It’s hard to deny that now-independent studio Harmonix has had a rough year. With their impending lawsuit against Viacom on the horizon, and lackluster sales from the third installment of Rock Band, Harmonix still managed to dig deep and came out smelling like roses with Dance Central. Now with Dance Central 2 on the way to hit holiday shelves (which, judging by our preview will be just as profitable), Harmonix is looking to the future, to help redefine and reinvent the Rock Band experience.
We should make it perfectly clear that what Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos and CTO Eran Egozy are talking about isn’t just a new game with some flasher graphics or new instruments, but rather a whole new look at the franchise. Listening to how Rigoulos describes it, it's clear that fans of the series should prepare themselves for a "fundamental creative reinterpretation," and a distinctly different gaming experience.
If the pair have learned anything, it’s that the Rock Band name is far from dead in the water. Nearing their 4th consecutive year of DLC, and the Mad Catz relaunch this December, Rigopulos points out in a recent interview with GiantBomb that these trends give hope to the genre, and the future of the title:
"We still have a loyal audience who continues to show up weekly to gobble up our weekly releases. That actually continues to be a profitable business for us, which is nice. We're committed to the franchise, but when I think that when we do things with it in the future, it's going to be a pretty dramatic departure from what we've done before."
Egozy went on to say that what gamers may have in mind is probably different from the studio's plans:
"You might assume we're going to add saxophone or something along those lines, but no, the kind of direction we're planning on taking Rock Band, the kind of innovation we have in mind, is taking it in a different direction, one that's more suitable to the kind of environment we're in, what people are doing now, what they're interested in playing now, versus, say, 2007."
The real questions may be how long it will be before players get to see their future connection, or whether the Rock Band Network will get a facelift as well, but it seems those will be answered sooner than expected. Egozy confirms that the Harmonix family has been set working on the new improvements already, and it will be ready sooner, rather than later.
"It's more than ideas. We are working on it, and we have forward progress. It's an exciting, fresh take on it. I'll leave it at that."
Even after four years, are there people out there still having their Rock Band parties, still “getting the band back together” for one night of musical debauchery, or has the ship really sailed? Do you think that this new direction — whatever it may be — will be the thing the genre and series needs to get back on its feet? Leave us your thoughts and let us know what you’re thinking.
Source: Giant Bomb