For a while now, we’ve been seeing signs that the Rock Band franchise might be preparing for a revival tour. Rock Band 3 started updating again with songs featuring suggestive names, and Rock Band developer Harmonix sent out a survey asking fans about the future of the series.
Well, it’s now official: Rock Band 4 is coming to current-gen consoles in late 2015. The new game will be completely backwards compatible, supporting all your old plastic instruments and more than 2,000 songs dating back to the release of the first Rock Band in 2007.
Thus far, Harmonix is being a bit cagey about what new features Rock Band 4 will bring to the table, but Rock Band 3‘s “Pro” mode that attempted to more closely resemble real guitar playing is probably out. This game will focus on traditional Rock Band colored button punching gameplay and fostering a fun, collaborative atmosphere with your friends. Rock Band 4 project manager Daniel Sussman had this to say about the game…
“One of the most magical elements of being in a band is knowing that your drummer is listening to you and caring about what you’re doing. It’s not just about playing your part with blinders on. It’s really about a social vibe in the room where people are aware of and interested in what other people are doing. I think it’s a thing that’s kind of implied by Rock Band play, but not explicitly supported by the game.
When I watch people play Rock Band what I see is four people sort of playing a single-player game in the same room. The relationship between the drummer and the bassist is not as connected as I think it can be. So that’s an area where I think there’s a lot of room for improvement from a game design standpoint.”
Rock Band 4 may also give players more freedom to put their own spin on songs…
“If you’re trying to play them the same way every single time there’s always subtle differences. That’s a thing that as a musician I get a big kick out of – sort of doing some little thing to make this song my own. I think that’s an area where Rock Band can be improved: looking at ways to give players a little bit more sense of ownership over the content.”
Here’s a behind the scenes video of the various nerds from Harmonix talkin’ about rockin’…
It will certainly be interesting to see if the world is still interested in this kind of game. We shall see later this year, I suppose.