Thursday, September 18, 2014

Next Rock Band

I saw an article this morning that saddened me a little bit. I've never been a big user of the Rock Band Network (which allowed for lesser-known songs to be added as downloadable content), but its closure today signifies another termination of the Rock Band experience that was so popular in the 00's. Now fans of the franchise are left hoping only that something beautiful is in the works, at least in someone's mind at Harmonix.

While there's been no talk about a new Rock Band game in development, there are rumors and sideways mentions that get me excited from time to time. I know I'm not the only one who wants it to happen. But Rock Band and Guitar Hero hit a massive wall with their final releases. Guitar Hero utterly saturated the market with disc after disc of basically just song packs. Rock Band, meanwhile, kind of went as far as they could with their model with Rock Band 3. RB also made literally trillions of dollars (not literally) on individual song purchases. When I load up my RB3, it tells me I have something like 220 extra songs. That's at least $300 of bonus money I put into the Rock Band franchise. So, while the genre fell off, clearly it had some horses, and I strongly believe that it's got the potential to reinvent itself and become an exciting a profitable franchise once again.

But that of course begs the question: what does the next rhythmic playalong game have to look like in order to be appealing to both old and new Rock Banders?

I wanted to at least figure out what I would hope for out of a new Rock Band game. So, what I'm going to do (or at least, what I'm setting out to do) is to boot up as many games in the series as I can find, play around with them for a while, and try to isolate features/aspects/nuances that helped or hurt each game. Then, I'll take that information and try to come up with new ideas and adjustments for what I would like to think could be the new apex in the genre, which I'll call Next Rock Band.

Additionally, if you've got any initial thoughts, or any feedback on any of my findings, please feel free to contribute. Nay, feel compelled to contribute.

That's all for now. I'll report back when I've got some data.

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