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Why Rock Band 3’s lead designer left – and you shouldn’t care

Like a girlfriendwho lets you pay for concert tickets but then runs off with the lead singer, Rock Band 3 Lead Designer Dan Teasdale has officially left the game’s developer, Harmonix. Teasdaledeparted Harmonix for the “holy grail” of designer positions over at Twisted Pixel Games.

Teasdale stated over twitter that even though Rock Band 3 is not ready to ship, it is “design complete”. As to why he was leaving, Teasdale sounded a bit like a stadium-filling musician lamenting the smaller, more intimate days of playing in bars. He cited a need for “the ability to drive the vision and direction of a game, while maintaining a solid hands-on”.

We actually understand, and even respect that stance. Being the lead on a massive team that works only on high-profile titles can make it difficult to be “hands-on”. And it’s not like he’s going to work on the rival Guitar Hero franchise or some other equally huge competitor. He'smoving on to very different pastures - the tiny-but-awesomeindie developerTwisted Pixel Games, creator of 'Splosion Man and The Maw, which isbringing Teasdale onboard to work on “a ridiculously cool new project”.

With the departure of Teasdale came the sudden leave of another Harmonix developer, Rob Weychert. Now that the team is a big fat minus two on the developer front, does this spell disaster for the franchise?

No. Rock Band 3 will be released to the same success as it was ever going to get. The design work, Teasdale’s area of focus, is done. Rock Band 3 is a go. And he is still only one of a very large team. There are only two concerns fans should even consider going forward.

First is, “was Dan telling the truth?” Obviously, Rock Band 4 is practically a given, so he’s not deserting a sinking ship. Was there anything else behind the abandonment? The second: "What is the ridiculously cool new project Twisted Pixel is working on?"

Jul 02, 2010