[IMGW]http://media.1up.com/media?id=3244464[/IMGW]Yesterday, Harmonix, Electronic Arts and MTV jointly announced Rock Band, an ambitious evolution of the game style Harmonix started with Guitar Hero. In Rock Band, players wouldn't be restricted to only the guitar and bass, as both drums and singing will also be playable instruments simultaneously. Many have figured Harmonix has been on the path to creating this game for some time, but how are they going to pull it off?
Let's rest one fear, right off the bat. IGN recently ran a story that claimed Guitar Hero controllers purchased for the PlayStation 2 versions would not work on Rock Band. Jason Booth, one of the many Harmonix developers participating on the official Rock Band message boards, confirmed this is incorrect. "For some reason, IGN posted that Rock Band will not be compatable [sic] with Guitar Hero guitars. I thought I'd drop in and let you know that this is not correct," he said.
Booth did confirm, however, a new guitar peripheral is being produced for Rock band, and it will vary from the already available one in some way. Could the effects pedal output found in the Xbox 360 controller be a hint at where they're going?
In the Guitar Hero series, the note presentation for two players already evenly splits the screen. Guitar Freaks, the Konami Bemani series that Harmonix owes their inspiration to, actually fused with another Bemani series, Drummania, and allowed players to have two guitars and a drum rocking to the same song, at the same time. Consequently, much of the screen was devoted to simply displaying the notes and nothing more.
Here, Rock Band will incorporate singing (likely to play off their Karaoke Revolution experience), as well. Harmonix says it's found a way to make the notes available to everyone. One user suggested adding both lead and rhythm guitars to the mix, to which they provided a small hint about the HUD. "I think 5 would crowd the HUD just a bit too much. On the front page, and in press releases, we have said 'bass, guitar, drums and vocalist.' Four is plently [sic] in my own opinion!" said an unnamed quality assurance tester.
And what's up with the drums? Who knows -- Konami's Drummania probably provides a small hint at where Harmonix is drawing their initial inspiration, but as Guitar Hero's shown us, they're more than willing to fiddle, add and change what they want. The company is remaining mum on what the set will look like how much dinero we'll be tossing over, but the same quality assurance tester from above assures "...the drums are really fun to play. I don't get to play them enough!"
1UP will be paying very close attention to Rock Band in the coming months -- Luke : Halo, Patrick :: Rock Band.