Rock Band Blitz: Harmonix reveals controller-driven update for summer release

XBLA/PSN release for “fast, silly, loud” rhythm-action rebirth

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With Harmonix's Rock Band having barely emerged alive from the Plastic Instrument Wars of 2008, the former's no longer bound by its feud with the Rock Band franchise, which threw its final horns last year (Activision ends the Guitar Hero franchise). Now there's no competitor at its heels – and a diminished audience asking, “what next?” – the developer's free to take its signature series wherever it pleases. Enter this summer's PSN/XBLA revival, Rock Band Blitz.

Eschewing the big clicky plastic instruments which defined the series' initial iteration, Blitz “is an arcade game, so it's quick and fun," explains project director Mathew Nord, who also calls the game “fast, silly, loud, and over the top.” Nord says whereas previous Rock Bands strove for “music authenticity and performance simulation,” this title uses the humble Xbox or PS3 controller to mix rhythm-action with arcade-style power-ups and score-play. Which the old games had plenty of too, but the game's emphasis on this area looks to provide twitch-play thrills to make up for the lack of a big plastic Strat about your neck.

Launching Summer, Rock Band Blitz will boast full compatibility with all existing Rock Band tracks, and ship with 25 new backwards-compatible tracks. The company's also supporting its new title with the same constant updates enjoyed by Rock Band 3.

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