A few weeks ago rumors of a new Rock Band game for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One began to circulate, and Harmonix has since officially confirmed plans to launch Rock Band 4 later this year. The music-based video game genre once dominated the market, and between Rock Band and Guitar Hero (and some less popular brands), the market was quickly flooded with games. Harmonix does not intend to repeat that and is focusing on a smaller, dedicated core of fans instead of attempting to re-create the fad. However, this scaling back doesn’t mean that the game’s soundtrack will be lackluster.
Speaking with IGN, Harmonix Chief Creative Officer Alex Rigopulos explained that he felt the industry really “needed a break” after
Rock Band 3, but with a new generation of consoles starting to gain some steam, the time is right for a return. Things are different this time around, as Harmonix is now a smaller team publishing the game alone, but Rigopulos promises that won’t affect the music. He promises a “top-tier soundtrack” and says that the song-selection strategy is “one aspect of the experience that we’re not aiming to change.”
One aspect that
will change is the frequent release of new versions of the game. While DLC is still in the cards (and potentially weekly DLC), Harmonix isn’t looking to milk the fanbase this time around. After teasing that
Rock Band 4 is short for “Rock Band 4-ever,” Rigopulos discussed how his company has learned from the past and intends to adapt for the future.
“I think that we wanted to make a clear statement that it’s the next evolution of the franchise. That said, unlike in the past, I think we’re clearly moving away from an annual title update strategy for the franchise. It was taxing on us. It was taxing on consumers. It put certain kinds of limits on the types of evolution that we could apply to the franchise when we had those annual cadences to meet.
“Going forward, our goal is to view it 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. My point is, you shouldn’t expect a Rock Band 5 in 2016.
“When a huge market appears overnight, it can disappear just as quickly. So this time around we’re not trying to recreate that crazy phenomenon. It was amazing of course, but it’s an incredibly risky and volatile approach to managing a franchise. There was a lot of bloodlet at the tail end of that phenomenon.
“This time around we’re really focusing on serving a smaller, dedicated core of Rock Band enthusiasts and hoping to create a sustainable business that way, rather than trying to create the crazy rollercoaster ride that we were on last time around.”
— Alex Rigopulos
Are you excited for
Rock Band 4? What changes would you like to see to the formula? Sound off in the comments!