It seems like a while ago now, but there was a time when Guitar Hero and Rock Band were two of the hottest franchises in video games — until they were overexposed, and fans lost interest. We’re now on the cusp of both series venturing out on a comeback tour, and there’s a major band set to make their debut in Rock Band 4.
Having sold more than 170 million records worldwide, it’s fair to say that U2 is one of the biggest bands in the world. With a bevy of international hits over the four decades the group has been playing together, it’s clear why they’re a huge get for Harmonix and the Rock Band franchise.
Two songs from U2 will be on the disk; ‘I Will Follow’ from the band’s debut album Boy and ‘Cedarwood Road’ from their most recent release, Songs of Innocence. This pair will be joined by a selection of songs that will be added to the in-game store after launch, but no specifics were given on this content.
This marks the debut of U2 music in this type of game, but it remains to be seen whether the band will appear in Guitar Hero, too. At the height of competition between Rock Band and Guitar Hero, some bands were on the setlist for both titles, whereas some acts were exclusive to one or the other.
If Harmonix have indeed gained exclusivity, it’s a canny move that continues the studio’s tendency to target established bands that appeal to an older audience. Indeed, most would agree that the Beatles-themed Rock Band spin-off turned out better than the follow-up that centered around Green Day.
It seems that Harmonix is focussing on setlist to try and bring fans back to the series. Meanwhile, Guitar Hero Live seems to be at a major disadvantage for the fact that DLC songs bought for previous titles has been confirmed as not being backwards compatible with the new game thanks to changes to its core gameplay.
Given that Rock Band 4 gives players access to all the songs they’ve bought previously, with a few exceptions omitted thanks to legal wrangling, fans who already invested in the first three instalments in the series will likely stick with it. However, Guitar Hero still beats out Rock Band in terms of name recognition.
It’s going to be fascinating to see which game comes out top as the two franchises do battle. It could well be that both releases are a flop, and audiences aren’t ready for this genre to make a comeback — or they could top the charts with even more units sold than last time around. We’ll have to wait a few more weeks to see whether the rhythm game reunion tour turns out to be a success.
Rock Band 4 is scheduled to launch for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One on October 6, 2015.
Source: Game Informer