February in Vegas. I've managed to track down Harmonix's Nick Chester to follow up on a rumor I heard — that he was making appointments for something at GDC. Something I needed to see. I asked him for an appointment, and the first words out of his mouth were: "It's not going to be on PC."
"I don't care," I responded.
It's maybe the only time I'd say those words. We don't cover console games on PCWorld anymore. Ever. Heck, we barely even cover the consoles themselves. I fought for that right. I won that right. As far as this site is concerned, consoles basically don't exist. This is PCWorld and we are PC gamers.
Two exceptions. 1) Tony Hawk. 2) [Expletive] Rock Band.
It's back. Rock Band 4. Coming this year.
I wanna rock
Yes, after months of not-so-subtle hints it's finally here: The official Rock Band 4 announcement. And the game will be in our hands by the end of 2015.
I bet you have questions. I had questions.
1) What happens to my DLC, now that we've moved to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4?
"The question at the top of everyone's list is our DLC catalogue," said Harmonix's Daniel Sussman as I sat down to discuss Rock Band 4. "It took us over five years to build this catalogue in the first place. We are working towards the entitlements, so the songs you had bought on the PS3 you will have on the PS4."
"At the same time, there is a lot of focus internally on the disc soundtrack and forward-looking content plans."
2) Will your old instruments still work?
Yes! I don't know how. Magic, I guess. Even though the way the Xbox One controllers connect is different than the Xbox 360, Harmonix says they're working with Microsoft (Sony's PS4 still just uses Bluetooth) to make sure old hardware will still work.
At the same time, "We are working with MadCatz to develop a new set of drums, a mic, guitars, native to the two consoles — the PS4 and Xbox One. There is an opportunity for incremental upgrades, to improve the overall quality of some of the components — which we're taking — but by-and-large supporting the legacy hardware is so important that it's absolutely worth it to not develop new hardware that's part of an upsell device. We want the game to be playable with whatever you have," said Sussman.
Sad news for keyboard players, though: Rock Band 4 is going back to its guitar/bass/drums/vocals roots. "The thing people think about when you talk about Rock Band, it's really that core band experience."
The same goes for Pro Guitar, custom song authoring, et cetera. "Rock Band 3 veered off from the core essence of what Rock Band is all about," said Sussman. Rock Band 4 is slimmer in some respects, but hopefully better for it.
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