As many gamers look to this generation of consoles for eye-popping graphical advancements, and unbounded storytelling from new IPs, some have unfortunately been met with rehashes or in some cases, direct ports of older games from a generation thought to be set out to pasture by now. Tomb Raider, Last of Us, Grand Theft Auto, and other titles have been this new generation's pacifiers for gamers as they wait for new titles to appear.
For others who have taken the plunge full steam ahead, these ports and rehashes are a welcomed approach to the dreaded backward compatibility issue this new generation of consoles poses. Well, it looks like sleeping giant, Rock Band is joining the fray of "previous generation console gaming" with a new installment of their hit franchise, Rock Band. Rock Band 4 seems ready to offer users the same off-key karaoke singing and mock-band group experience people grew to love from the prior console generation.
Harmonix has announced that Rock Band 4 will be launching on Xbox One and PS4 consoles this year.
For some, it has been a silent five years since their living rooms were transformed into stages that brought their friends, families and in some instances strangers together to perform classic rock ballads with replica music instruments. I'm sure not all the memories were rosy though. Finger pointing, drumstick throwing, and mic-nunchucking will also be returning for some.
The beloved music franchise is not only returning but with Rock Band 4; Harmonix is said to be "doubling down on the energy and excitement of playing music live with your friends."
“We couldn’t be happier to be working with Harmonix and help bring the band back together for the launch of Rock Band 4,” added Darren Richardson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mad Catz. “Harmonix possesses unrivaled passion and vision for music gaming, and we can’t wait to introduce the next-generation music platform to passionate gamers.”
We're sure the details of the upcoming game are being reserved for their PAX and E3 press conferences but during some interviews, tiny bits of useful information have leaked out.
What about my DLC songs?
On the DLC front, we are working very hard to port all of the songs that we have had in our library forward to the Xbox One and PS4, and that's a time-intensive process. We're actually taking a library that took us five-plus years to accumulate, and we're doing all of that work in a very compressed window in a matter of months. It's over 2,000. It's a big number. So it's our hope that players have access to the full catalog of music that has already been licensed to this game. Only a very small percentage actually own everything... but there are a lot of people that have bought lots of songs already, and to those folks, we want to make sure your library of songs on the PS3 will carry forward to the PS4 and same on the Xbox 360 to the Xbox One.
What's new in Rock Band 4?
A few things. One is sort of our perspective on a longer play here, where we're not positioning Rock Band 4 as sort of the first in a long step of subsequent sequels. We think of Rock Band 4 as a successor to Rock Band 3, but our plan for the long term is to augment Rock Band 4, to build upon the game in a way that makes sense and is designed through a conversation with our community, with respect to content updates.
I can't really talk about in detail, but I do want to cover quickly the specific areas where I feel there's a lot opportunity for innovation, and this is the stuff that the team is really dialed in on. One of which is improving some of the in-road social dynamics of playing music with other people. Rock Band is perceived as this great party game, but when you watch people play, in a lot of cases it's four people playing a single-player game next to someone else who's playing a single-player game. The opportunities for the drummer to be aware of what the bass player is doing, and for the singer to have some sort of relationship with the other people in that band... The game doesn't naturally sponsor or reward that type of behavior, and I think it should because it's huge part of playing music with people.
So it looks like we may be seeing some new gameplay, but mainly the same successful commingling of fun and group dynamics that propelled the franchise in the first place. Stay tuned for upcoming news.