We’ve started our very own podcast! We’re billing it as your safe haven for gaming news and discussion. Each (and hopefully every) week myself and gaming cohort Daniel “Easy Street” Ezzo will dish on current events as well as hunkering down on weekly topics.
You can listen to the second episode above – the first is lost to the ether until we hammer out some kinks with Soundcloud –...
A New Era of Guitar Hero Plants You Onstage (Literally)
Just as Rock Band announced it was back on tour, Activison’s long dormant musical prodigy has emerged from the studio, ready to sell out the stadium that is your living room.
But Guitar Hero Livedoesn’t want to just revive the concept that turned the series into a $2 billion dollar star. It’s remolding itself into an entirely different band....
It’s funny, but I started the The Red Herb probably right around the time the rhythm game genre began to wane and people’s indifference to plastic instruments forced the genre to wither out of existence. It was a lot like Freddy Krueger losing his spectral dream powers because the parents of Elm Street unanimously forgot about those rash of murders on their block all those years ago. Rock Band and Guitar Hero lost their grip on the kids.
So music games didn’t get a lot of say on here over the years. Sure, we talked plenty about Resident Evil and Claire’s butt, but my fevered love affair with Guitar Hero and, soon after, Rock Band went undocumented. Let’s put it on the official record then: I loved the living hell out of these games. If you paid me for every hour I poured into mastering those five fucking notes and the endless combination of chords, hammer-on’s, and hammer-off’s associated with them, I’d be writing this article from a small island I bought and undoubtedly named Red Herbia.
Rock Band Could Take the Stage for an Encore
But are we ready to rock?
You know, we’re not so far removed from an era in gaming dominated by plastic baby guitars and drunken crooning to old Pearl Jam jems. We want to act like we didn’t buy into the hype. We want to pretend we didn’t spend a godfucking fortune on DLC that cost a sight more than simply buying the tracks on iTunes.
Like some of the long dead rockstars it cashed in on, music gaming crashed and burned hard, but while they were on top, it was a friggin’ blast.
That’s probably why Harmonix, the pioneers behind last generation’s music game boom, wants to get the band back together. Bloomberg Business reports a source in on the matter says Harmonix is concocting a new Rock Band – the first rhythm game to allow a guitarist, bassist, singer, and drummer play simultaneously (I wonder how many months it took ‘em to peg down a name for that one) – for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
IGN tapped the developer to see what all this noise was about and, surprisingly, didn’t get an immediate “no comment.” Harmonix is still jived people haven’t written off their franchise, happy to see people actually download the new DLC songs recently released for Rock Band 3 (yeah, they’re still dropping content).
“This passion our fans have shown for Rock Band over the years suggests that rock truly hasn’t died, and we’ve always been clear that we’d love to return to the franchise when the time is right,” said the Massachusetts based house of rock.
As an avid enthusiast of both Guitar Hero and Rock Band who climbed from the lowly annals of Medium all the way to Expert guitar infamy, I’m damned curious to see how Harmonix could bring back a genre nearly snuffed out from over-saturation. (How heavy of a whiskey fog do you have to be in before you realize a Lego Rock Band is rock bottom?)
Say that you are able to dupe the masses into purchasing plastic baby instruments once more. Does the pay-per-song format really make sense in the modern streaming world? I know the tracks are closer to chunks of gameplay than simple mp3’s, that’s understandable, but would it be such a bad notion to offer a subscription service so players can experience new songs, free of the concern that their wallets will starve and harddrives become too bloated?
Lots of variables here; not least of which is whether or not hardcore and casual gamers buy into the music game scene again. Personally… I miss slapping $50 bucks worth of guitar-shaped plastic, man. Those were the days.
PlayStation 4 Will Support CD and MP3 Playback… Someday
Following fan outcry over the PS4’s inability to play MP3’s and CD’s as well as its lack of support for DLNA, Sony’s Worldwide figurehead Shuhei Yoshida confirmed the features will be worked into the system post-launch.
Gabbing it up on Giant Bomb’s Interview Dumptruck, Yoshida admits his entire team was surprised to hear such vehement feedback over a feature that, apparently, nobody really talks about.
“It’s not like we actively decided ‘let’s not do this feature so people will have to subscribe to Music Unlimited,’” said Shuhei. “The focus has been more on the game features. Some of the features we wanted but we couldn’t get in on day one.”
Yoshida goes on to say “the system guys” in Japan are already figuring out when to incorporate the omitted feature.
Sifting through IGN’s comments section on the issue, there seems to be some confusion as to why MP3 and CD playback, in particular, is a big deal; one user even quips that Sony was correct in thinking nobody cared about the feature, that they simply saw the other guys had it and demanded their fanboy informed console decision house the feature, too.
Let me clarify why MP3/CD playback is important to me: motherfuckin’ custom tracks, son. That’s it. I love jamming to my own tunes while I game. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not like I’m masking Jack Wall’s score on Mass Effect or overlaying Stone Temple Pilots where Nobuo Uematsu should be. If I’m kicking on music, it’s usually to spice up the humdrum military anthems that accompany online sessions of Call of Duty or circumvent the head-on collisions caused when Skrillex splits my ear canal in Need for Speed.
Music Unlimited’s ability to play tunes during every game session leads me to believe that gone are the days of the PS3’s brutally selective custom track feature. Thanks for listening, Shuhei. Now knock your team’s heads together until the patch goes live.