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Rock Band 4 exists, and it's coming by the end of the year

Hayden Dingman | March 6, 2015
February in Vegas. I've managed to track down Harmonix's Nick Chester to follow up on a rumor I heard--that he was making appointments for something at GDC. Something I needed to see. I asked him for an appointment, and the first words out of his mouth were: "It's not going to be on PC."

3) When do we get Rock Band 5?

Never, hopefully. Or at least, not on this console generation. "We're calling it Rock Band 4 because we feel like it's a genuine evolution over Rock Band 3," said Sussman. "We think this is going to be the best Rock Band we've ever done."

"At the same time, we do not anticipate Rock Band 5. We think there's an opportunity to do something this time around that's never been done in this space before. We view Rock Band 4 as the Rock Band for this console generation."

It seems like Rock Band 4 will be what we've wanted for a while — Rock Band as a digital service or platform, instead of a $60 box title that comes out every two years with a whole raft of new instruments or features.

"We think it's important to think about how to create an experience for folks that can evolve after they've gotten that one disc. We don't want them to feel like we're hitting them up for a new $60 title every year," he said.

4) What's new?

Harmonix is pretty tight-lipped about this so far, saying they'll show off more features towards E3.

For now, though, here's Sussman:

"There are two rich areas for improvement, both of which are pretty high-level."

"If you think about Rock Band as a multiplayer game, in fact it's kind of four single-player games that people are coincidentally playing at the same time. There's not a lot of rich interplay or awareness from one person to the next. That's the antithesis of what it's like to play music. It sucks playing with people that aren't listening to you. I think there's a lot of things we can do in the game to incentivize you to pay attention to what everyone else is doing."

"The other one, which is pretty obvious, is there's this element of Rock Band where regardless of your performance the song sounds the same. There's a lot of things we can do to stay true of the song, stay within the simulation of the experience, but allow for some expression for the player."

I ask whether Rock Band will be learning from Fantasia — after all, that whole game centered around changing and remixing songs on the fly with your movements. "Not to say there's anything direct that we pulled from [Fantasia] to Rock Band, but certainly trying to figure out how to allow for self-expression in a gaming context is something we've spent a lot of time thinking about."

5) Kinect?

No.

6) Is that it? Please don't stop feeding me Rock Band 4 information. Please.

 

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