Harmonix, creator of the Rock Band gaming franchise, is partnering up for their newest venture. The peripheral maker, Mad Catz, will be co-publishing the newest installment, Rock Band 4, scheduled to release on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later this year. Mad Catz is bringing their expertise to create the new wireless instruments for Rock Band 4. They will also be involved in promotion of the new game, distribution, and leading global sales.
Originally, Harmonix was aiming to self-publish this reboot alone, based on the initial announcement back in March. Harmonix saw great success with the original Rock Band, bringing additional instruments, aside from a guitar, into the music and rhythm-based gaming sector. That success means gamers invested in their band setups, which were then made by Mad Catz. Both companies have the potential for financial success should interest in these games return.
With that in mind, Harmonix and Mad Catz are working with Sony and Microsoft, hoping they can make those peripherals work with the new game and the next gen systems. There will also be access to the full Rock Band song library from previous editions of the game, and that means over 2,000 titles. It’s been five years since the release of Rock Band 3, making it hard to determine how many gamers still have their bands intact, especially with the amount of room it took to store the equipment.
They are looking at using downloadable content (DLC) is increase gameplay options instead of releasing new full-scale games. Adding DLC means the base game could be ever evolving, but these packages may mean additional costs, albeit much less than the $60 average for entirely new games. If they follow traditional DLC models, these small expansions will likely come with new songs, new venues, and new characters to help keep things interesting for those who are willing to give this genre another shot.
It is hard to say how the new game will be received, as there isn’t enough information available to get excited about. The core fan base of the previous releases is five years older, and it’s hard to say how many of them feel nostalgic about the possible return of Rock Band. As we get closer to the release, tentatively set for the 2015 holiday season, maybe we will know if this is a series resurrection or a sad trip down memory lane.