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Rock Band Discussion

Romier S

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It's called "Rock Band" and it's coming for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 courtesy of EA. You can forget about rocking out solo as well. This new game allows up to four players to grab and instrument and get down either together in a room or online. Here are the details:


Harmonix Working on


Guitar Hero was just the opening act. MTV and the developers of that video game have a headliner in the works called Rock Band, which lets four music lovers gig together in person or online.


Expected in stores for the year-end holidays, the Electronic Arts game (no price set) for the Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3 will be played with four instrument-based video game controllers: two guitars (lead and bass), a drum kit and a microphone.


In the popular game Guitar Hero, players tap color-coded fret keys and strum a guitar-shaped controller in time with scrolling on-screen notes. Rock Band "takes the core premise of Guitar Hero and expands it tenfold," says Alex Rigopulos, co-founder of Harmonix, which developed the game and the Karaoke Revolution games. "It lets you create a complete collaborative band."


MTV is supplying creative and financial support to Rock Band's development, as well as helping make deals with various music publishers.


That means Rock Band will have performances by the original artists. In most previous music games, almost every song is done by a cover band. For Rock Band, some labels plan to supply original recordings. "This game offers a meaningful way for labels to participate in a segment of entertainment they, for the most part, have not been able to," MTV's Jeff Yapp says.


Online connectivity is a key to the game. The developers envision additional songs for online purchase beyond those in the retail version. And players need not be together to jam. "You could have one guitarist in Germany and another one in Texas, a drummer in New York and a singer from somewhere else, and they can play together online," EA's David DeMartini says.
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I'm getting GH2 simply because EVERYONE loves the damn thing, and I have to think I'll love it too. So I'm taking your words for it. But having not played GH, and still not really understanding what's so great about it, I have a hard time believing that a group of people playing imaginary music instruments over the internet as a band could be anything other than totally weird, humiliating, unfun, and prohibitively expensive.


But I'm not surprised that people, using GH has a jumping off point, could think this is a fantastic idea. I'll know where you're all coming from over the next week when I pick up GH2.

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I'm guessing they could go for a ton of different skus on this one. Let's see:


3 - game and one accessory

1 - game and all 3 accessories

3 - each accessory sold separately


So that would be 7 different items at least. I don't think they will sell the game by itself, unless by some miracle the GH guitar is a working accessory for this title. That would be the smart thing to do - if it was compatible I would be much more inclined to getting this one.

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Why couldn't you just buy the game bundled with the accessory (instrument) which interested you the most? Jump online and play with people whose purchases compliment yours. No need for you to equip the entire band.


If the matchmaking isn't smart enough to locate the missing instruments in your band and match you accordingly then this isn't worth playing.

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That' what I was suggesting with the first item in my list. There would be 3 separate packages that would include the game and one accessory. I really can't see how they wouldn't release in this format as a package that includes all the accessories would have to be nearly $150.

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Why couldn't you just buy the game bundled with the accessory (instrument) which interested you the most? Jump online and play with people whose purchases compliment yours. No need for you to equip the entire band.


If the matchmaking isn't smart enough to locate the missing instruments in your band and match you accordingly then this isn't worth playing.


I imagine this will be a SKU nightmare for retailers. How many different versions of this could they ship and expect retailers to stock, 5?

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I can see this being a problem online (at least playing with the general population) where you'll have a bunch of guitarists, a lot of bass and drum players, and no singers. Or else just a bunch of 15-year-old punk kids who want to just say curse words into the mic over and over.


Definitely an interesting premise. If they make druming half as fun as they've made guitar playing, I'm there.

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maybe it's one do-it-all accessory.

One Man Band




Guess not...

GS: But there will be three distinctly different peripherals, correct?


AR: Yes, there will be a guitar controller for playing the guitar and the bass parts, a drum peripheral for playing the drum parts, and a microphone for singing.


The interview suggests downloads may be a large part of the revenue plan for this game. Perhaps they give you the accessories for a rock bottom price, bundle the game with a very limited number of songs so you are forced to download a LOT of songs (or buy expansion packs for those for whom downloading may not be possible).

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Gamespot also has a news blurb up about that, including Harmonix' response that there is no official pricing or sku indications at this point. Personally, if those prices are correct, it may price me out of the extra accessories though, if the X-Plorer does indeed work, I guess I could still get the game.

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The problem of pricing is a tough one because I can see it from both sides. From the game publishers perspective, it is expensive to design and manufacture these "one off" types of controllers so they have to price it in a way that will recoup some of their costs. On the other hand they want people to actual purchase the peripherals so that they can make a gaming community around their product.


From a gamers perspective, it can be too expensive (and waste too much space) if we have to keep purchasing new hardware for every new game that comes out. I am not saying that they are charging too much, I just think they need to not jerk the consumer around. For example, I feel a little jerked around with Guitar Hero II for the 360 because I bought the first two games for the Ps2 and I have two guitars that work only on the ps2. I am still holding out for the possibility that someone will make my Ps2 controllers work on the 360 but if they don't I highly doubt I will re-invest in the 360 version.


I am a huge guitar hero fan. I also own many other peripheral dependent games such as DDR and Karaoke Revolution. I just can't afford to buy these controllers for every version of the game on every system. Base them off of something standard (like USB) or provide converters. Anybody else stuck in this boat?

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 month later...

New interview up at IGN.


IGN: Will each instrument part be developed enough to stand alone as a game for people that only want to play that part? More to the point, how will the guitar part hold up against the Guitar Hero franchise?


