Last year, after trying to handle a series of escalating technical problems with its ageing online infrastructure for Rock Band 3, it was looking a bit doom and gloom for Rock Band after Harmonix announced that the Rock Band Network would be shut down and said that no fourth game was in development at the studio. But now?
Yesterday, Harmonix announced Rock Band 4 is coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4 later this year. I think this made a lot of people happy, it certainly made me happy. Those who know me as a person who loves Guitar Hero (I went out of my way to play the arcade version of GH3 while on holiday last year) may be wondering why on Earth I would be happy with a Rock Band 4 announcement.
Pretending to play
It’s not that I’m a die hard Guitar Hero fan, it’s just that was the first rhythm music game that I played, I was also into the cheesy caricatures offered up by Neversoft once the game grew in popularity. What I love are rhythm music games with fake instruments and pretending to jam to some of my favourite tunes in a gamified way. But there’s only so many times that a person can be happy to play through Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, and get perfect scores on Closer by Nine Inch Nails and kinda wish there was more in their rhythm music gaming life without booting up the Xbox 360 she’s been neglecting for over twelve months…
Did I mention that once both Guitar Hero and Rock Band began introducing singing to their series that I really, really began to love these games? I’m a sadistic karaokier and I love to sing badly, but still hit the singing requirements in rhythm music games.
A new generation
Since upgrading to a PlayStation 4, the main thing that has been missing on it is a decent same console multiplayer game. But Rock Band 4 is going to change that situation. I still have friends with similar music tastes who a) like rock, alt and metal b) like playing on fake musical instruments and c) enjoy socialising with me – so getting my hands on this new game will enable me to chill with and torture people at the same time, without resorting to a rendition of Closer by booting up my ageing 360.
But seriously, I’ve been kinda saddened by the lack of entries in either Rock Band or Guitar Hero since both franchises went on a hiatus. I get that Activision went too far with GH, treating it like they do Call of Duty. So I’m hoping that Harmonix will keep things classy with Rock Band and understand that their way of doing things was not what led to the collapse of the peripherals focused side of this game genre.
It’s also cool that people who had built up huge song libraries in the previous Rock Band games will be able to bring their vast song libraries into the new game, though this is through some huge legacy DLC system and they haven’t said what hoops you’ll need to go through in order to get it back. It also looks like people such as myself will be able to pick up these tracks for the first time too. There’s also the hint that old peripherals for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 will work on their respective newer iterations.
Not really. I think that was achieved with Warriors of Rock was about as far as you could push the glitzed-up caricature that the games relied on to differentiate themselves from Rock Band. I’m past that now, beyond having the odd nostalgia filled impulse to drag myself near it. But I think, after last summer, I was ready to say bye to that series.
Now I just want tunes, new peripherals, and a game that I can play on my PlayStation 4 with more than one person at the same time, in the same living room.