Harmonix: “We View Rock Band 4 as the Rock Band For This Console Generation”

March 5, 2015 Written by Jason Dunning

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To go along with the Rock Band 4 PlayStation 4 and Xbox One announcement today, Harmonix sat down with various members of the media to discuss their upcoming game.

In an interview with IGN, CEO Alex Rigopulos said the studio has no plans to turn Rock Band into a yearly franchise on the consoles. Instead, they see Rock Band 4 as a game they’ll add new songs and features to for years to come:

Going forward, our goal is to view [Rock Band 4] as more of a live service where we can gradually and incrementally append new functionality to the core experience rather than having $60 annual title updates. You shouldn’t expect a Rock Band 5 in 2016.

Speaking to Game Informer, Project Manager Daniel Sussman elaborated on their plans to make Rock Band 4 the only Rock Band this generation:

There are a lot of things that I think we can do, both on the publishing side and the development side, to sustain Rock Band 4 as a product. Rock Band 4 is a sequel relative to Rock Band 3 and that 4 is really an indication of our commitment to innovation in this space and the idea that this is a bona fide evolutionary step from Rock Band 3 in a lot of ways. It does not imply that there will be a Rock Band 5, 6, 7, and 8.

We think that there’s an opportunity this time around, given the technology to interact directly with our audience and also to react to the feedback that we get directly from our audience to sort of expand upon a core game of Rock Band 4. So Rock Band 4 will expand through title updates, through content updates, over the long span. We view Rock Band 4 as the Rock Band for this console generation, and it will continually evolve through a dialogue with our community. I think Rock Band is a great title to utilize that approach in the console space.

While you’ll be able to use previously purchased or imported songs in Rock Band 4, IGN reports that licensing restrictions will stop Rock Band 3 and The Beatles: Rock Band’s on-disc music from being playable in RB4. However, Harmonix notes there’s a chance a deal could eventually be struck to change this.

In all, Harmonix expects roughly 95% of Rock Band’s full library of songs to be available in Rock Band 4.

On the topic of instruments, Mad Catz detailed some of the game and hardware bundles they’ll have at launch:

  • Band-in-a-Box Bundle, which includes the Rock Band 4 game, a Wireless Fender Stratocaster Guitar Controller, a Wireless Drum Kit Controller and a Microphone. 
  • Guitar Bundle, which includes the Rock Band 4 game and a Wireless Fender Stratocaster Guitar Controller. 

Harmonix also hinted towards more freedom when playing a song, improving the vocals, adding new dynamics to playing in a band with friends, and improving the visuals, but we’ll have to wait until May for further information.

[Source: IGN, Game Informer, Polygon]