Imagine, then, a game that takes the stunning Guitar Hero formula, adds in new instruments and options and brings it all together in one perfect rock-shaped package. Right now, you’re imagining Rock Band and if what’s in your head looks anything like what’s in ours, you’re probably pretty excited. If Harmonix can deliver the goods (and they haven’t failed us yet) then you’ve got every right to be, as well. Then again, they’ve never had to improve on near-perfection before. Good luck, guys.
The crucial difference between Rock Band and the Guitar Hero games is… well, the clue’s in the title, really. Guitar Hero II let up to two players loose on guitar and bass. Rock Band, however, goes one louder, throwing vocals and drums into the mix as well to really test your musical mettle. Not content with doubling up on instruments, the game’s key function also allows players around the world to be brought together by the power of rock, forming bands online with similarly skilled players each taking up their weapon of choice and jamming together. Of course, the same options should also be offered to offline players, where your whole virtual band will be able to cram around the TV for a practice session before jumping into the rather scary pool of talent that your broadband connection puts you just nanoseconds away from.
Ever since peripheral-led music games started cropping up all over the place on the PSone, we’ve dreamed of this kind of possibility, but until now it’s always been just that - a distant dream. It appears, though, that good old Harmonix has heard our prayers and turned their skilled hands to the logical progression of the genre. Genius. But the improvements over similar existing titles don’t end there. Oh no.
While most of the songs in the Guitar Hero games are incredibly accurate cover versions as opposed to original artists, there are still a few bum notes in there. The limp version of Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name” is probably the best example, although others like “Killer Queen” and “Stellar” never felt quite right either. To remedy this, MTV and Harmonix have secured the support of five leading record companies to supply original master recordings for Rock Band. EMI Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group’s Universal Music Enterprises, Hollywood Records and Warner Music Group’s Rhino Entertainment are all signed up to allow their artists to be featured in the game and after a little research, we managed to break down just what this could mean in terms of potential tunes.