Texan startup group Heatwave Interactive has struck an agreement with hip-hop artist TI to develop an MMO based around the life of a rapstar.
This is the first major project from Heatwave, which was founded in 2007 by former EA and Sony Online dev Anthony Castoro. The group won $7.5 million in VC funding from Syndicated Communications Venture Partners.
Heatwave's game, entitled Platinum Life, aims to give player the chance to live out as an unsigned musician with a dream to become a big deal. Much of the development so far has been centred on interviewing musicians and record label groups about hip-hop culture, schedules and the conflicts between the two.
Players will work their way up through the hip-hop hierarchy, acting as handymen for other stars, before moving on to performing at low-profile gigs and, eventually, turning into a hip-hop icon. A virtual TI will be on hand to talk players through the process.
It’s not yet clear how these tasks will be incorporated into the MMO genre. Heatwave is considering the game to be free-to-play, with an assortment of apparel and songs to buy.
Heatwave says the game will “represent a new business model for artists that empowers them to truly engage their fans”, according to a company statement.
"Our online game experience allows top-level artists to share their music, video and lifestyle with their huge fan bases in a personal and innovative way," said Anthony Castoro.
"We feel that TI's music, message and deeply engaged fan base make him ideal as an icon within the game."