The Harmonix-created Rock Band franchise has been a popular and well-known presence in the gaming community since the first game launched in 2007. The guitar, drum, and microphone combination was a hit, and created a significant peripheral market.
During the series' successful run, Harmonix and peripheral manufacturer Mad Catz have kept designs relatively familiar, sticking with the Fender Stratocaster as the model for their guitar controller. Now a new report indicates the same tried-and-true design will be in their next game as well.
According to a report in EDGE magazine, Rock Band 4 will not have any new or unique guitar designs because "the unnecessary proliferation of expensive peripherals helped kill off the music genre" and "launching with a shiny new range of essential fake instruments would be in conflict with Harmonix's current beliefs." Thanks to their continued partnership with guitar-maker Fender, the design of the guitar itself will be essentially the same as the classic Stratocaster shell used in previous offerings. There's no word, however, on whether Harmonix will stick with the black and white color scheme for RB 4 guitars.
Harmonix has also elected to focus on making Rock Band 4 backwards-compatible with all existing Rock Band instruments, including the Pro version of the drums. This news, if Harmonix can make backwards-compatibility work, will undoubtedly please gamers who already own a plethora of Rock Band guitars or one of the special The Beatles: Rock Band models they just don't want to part with.
The only bad news with regards to controllers is that Rock Band 4 will not support the keyboard peripheral or the "keytar," nor will it support Fender's modified Stratocaster that was released for Rock Band 3's Pro mode.
While the original guitar/drum sets saw a fair share of problems, particularly with the strum bar, Mad Catz soon worked out the kinks and produced one of the best guitar peripherals on the market. As an added bonus, the Rock Band guitars were compatible with the Guitar Hero series, which made them the be-all as far as rhythm game peripherals were concerned. The potential is there for the same cross-compatibility with Rock Band 4 instruments as well.
Do you have a group of Rock Band guitars hiding in the closet? Are you excited about the possibility of backwards-compatible instruments or were you looking forward to a new design? Sound off in the comments!