EA and Def Jam Records are teaming up for the third time to bring a new videogame to fruition. The first of their titles to be designed for next-generation gaming consoles, Def Jam Icon will feature music in an entirely new way to drive the action.

EA has gone so far as to open a studio in Chicago dedicated to working with around 35 Def Jam artists, including the Game, Ludacris, Paul Wall, T.I. and Big Boi. By using laser scanning to capture facial expressions and movement, the artists will be featured with unique moves. Their characters will be matched with exclusive music tracks.

Different music beats will impact the gaming environment, so that, for example, a car wash will swish in time to the beat. The same environment accompanied by different songs will result in an alternate storyline.

“Music plays a much bigger role in this title than in the past two”, Lauren Wirtzer, VP marketing at Def Jam Interactive told Reuters. “Music influences the environment in which the players play the game. We had to go above and beyond to make sure there’s some new and exciting music offered to the player while they’re playing through these environments.”

Because the next-generation consoles are able to connect to the Internet, users can therefore choose and buy music to accompany their games.

Def Jam Icon will be released for PS3 and Xbox 360 in March.