Once upon a time, Rock Band was the go-to party game. Whether partygoers were playing one of the game's assorted plastic instruments or if they were just a cheering audience member, it was the game that brought people together. However, by the time Rock Band 3 was published in 2010, the music rhythm genre was well past its peak popularity. By that time the genre was heavily saturated with Rock Band and rival franchise Guitar Hero having released over a dozen games in less than a decade.
Not that demand for a new Rock Band game ever fully went away though. Fans regularly ask developer Harmonix about Rock Band 4 and a survey that it released several months ago received over 60,000 responses from fans eager to have their say on what a new Rock Band game should look like. The response to a recent leak that also said that Rock Band 4 was on the way is an indication of just how much people still care about this dormant series.
So after months of speculation, Harmonix has finally announced Rock Band 4. As that leak suggested it will be released on PS4 and Xbox One in 2015, which could put it right up against Guitar Hero – which is also rumored for a revival this year. There's no word on features just yet but in a new dev diary Harmonix says that "the stuff [they've] been able to add to the core experience really is like a truer version of what [they] originally had in mind," while one developer explained that with Rock Band 3 they "innovated in a lot of areas that were not necessarily the right ones," suggesting that Rock Band 4 will be a truer embodiment of what it's like to be a rock legend.
The developer also revealed that it'll be releasing the game as an indie, as it is no longer part of MTV Games. MTV had lots of good ideas, Harmonix staff said, but given that they also refer to MTV as their "corporate overlords" at one point during that dev diary, it seems as though Harmonix is more than happy to go it alone on this one.
The decision to take Rock Band 4 back to its roots will certainly sit right with fans, as will the fact that the game will be compatible with every single Rock Band song previously released as DLC, for "no additional charge." In total that's a massive 2168 songs, made by over 500 artists so it's fantastic news for longstanding Rock Band fans. Consumers' hard-earned cash can also be saved if they have PS3 or Xbox 360 versions of Rock Band's plastic controllers, as they will be compatible with Rock Band 4. Harmonix has designed a new guitar and drumkit for the current-gen version of the game, but after the responses from that survey indicated that players would like to use their old peripherals, they felt that they needed include that compatibility.
Furthermore "hundreds of tracks will be available at launch, with more back catalog music – and new tracks – to be added regularly after launch". Given that Harmonix is still releasing new tracks for Rock Band 3 even today (a song called I Still Believe by Frank Turner was released for free today, to celebrate the announcement), Rock Band 4 could have new content added to it for quite some time.
Are you excited for a new Rock Band game? Or do you think it's too late to revive the series?