Rock Band 3 Adds a Keyboard & 'Pro' Modes

Harmonix is looking to make Rock Band 3 a game-changer. New details about the upcoming release have been discovered today and I am more excited about this game than ever.

USA Today has confirmed the 25-key MIDI compatible keyboard unit that will be added as a new instrument to rock out with... in Rock Band 3. Players will need to strike notes and chords, marked to specific keys on the screen.

The in-game display only shows approximately 3/5th of the keys at a time but indicators on the track help forecast when the song is about to shift to higher or lower octaves - in order to allow the full keyboard range to be used.

The keyboard itself has been a long running rumor - finally coming to fruition. The addition of the instrument makes the game even more complete and provides gamers with another challenge. I guess I need to get my fingers ready to tickle the ivories this fall.

In Rock Band, some players have mastered all of the instruments - while others really only possess an expertise over one or two instruments.

I myself, am an expert vocalist. The mic is where I shine.

However, Harmonix wants you to not only play around with the other instruments but learn from them. "Rock Band Pro" is a new game mode that will teach real-life musical fundamentals for keyboards, guitars, and drums. On guitar, numbers flow down the screen along six strings, letting you know when to strum and where to place your hands on the neck.

Obviously, since we can't ever have enough plastic instruments, there are guitar controllers in the works that feature actual strings.

John Drake, public relations for Harmonix, described the new guitar controllers:

"It can tell where your fingers are based on technology in the neck and the bridge of the guitar. No buttons... While you're playing it, it feels exactly like playing a real guitar because that's what you're doing."

Drummers will also have an opportunity to learn, outside of the virtual world of Rock Band. With three cymbals added to the four drum pads, players will be required to hit the correct cymbal at the right time. Harmonix senior designer Sylvain Dubrofsky spoke about the Drum Pro mode:

"It really immerses you more. You feel more like a drummer. It's not only for expert levels. You can come in on easy and actually play Pro drums. We have all the different levels established. It's actually really fun. You are playing up on the high hat or down on the snare, and it feels more like a kit than ever before."

Project director Daniel Sussman, spoke about the Keyboard Pro mode:

"We're actually utilizing the full two-octave range that the keyboard controller has. Everything that you are playing, whether you are playing on easy or expert, is accurate musical information. The track looks like a real keyboard track, and you are playing notes on the keyboard that if you were to step away from the game and were to play on a real piano, they would be the right notes."

Harmonix is really looking to blur the line between those who are great virtual musicians and actual musicians. It seems as though Rock Band 3 will transcend the label of mere video game and become a teaching tool - the possibilities are endless.

Rock Band 3 will also blaze the stage with more fluid gameplay. Players will be able to jump in and out of a song without interrupting it as well as change instruments and difficulty.

Also included: improved character models and a goal-based career mode - which will be based on skill and not a certain path of songs.

Speaking of songs, a partial tracklist has also been revealed:


  • Combat Baby -- Metric
  • Dead End Friends -- Them Crooked Vultures
  • Get Free -- The Vines
  • Lasso -- Phoenix
  • Me Enamora -- Juanes
  • Oh My God -- Ida Maria
  • Portions of Foxes -- Rilo Kiley
  • The Hardest Button to Button -- The White Stripes


  • Been Caught Stealing -- Jane's Addiction
  • In the Meantime -- Spacehog
  • Plush -- Stone Temple Pilots
  • Walkin' on the Sun -- Smash Mouth


  • Crazy Train -- Ozzy Osbourne
  • Here I Go Again -- Whitesnake
  • I Love Rock and Roll -- Joan Jett
  • Just Like Heaven -- The Cure
  • Rainbow in the Dark -- Dio
  • The Power of Love -- Huey Lewis and the News
  • Sister Christian -- Night Ranger


  • Bohemian Rhapsody -- Queen
  • Break On Through -- The Doors
  • Crosstown Traffic -- Jimi Hendrix

What do you think of the addition of the keyboard? Will 'Pro' mode bring you back to the rhythm game genre?

We all will be able to dive into Rock Band 3 on October 31st, 2010 on Xbox 360, PS3, and Wii.

Source: Joystiq, USA Today

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