Almost coming out of nowhere, the PSP announcement of Rockstar's Beaterator has been met with mixed response, namely from the elitist whose desire is to criticise the game's figurehead, Timbaland. At the end of the day though, whether you want to rise above elitism or not, it's instantly obvious why Rockstar decided to team up with Timbaland to create Beaterator. Not only is the guy an incredibly marketable name, he's also actually a rather good producer — as is accountable by the number of mega hits he's produced.
Beaterator is being described by Rockstar as an "application" rather than a video game of sorts. Which is reassuring for those of us who have long been searching for a quality portable music creation tool. The most video gamey aspect of Beaterator comes in the application's Live Play mode, a simple setting used for quickly putting together jams in a traditional "rhythmn game" fashion. Interestingly, Beaterator has been developed with not just hip-hop music in mind, but also rock, drum & bass and most interestingly to us, pop. By using the face buttons in Live Play you'll be able to trigger various samples created by Timbaland, and come up with ideas by quickly slotting them together. You can even use the PSP 3000/Go's microphone to record your own samples and one shots. As an interface, Live Play is meant to be simple and intuitive. This mode is for those who have never used a production package before, or those who want to just put down quick ideas.
Once you feel like you've got a groove in Live Play, you can record your session and then import it into the much more complex Studio Session area. Here's where the application starts to open up, giving you access to a variety of knobs, buttons and elements to tweak. You'll be able to use a Cubase-esque grid to chop, tweak and move various samples around the score, allowing you to arrange songs in a more detailed manner than Live Play.
Of course, that's not all though. The final element of Beaterator lies in its Song Crafter mode. This is where we start to get really interested. It's here that you can program your own sounds, chop and cut the packaged loops and develop your own beats using Beaterator's drum machine. This is the bulk of the package and where you're going to be able to create your own sound.
Importantly songs can be exported as WAV files, allowing further song creation to be done in home computer music production suites. Alternatively, you might just want to send your beat to a buddy. It's up to you.
And that's really the beauty of Beaterator - for those interested in music this is a true sandbox. With a range of options available for those who are new to music production, or those who already take it very seriously, anyone interested is likely to get something out of Beaterator. Whether it's music producers creating a simple beat on the bus to layer into their latest single or friends messing around with the Live Play option — Beaterator sounds very promising indeed.
We can't wait to review the whole package.