Guitar Hero was just the opening act.

MTV and the developers of that video game have a headliner in the works called Rock Band, which lets four music lovers gig together in person or online.

Expected in stores for the year-end holidays, the Electronic Arts game (no price set) for the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 will be played with four instrument-based video game controllers: two guitars (lead and bass), a drum kit and a microphone.

In the popular game Guitar Hero, players tap color-coded fret keys and strum a guitar-shaped controller in time with scrolling on-screen notes. Rock Band "takes the core premise of Guitar Hero and expands it tenfold," says Alex Rigopulos, co-founder of Harmonix, which developed the game and the Karaoke Revolution games. "It lets you create a complete collaborative band."

MTV is supplying creative and financial support to Rock Band's development, as well as helping make deals with various music publishers.

That means Rock Band will have performances by the original artists. In most previous music games, almost every song is done by a cover band. For Rock Band, some labels plan to supply original recordings. "This game offers a meaningful way for labels to participate in a segment of entertainment they, for the most part, have not been able to," MTV's Jeff Yapp says.