Alex Rigopulos: In addition to the multi-instrument band game, Rock Band will have a full suite of play modes for each of the individual instruments as well. As for your question about the guitar in particular, I can't speak to what Activision has planned for future versions of Guitar Hero, but what I can say is that Rock Band's guitar game alone will be more substantial than any of the prior Guitar Hero releases. PLUS, there's the complete drum game that's just as large. PLUS, there's the complete singing game. PLUS, there's the co-operative band game that ties them all together. Basically, it's four complete games on one disc. The thing is really huge!


GN: Are you surprised by how incredibly popular the Guitar Hero franchise has become? When you created the first game did you ever think you'd be in the position you are now?


Alex Rigopulos: On one level, certainly I was surprised. Harmonix had been working for so long to push music games past the "tipping point" in the US that it was hard for us not to wonder whether it was ever going to happen. And the original Guitar Hero had everything stacked against it: It was brought to market by a tiny, inexperienced publisher. The peripheral made it expensive. The big box made it hard to get distribution. Honestly, Harmonix did not have high expectations for its commercial success. We'd been too beaten down by prior experience to let ourselves be optimistic!


But on another level, the phenomenon that has taken shape is exactly what we had been striving for and had believed in for more than a decade. Our conviction about the power of music-making is what motivated us to start Harmonix in the first place, and our faith that this outcome was possible was what has been driving us forward all these years.





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WHOLE bunch of info from Game Informer (via GAF):


- One disk with 4 separate campaigns. Guitar, Drum, Bass and Vocal. Each can be played on its own from start to finish, in addition, a full band game is designed to allow for one huge co-op playthrough.


- Will feature full support for four player online play on both 360 and PS3. Any combination of on/offline play will work and each player can pick their own difficulty setting.


- Flexible community system will allow you to find bandmates anywhere in the world


- There will be a way for you to share your band's triumphs with the world, but the details are still under wraps.


- Musical fret-boards are now transparent so you can see more of the background visuals. Guitar is on the left side of the screen, Bass on the right and drums down the middle. Vocals scroll from right to left along the top of the screen.


- Guitars and Bass now have 10 frets. 5 for the regular sections of the game and 5 for the newly designated solo sections.


- Whammy bar is back as is the tilt to activate rock band's version of star power


- there is a five way switch on the guitar that allows for 5 different self-applied effects to the sound.


- Singing is now more in depth. There is a phoneme detector that will pick up individual vowels and consonants you say. Build up enough highly judged phrases and you'll be able to sing free-form. If you do well enough in free-form, then you'll trigger the vocalist's version of star power.


- Microphone doubles as a tambourine on many songs to combat super long guitar solos where the singer doesn't have much to do.


- Drums are apparently insane. You use actual sticks and hit one of four colored pads in front of you, in addition to a kick pedal attached to the drumming unit. Drummers will also have the ability to do fills etc. in their own little free-form section, do well and you'll trigger the drummers version of star power.


- If one person fails, the whole band does not fail, their section simply turns gray and they have to sit out the rest of the song unless one your band mates initiates star power, which will bring you back into the fold.


- If all bandmates can reach the end of a song, you'll be greeted with one huge free-form jam session.


- There will be a character creation system, and you can create multiple avatars that play different instruments.


- Four themed clothing stores in addition to licensed guitars and pedals and other rock paraphernalia.


- A full set of mo-cap stage movements have been added for each instrument. You can decide whether your vocalist moves like Axel Rose, or stands his ground like Clapton.


- 40 performance venues planned


- All peripherals will be unique to each platform. This isn't the developer's decision. Apparently MS peripherals require special circuit boards.


- You'll be able to craft your own band logo


- The HUD in the screens isn't final but is a good indication of what you can expect


- 4 songs announced in the article, not sure if this is new or old but whatever.

Weezer - Say It Ain't So - Original Master Track

Black Sabbath - Paranoid - Original Master Track

The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again - Original Master Track

Nirvana - In Bloom - Original Master Track




Sorry I can't post photos so my descriptions will have to suffice




Guitars are an exact 3/4 replica of a Fender Strat.


Xplorer guitars will work for 360 owners, but you may not be able to pass on all the new stuff this model has.


Five familiar buttons near the top of the neck, five buttons near the body of the guitar. You will use these new buttons during specially designed solo sections using ONLY hammer ons and pull offs, no having to worry about your strum bar. Signature Fender 5-way switch has been added. By shopping at the in game store you'll be able to purchase several virtual effects pedals such as Flange, Wah, Chorus and Echo. These can be applied during your song by setting the 5 way switch to the desired effect.




There will eventually be a Rock Band branded Mic


Other USB mics will be supported, but Harmonix will probably NOT allow the use of the 360 headset due to its low fidelity. Mics will be usable as tambourines during certain songs.


That's all for mics!




The picture of the drum peripheral in the mag is not final.


It consists of four pads, a kick pedal and legs for the enire unit to stand on. Think of it as a TV dinner tray stand only cooler


Leftmost pad (red) is your snare drum, everything else doubles as toms and cymbals depending on the song.


A set of real wooden drum sticks will ship with the unit.


A piece of the stand can be taken off so that the unit can sit lower, or on a coffee table.


There is a kick pedal


If you play drums in this game on hard or expert, then you're really playing the drums. Apparently you could sit down at a real set and play the same songs.

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Sounds awesome :) Though I'm wondering how free-form sections and online (lag) will go together.


And I'm not quite buying this...


If you play drums in this game on hard or expert, then you're really playing the drums. Apparently you could sit down at a real set and play the same songs.


...since it sounds like there's no hi-hat, which I'm disappointed about.

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