Metallica has finally confirmed "the worst-kept secret in rock'n'roll" and unveiled details of the upcoming "Guitar Hero" game devoted to the band.

According to Metallica's Web site, the game "allows you to play as us in either single instrument or band career game modes" and will likely be released in the first half of next year.

Adding to the atmosphere will be famous setting associated with the band's career, including Moscow's Tushino Airfield, the site of the 1991 Monsters of Rock concert, and "new venues with in-the-round staging."

There will be 28 Metallica songs in all, although the full list has not yet been announced. Songs from Alice In Chains, Foo Fighters, Slayer, Machine Head and Queen can also be played.

Lastly, in a feature sure to thrill Lars Ulrich devotees, "Guitar Hero: Metallica" will boast an "expert" difficulty level that employs two bass drum kick pedals. The Metallica edition follows an Aerosmith-dedicated "Guitar Hero," which was released in June.

Meanwhile, the long in-limbo status of the heavy metal rock adventure game "Brutal Legend" has been resolved, with Electronic Arts emerging as the title's new publisher. Featuring voice talent by Jack Black and "cameos" by several heavy metal legends, the game's release was left up-in-the-air after the merger between Activision and Vivendi Universal Games dropped the title from its roster. EA says the game will likely hit retail shelves this fall.

Additionally, Pearl Jam will jump into "Rock Band" in a big way on March 24, the same date its 1991 debut album, "Ten," will be reissued in expanded form by Epic/Legacy. The entire album will be available for download through "Rock Band"; the "Ten" track "Alive was previously released on the "Rock Band 2" game disc.