from nothin' to somethin' as a record label executive.]
I guess all my life I've been into hip-hop and from that, being sort of obsessed by music and things like Motown and Berry Gordy, black-owned businesses, I've always been looking at Motown and I've always been reading about that, reading about Russell Simmons, Def Jam, the formation of Def Jam, how Run-DMC came in, Too $hort, just entrepreneurship.
I've been raised on those stories and reading them over and over again and then coming up with a video game, we got introduced to a video game company called XMG. They came at me like, "Well, what type of game would you like to do?" It's kind of like Monopoly but in the hip-hop world. So what if there was a game where you could be this mogul and you could shape artists' careers and train them and through the artists themselves, actually record them?
What if you have an ability to actually mix beats? So this is how it started. It was all possible because we were working on the mobile platform. So one thing led to another and we just started talking and said, "Okay, let's actually do this. It wouldn't be too complex to do this, so let's do it"
I just came up with the concept and wrote the whole story behind the game. In terms of the development, I worked with the computer dudes at XMG and told them, "This is what I would love to see. I would love to see a way to be able to mix the music in the game." We were very persistent about that. We knew that would be very, very fun. Even if it was complex, we wanted to do this.
We pressed and pushed so that was in the game and a lot of people really feel like that's a really good feature in the game. We made all these loops, hired musicians to make all these loops so that the beats would match up and you could use any of them. We wanted the kids to be able to do this. We didn't want to make someone's lack of skills to impede their enjoyment of the game.
In terms of the overall story and the missions you could send your artist on, I wrote all that stuff. The game designer put it in level by level. We worked on it and it went back and forth many, many times. So part of my job is to say, "Nah, that's not good enough. Let's do this. The artist should go here."
We're going to have an update every few days as we get feedback from players. We aim to continue that through January and February, to continue updating and we want to come out with some real improvements so that game will look and feel differently.
We want to add more animation to the characters and so on because I think one of our strengths is we have great-looking characters and we want to make them even more fun and come up with some new beats as well.
Over the past 3 decades the industry and the music has changed dramatically, but the story continues. New generations of music fans and young moguls still aspire to greatness. The Mu$ic Biz is the classic story retold for the digital generation. It is a mobile gaming app where, for the first time, the audience creates their own music empire. Players will make decisions that can either lead to the top or down and out. The Mu$ic Biz narrative starts on the industry ground floor; players must build a label from one artist, with one song... to a roster of stars and a discography of hits. Selling records from the trunk of your car... all the way to superstardom. TMB let's you guide your artists through industry scenarios; developing their skills, creating and selecting tracks, promoting, touring. Good decisions, bad ones, it's all the part of the biz.
Check out the new Mu$ic Biz: The Game app: