Despite the sales downturn that hit the music game industry, causing Activision to cancel development of future Guitar Hero and DJ Hero titles, Rock Band developer Harmonix is committed to the series.
“Within Rock Band, I think we are very much committed to the franchise,” Harmonix VP of Product Development Greg LoPiccolo told Industry Gamers. “We’re not quite sure what form that takes right now, but even in Rock Band 3 we were exploring some new ideas, some new directions, and we’re very pleased with how the Pro stuff came out.”
“And all along we’ve been working on other kind of evolutionary directions to take Rock Band and Rock Band game play that we find exciting,” he continued. “So I think from our perspective we want to keep creating things that we think are cool and compelling and push the envelope in new directions, and then the market will pronounce its judgement on our efforts. But that’s, to some degree, out of our hands. It’s our job to make good stuff.”
So just how will Harmonix build on the Rock Band formula?
“One thing for instance that really has not been successfully explored that we would love to crack in some way is music gaming experiences that allow the player some creative input,” he remarked. “For instance, Rock Band was really fun, but you’re really pretending to play other people’s music. I think it would be I think really exciting to come up with a game experience where, like in lots of other games, you have some creative choice. There’s lots of games where you kind of get to make stuff or you make tactical choices that have consequences and it would be great to apply some of those.”
The idea of giving players more creative freedom is good, but how this will translate into gameplay will be key.
Pro mode in Rock Band 3 was excellent, but there’s no denying that it was for a minority of people, and any advanced creativity features would most likely suffer the same fate.