It's time to dust off those plastic guitars and pull the drum set out of the garage; by all indications, Rock Band is making a comeback. Earlier this week, Harmonix unexpectedly released three new tracks for Rock Band 3, almost two years after the franchise's DLC program was supposedly shut down. No reason was given for the sudden - and apparently fleeting - return to their popular franchise, leading many to speculate that the DLC release was a way of gauging interest in a possible Rock Band resurrection.
Today, Harmonix added fuel to the fire by asking fans to fill out an "important Rock Band survey."
This isn't the first time that Harmonix has solicited advice on a potential sequel; just a few months ago, the company launched a similar survey. Unlike the older questionnaire, however, the new survey doesn't mention the possibility of a Rock Band 4 on older consoles. If there's a new title coming, it seems like it will be current-generation only.
Other than that, there's not a lot of actual information in the short survey, although a few questions stand out. Harmonix seems primarily concerned with how players interacted with the last few Rock Band titles: how often they played the game, their primary reasons for playing, and what systems and peripherals they used most often. One section asks users to rank potential Rock Band 4 features in order of importance, and includes references to backwards-compatible controllers and DLC. That's not a confirmation of anything, but it indicates that Harmonix is at least aware of two of Rock Band 4's most requested features.
All in all, the new survey is just another hint at a possible future, and little else. However, the time seems right for a new Rock Band title. It's been long enough since the series' original run that players are nostalgic instead of burnt out, and Harmonix is in a good place to start development, too. Since the last survey, Fantasia: Music Evolved hit with fairly positive reviews, and the studio's next title, a re-make of Amplitude, is in its last stages of production.
The last Rock Band game, Rock Band Blitz, stripped away the franchise's signature instruments and used the controller for input, creating a satisfying - if slight - arcade title. More egregiously, however, the game lacked a real two-player mode. Rock Band's bread and butter is its local multiplayer (after all, it's not called Rock Soloist), and the franchise deserves to go out the same way it started: as a raucous, party-friendly social experience.