It’s back! After over a month of teasing, rumors, and rampant speculation based on some fairly obvious clues, Rock Band 4 is officially a thing. We’ve got the full details over in the giant interview, but here’s the elevator-pitch version.
Rock Band 4 is coming out at some point in 2015 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, refocusing on the core instruments of drums, guitar, bass, and vocals, and playable for the first time at E3. The keyboard is, sadly, being left behind for the sequel, but Harmonix is making the effort to ensure all the other old instruments you might still have kicking around the back of a closet will still work. That’s not 100% sure yet, based on the hardware requirements of Sony and Microsoft, but it’s looking pretty likely. You’ll also be able to import your old library into the new game, so if you’ve got a massive song list (or even a tiny one) then Rock Band 4 will be that much bigger when you fire it up.
The new game is being published by Mad Catz, who will also be picking up where they left off manufacturing the instruments. EA and MTV are gone, meaning Harmonix is developing Rock Band 4 without a second party looking over their shoulder guiding the game’s direction while providing a safety net. It’s a big risk for Harmonix, but one that seems likely to work out in their favor with the slightest bit of luck. Judging by the free DLC being released today to celebrate Rock Band 4’s announcement they’ve still got a good ear for excellent music that will play perfectly with friends. Frank Turner’s I Still Believe is free to anyone with Rock Band 3, and it’s a fantastic piece of music (take a listen).
To commemorate the return of one of the best music series ever, Harmonix also put together a video explaining why now was the time to bring Rock Band back. Whatever the reason may be, it’s great that the return is only a few months off. There were a lot of very good reasons why people stopped buying the plastic instrument games (glut of product, incompatible play-lists even among games within the same series, and of course moving on to the next big, shiny thing) but at the end of Rock Band’s life it seemed like the important lessons had been learned. The core game was Rock Band 3, it was a platform that everything else fed into, and the gameplay was polished to a perfect shine. We lost something great when Rock Band stopped, and now it’s time to welcome it back and remember just how much fun it was to belt out killer music with friends.