Rock Band developer, Harmonix, along with Oculus announced this morning that Rock Band VR will be releasing next month. This will be, arguably, one of the major Oculus exclusives to be released this year. The game releases on March 23rd.
Harmonix first announced their new venture into VR back in 2015. In fact, Rock Band VR was supposed to have been released in 2016. It was postponed, however, and the developers simply showed off a very early prototype last year. It looks like a lot of work went into fleshing out the game more between then and now.
Old Hat With A New Paint Job?
At first, I thought the idea of a Rock Band VR game quite silly. I mean, Guitar Hero was highly addictive and all – but what could VR add to that experience, really? In fact, the idea seemed quite boring to me. I thought there’s a lot of rhythm-based VR games available already – without the long-running franchise throwing their two cents into the mix.
Harmonix, however, decided to go a different way with this game instead of recycling the old note highway and just translating it into VR. This time around they’re focusing more on improvisation and making each performance your own. “To bring the experience of Rock Band into VR, we had to completely reinvent our core gameplay—and it ended up totally exceeding our expectations,” said Creative Lead, Greg LoPiccolo. You can experiment with different notes, strum speeds and chords to develop your own signature style and sound.
They’re really trying to make you get that rockstar feeling and make every performance your own. So while it keeps the old magic of Rock Band, this new title really lets you feel like you’re out on stage in front of a crowd. “Rift’s integrated audio does a phenomenal job of spatializing the sounds around you for a legit onstage experience,” said Lead Composer/Sound Designer, Steve Pardo. “If you teleport around the stage, the mix shifts to accommodate your new position—it’s an amazing illusion. It really feels like you’re there, with the crowd in front of you, the drums behind you, and your amp cranked to 11.” Along with the pronounced freedom of expression and 360° sound integration, there’s also a lot more interaction you can have with bandmates on stage. Like banging your guitar on the drummer’s hi-hat.
If you really liked the Classic, Play it in VR
Harmonix didn’t do away with the note highway completely. You can still show off your legendary technical skills and register full combos on Classic Mode’s dedicated leaderboards.
Oculus and Harmonix have opened pre-orders, selling the game in a bundle for $69.99. In this bundle, you get a digital copy of Rock Band VR and either a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One-compatible guitar controller which connect to a Windows PC. The controllers will also work with the 2015 game Rock Band 4 on Xbox One or PlayStation 4, depending on which bundle you selected. The Rock Band VR game requires oculus touch controllers and the Rock Band 4 guitar controller to work. The Touch controllers work with the guitar controller by attaching them to the guitar with a small connector – which is included with all Touch units.
Now if only they could include pretty girls in the crowd who throw their underwear at you.