Rock Band 4
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4
Release Date: Late 2015
Rock Band 4 is an upcoming and music rhythm video game that is currently being developed by Harmonix, the same studio that found fame with the Guitar Hero and Dance Central series of video games. Set to serve as the fourth entry into the game’s main series, Rock Band 4 is going to be published by Harmonix and distributed by Mad Catz, which is also developing new controller instruments for the game.
Rock Band 4 is currently set to release at some point in late 2015, likely targeting a Q3 or Q4 release.
Rock Band 4 is being developed exclusively for current generation hardware, thus it will be released on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Harmonix have said that at this time, there are no plans to bring the game to the Wii U.
Rock Band 4 was first expected to have been in development when Harmonix suddenly started supporting Rock Band 3 with DLC in January of 2015. It had been nearly 21 months since the last batch of new songs were introduced to Rock Band 3, with the DLC adding R U Mine from the Arctic Monkeys, Shepard of Fire and Hail to the King from Avenged Sevenfold as well as Something from Nothing by Foo Fighters.
A survey was then distributed to players, asking them what they thought of the features in Rock Band 3, whether or not they played solo or with friends, etc. This all but confirmed the existence of plans to develop Rock Band 4.
Two months lather, on March 5th of 2015, Harmonix confirmed that they were indeed developing Rock Band 4. Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos spoke about the upcoming game, saying,“When we stopped developing Rock Band 3 [in 2010], clearly the market needed a break.
“But since then we’ve been paying close attention to what our community has been saying about it. There’s been this steadily growing crescendo of fans saying, ‘Hey Harmonix, what the hell? It’s time! Why haven’t you announced a new Rock Band? We’re ready for it!’”
Rock Band 4 is going to be an improved version of its predecessors, being rendered at 1080p and running at 60fps thanks to an newly redesigned gameplay engine. This new engine will bring new and improved character models and animation as well as improved lighting effects.
Speaking about this “brand new” engine, the Rock Band Project Manager Eric Pope said, “It’s going to look ‘next-gen’ with more realistic lighting, character models, and animation. It will open a lot [of] opportunities for us to support the game in more reactive, timely ways,”
Based on sales figures gathered from previous iterations of the Rock Band franchise, Harmonix have decided not to bring this game to the Wii U. They also don’t have plans to bring the game to the PC either. Rigopulos has said that the Wii had the “least percentage” of Rock Band players, but that “If there’s a market for PC, a bunch of people who demand that we do this, and the market’s there, then absolutely, we wanna respond,”
The Rock Band series, like Guitar Hero before it, makes use of controller instruments that previously included the Pro Guitar and the Piano/Keyboard. These instruments are being scrapped from the game as the developers feel that Ubisoft’s Rocksmith has that field covered already and to a satisfactory enough level that competition would be pointless.
To this end Mad Catz, who are jointly publishing the game with Harmonix, have taken up the role of producing the instruments for the game. These will not “reinvent the wheel” but will prove more than adequate for their purpose. Rock Band 4 will make use of an updated Guitar and update Drum Kit as well as a Microphone.
At this time, though it hasn’t been confirmed yet, Harmonix are working to get backwards comparability in place for the Xbox 360 and PS3 controllers. PS4 compatibility is expected to be easier than compatibility for Xbox One. Mad Catz have said the Sony instruments were wireless via a USB dongle and were thus straightforward. Support for Xbox controllers were somewhat more complicated.
At this time, it’s not yet known if the game will feature any kind of story, plot or campaign.
With Rock Band 4 running at 1080p and 60fps, gameplay is expected to be more fluid. Gameplay will remain largely unchanged, with the player matching the notes and rhythms displayed on screen in real time on the replica instruments. They will also need to sing along when prompted with the games microphone.
Despite hosting largely unchanged gameplay mechanics, we know that the game is hoping to be “more realistic” but what this means is largely unknown. With MadCatz having said that they don’t aim to “reinvent the wheel”, it’s not entirely likely that the fundamental structure of the game will change.
In regards to a new soundtrack for Rock Band, specific tracks are yet to be released, but we do know that the game is going to support a fairly high quality soundtrack. Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos has said, “The budget that we’ve allocated for the title supports a top-tier soundtrack.”
We also know that the developer is hoping to provide cross platform compatibility for the songs that gamers have already purchased Rock Band 3, though this may be complicated closer to release as the rights to the music come into play. Speaking about this, Harmonix has said, “If you bought a Rock Band song, it should be yours in Rock Band 4,”
Note: This wiki will be updated once we have more information about the game.