Rock Band – even if you don’t want to openly admit it we have all had a go at some point or another and have all had a blast doing so.
I like to fancy myself as quite the guitarist (those subjected to watching me play Rock Band though would most likely not agree) and have spent a stupid number of hours playing Rock Band on the Wii. For some reason, even though I had extremely cool light up blue LED drum sticks, I could never master that domain.
Harmonix have been hard at work after bringing that experience across the current gen consoles for us and have finally been able unveil what the have been working on:
First off, THANK YOU for your interest in Rock Band 4 – getting the game to market took every ounce of effort that we could muster and we really appreciate all the support and feedback we’ve received from the community. Bringing the franchise to the new consoles meant a complete re-architecture of our engine and, along with the work it took to support last gen’s DLC and instruments, this was an enormous effort for us. However, our plan has always been to provide continual updates post launch, and from the moment we launched on October 6th, we have had our team hard at work developing new features. We’ve been quiet about the details, UNTIL NOW! I am wicked excited to unveil the feature set for the 12/8 update:
- Score challenge features – This is a whole suite of features that is designed to leverage the competitive heart of the game:
- In-game notifications of leaderboard events: Find out at the moment you pass a friend’s score with an all-new in-song indicator.
- Activity feed: This is a main menu log of your leaderboard events and that also allows you to quickly jump to a track to regain your dominance.
- Taunt system from the results screen: Let your friends know you beat their score by sending them a selectable randomized Taunt message. This taunt will appear in his or her Activity Feed.
- Improved Calibration – thanks to your feedback, we’ve implemented some significant improvements. PLEASE NOTE that these changes require you to recalibrate.
- Variable Breakneck Speed – One of the most requested features from the hardcore competitive community, Variable Breakneck Speed will allow players to individually set the Breakneck Speed of their tracks for the first time in a Rock Band title – up to 2.5X this time!
- Full Combo Recognition & Indicator – The “Full Combo” (a perfect streak, no notes missed or additional strums/hits from start to finish) is one of the competitive player’s greatest achievements. Rock Band games haven’t kept track of this impressive feat in the past, and that all changes with this update. The game will now celebrate and track your FC success, and a subtle new in-song indicator will allow you to know if you’re still on track for an FC or if you’ve broken your streak. We also now indicate FC runs on the leaderboards.
- More Song Results details – leaderboard info, plus detailed gameplay statistics will now be shown on the song results screen.
- Player Stats – Want to know where you stack against your friends online? Access this new Player Stats screen from anywhere in the game to get a detailed overview of your complete Rock Band gameplay statistics, including cumulative scores, stars, and more.
- New Items in the Rock Shop – we’ve got a handful of new assets in the Rock Shop, including one that celebrates a recent (and very awesome) game launch from a studio that we love.
- Auto-kick mode – One of the most requested Accessibility features, this toggle will allow you to play drum parts by hitting the drum pads only while we automatically hit kick drum notes. This will be available as a toggle in the Options menu.
- Packs and Albums in the XB1 in-game store are back in the store and contain content.
- Fix to prevent hitches for PlayStation 4 players with 2000 Friends.
- Leaderboards no longer mix player scores and percentages from different performances and instead show only the info for the single performance with the highest score.
- Game no longer crashes when the vocalist joins a song that doesn’t have a vocal part.
- Band History stats now list the correct total number of Rock Shop items.
- Improvements to microphone lag.
- Improvements to tambourine hit sensitivity.
- Adjustments to track transparency.
We’ve still got a few surprises in store, including a new gameplay mode that we’re really psyched about. We’ll be telling you about it as we get closer to December 8th.
With the details on our first major update out of the way, here’s some insight into our long-term plans:
- We are planning for monthly updates of varying sizes – some of these updates will contain bug fixes and performance improvements, others will include new features.
- Our backlog is comprised of:
- Features brand new to the Rock Band platform.
- Features that have appeared in previous Rock Band games
- Stability improvements.
- We are paying VERY close attention to the feedback from our community channels (the Rock Band forums, social media, etc.). Please continue to tell us what you care about! What do you like? What do you NOT like? What’s missing? We’re listening – your comments impact our priorities in a major way.
- We’re working on some tools to provide visibility into our long-term development plans. We want to keep you informed about what we’re up to!
At Harmonix, we have never offered this kind of visibility into our future development plans before. We’re doing it because we want you to be informed and help us make good decisions about how we prioritize our work. We ask that you please understand that the development process isn’t entirely smooth – sometimes features get delayed or pulled based on testing, performance, first party delays, etc. Because we’re developing this stuff live, we may not always be able to give an exact date for a feature or bug fix. However, we CAN keep you informed about what we’re working on, how things are going and when we hope to deliver.
We’re really excited about this December update, not only because we think these features add a lot to the Rock Band 4 experience, but because it’s the first of many updates in our ongoing efforts to make Rock Band 4 even more fun for all of you. Stay in touch and we’ll do the same!