Harmonix has finally officially announced the fourth actual entry of ‘Rock Band’, a music game series that has not had a sequel since 2010.
The announcement of ‘Rock Band 4’ should come as a bit of a surprise to many gamers who had once seen developer Harmonix propel the music game genre into popularity some years ago. With its failure on the previous console generation due to an over-saturated market, most gamers are likely asking themselves why the developer is bringing the series back.
Harmonix project manager Daniel Sussman spoke to Gamespot about the decision pointing out that people’s constant interest in music is what makes ‘Rock Band’ a viable enough franchise to develop once more.
“I tie our game in music into a very concrete way,” Sussman said to Gamespot. “Say what you will about band games and their rise and fall, but music is still an integral part of world culture, and as long as there’s an interest in music, I feel there’s an opportunity for us to continue to leverage Rock Band as a way of interacting with music.”
In terms of design philosophy in ‘Rock Band 4,’ Harmonix is putting its focus on being all-inclusive to its audience.
“We’re focusing on the things we think are going to impact the most people, and not use game mode or hardware to splinter the audience,” Sussman commented.
Speaking of hardware, Sussman expressed that Harmonix is also hard at work to get the older controllers working on PS4 and Xbox One.
“We are actively engaged with Sony and Microsoft to support PS3 controllers on the PS4 and Xbox 360 controllers on the Xbox One,” Sussman said. “It’s tough because a lot of the implementation is out of our control. You’re dealing with radio chips and technology that fundamentally changed between one console and the next. There is some policy we need to work through as well as some nifty engineering we have to work through, which we are.”
Harmonix has also secured a partnership with third party peripheral maker Mad Catz to put out new guitars, drums and microphone peripherals for the upcoming game.
On top of all this, Harmonix is working on trying to figure out a deal to make all song DLC for the previous ‘Rock Band’ games available on the new networks, as well as transferable for those who had purchased song DLC prior. However, Sussman stated that it might not be supported at launch.
And for those worried about the concept of ‘Rock Band 4’ being the beginning of yet another string of yearly releases, Sussman assured that it would not be the case.
“We want to treat this game as the game for this console generation. We are calling it Rock Band 4 because it’s deserving the 4 — there’s a lot of innovative stuff that’s built into our design. At the same time we don’t envision a Rock Band 5, 6, 7 or 8. What we would rather do is build on the Rock Band 4 feature set through very deliberate content and title updates that are developed in collaboration and conversation with our community,” he said.
‘Rock Band 4’ is scheduled to release for PS4 and Xbox One sometime in 2015.