Rhythm games oversaturated the market in the 2000s as Guitar Hero and Rock Band released multiple entries each year to compete in a previously untapped genre. After Rock Band 3 released in 2010, however, Harmonix recognized the player fatigue and went on hiatus from the main series – but still supported its game with a steady stream of DLC songs.
Last week, after months of industry speculation and demand from fans, Harmonix confirmed that its flagship series would return from sabbatical with Rock Band 4 on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later this year. The announcement was met with an upswell of positive responses, but that's not surprising considering that Harmonix previously solicited fan input for what players would want included in the next installment.
This crowdsourcing strategy seems to be working for Harmonix as it continues the trend with the development of Rock Band 4. Fans can assist with the song list database by visiting Harmonix’s site and inputting the name of an artist and song it would like to see included in Rock Band 4.
Harmonix does promise to review and catalog each submission, however, just because there might be a clear fan-favorite, there is no guarantee that it will be included in the Rock Band 4 song list. This type of legal disclaimer is understandable given the complicated usage rights associated with licensing music from multiple record labels and artists.
With a submission platform created for fans, an unlimited number of entries allowed and an entire library of music to review, what will players end up requesting? Harmonix is hoping to get that answer and promises to deliver a top-tier playlist for gamers during the initial launch and subsequent DLC for Rock Band 4.
Though the submission list might be overwhelming, there are 2,168 songs which players don’t need to bother entering for inclusion — every DLC song players already purchased will migrate from last-gen to their new consoles. This decision, along with confirmation that the bulk of the old instruments will be compatible with Rock Band 4, illustrates Harmonix’s conscious decision not to oversaturate the market like before and to make the transition to next-gen as smooth as possible for players.
The inclusion of backwards-compatible instruments and access to previous Rock Band songs is a huge win for players, which is why they were both part of the Top 5 things we want to see in Rock Band 4. It’s obvious that Harmonix is listening to fans, so it’s possible the remaining three from that Top 5 will be announced before release as well.
What songs will you request for Rock Band 4? How many songs did you download for previous Rock Band games? Are you excited to recreate the perfect rendition of your favorite artists?
Rock Band 4 releases in 2015 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.