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Harmonix

PREVIEW | Rock Band 4 is more of the same in the best possible way - and it still rocks

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Games previews, Harmonix, Mad Catz, PS4 games, Rock Band 4, Xbox One Games

PREVIEW | Rock Band 4 is more of the same in the best possible way - and it still rocks

Rock Band 4 is more of the same. And that's absolutely fine.

Rather than looking to "innovate" for the sheer sake of it, Harmonix have taken an introspective look back at the series in order to work out and double down on what made Rock Band so enduring: the band itself. The fantasy of you and your friends becoming Rock Gods in the comfort of your own living room, whether on vocals, guitar or drums. The result is a game that feels and plays like its forebears, only with a suite of new features and tweaks designed to sell you that fantasy wholesale.

Having played Rock Band 4 at a recent preview event, I can attest to the fact that Rock Band still rocks... and that staying close to its roots allows for an astonishing amount of backwards compatibility.

PREVIEW | Rock Band 4 is more of the same in the best possible way - and it still rocks

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Rock Band 4: everything you need to know about backwards compatibility

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Harmonix, Mad Catz, Rock Band 4

Rock Band 4: everything you need to know about backwards compatibility

Rock Band 4 is out this year and we can't wait. Promising a return to form both for the franchise and the genre as a whole, it's set to include an enormous setlist, new instruments and loads of smart new features that focus on the core joy of rocking out with friends.

For many, though, a few important questions still loom over Rock Band 4. "What about our old peripherals? What about our old Guitar Hero peripherals? What about our old DLC?"

Thankfully I was able to sit down with Mad Catz' global PR and Communications Director Alex Verrey,  the foremost authority on the matter and a jolly nice chap, to set the record straight at a preview event yesterday.

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What do you make of Rock Band 4's first six tracks?

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Harmonix, Music games, Rock Band 4

What do you make of Rock Band 4's first six tracks?

Sweet wonderful you. You make me happy with the things you do.

Harmonix has revealed the first six tracks for Rock Band 4, and they're all songs that should be as fun to play as they're great to listen to.

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We desperately want Rock Band to return... but on one condition

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Features
Tags:
Harmonix, Rock Band

We desperately want Rock Band to return... but on one condition

Rock Band might be coming back.

According to a report from Bloomberg, Harmonix are reviving their legendary music game for PS4 and Xbox One, many years after a combination of factors caused the plastic peripheral music genre to fall from grace. As the recession killed off disposable income, mobile gaming became more attractive and Guitar Hero oversaturated the market, the days of rocking out in our living rooms became a distant memory.

There's still no official confirmation, but the resurgence in Rock Band DLC is interesting anecodal evidence, and quite frankly we feel that it's time for a comeback... at least, on one small yet important condition.

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Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved just £31.85 on Xbox One at Amazon & ShopTo

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved, Harmonix, Kinect games, Xbox One Games

Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved just £31.85 on Xbox One at Amazon & ShopTo

Disney Fantasia | Amazon & ShopTo | £31.85 (save £5)
Review

Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved is a fantastic idea that turns you into a full-body conductor with the power of your Kinect Sensor, allowing you to create and share crazy remixes on the fly. However, it just boils down to flailing your arms around in front of the telly like a drunk hailing a cab.

I was deeply conflicted in our full review, but in fairness, I should also point out that I've probably awarded it the lowest score on the internet. Definitely download the demo and try it out for yourself! Note that Kinect 2.0 is mandatoryThanks to Aeschylus @ HUKD!

Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved Interview | John Drake On The Music & Motion Scanning

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved, Gamescom 2013, Harmonix, Interviews, John Drake, Motion Control, Music games, Xbox 360 games, Xbox One Games

Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved Interview | John Drake On The Music & Motion Scanning

Having sat through a press presentation of the game in action earlier that day, I was given the opportunity to have a chat with John Drake, director of communications at Harmonix, to learn a little more about the upcoming music game tie-in to one of Disney's most iconic feature length animations. If you haven't read our preview of the presentation, you can catch up on it all here.

When asked about platform exclusivity, Drake was quick to point out that while Fantasia is coming out to Xbox One and Xbox 360, the game isn’t contract exclusive so it may end up coming out for other consoles with a camera peripheral in the future (but Harmonix aren’t ready to talk about that just yet.) Drake admitted that Fantasia was Harmonix’s most ambitious game to date, with 120 people working on the game currently in an effort to get to fill the game with new characters and even greater potential for crazy remixes.

On the topic of remixes, I asked Drake whether Fantasia would include some sort of community hub that will allow players an one-stop place to hear remixes or vote for which ones are the best, but he explained that, at least for the moment, there wasn’t a plan to include one. “I’m not sure if we’re going to do that in-game or not. Right now, a lot of that super-server depends on Disney to be all like “Oh hey, what’s your back-end technology going to be?” Disney’s work with Infinity, and the idea of players being able to share their creations online, is something the developers are watching to “see what [they] could apply from that,” but while Harmonix are working with Disney to include things like YouTube uploading (and ensuring artists get paid for their original work) the developers were waiting for all of the main work to be finished first before looking into the server-side features. Drake did finish by stating “I would like to see something like that. I think it’d be really cool.”

Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved Interview | John Drake On The Music & Motion Scanning

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Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved Preview | Magic In Motion

Author:
Carl Phillips
Category:
Features
Tags:
Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved, Disney Interactive, Gamescom 2013, Harmonix, John Drake, Motion Control, Music games, Xbox 360 games, Xbox One Games

Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved Preview | Magic In Motion

Platform: Xbox One | Xbox 360

Developer: Harmonix

Publisher: Disney Interactive

Going into the press session at Gamescom, I had limited knowledge of Disney Fantasia other than the fact it was being made (oops) but it was hard to ignore the talent behind the development – Harmonix. The team responsible for bringing Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and Dance Central to life have more than proved their ability to create a unique and, more to the point, fun music-based experience for years now, and so to learn that they were approached by Disney to bring one of their most famous music-focused films to the world of gaming was no surprise.

We were invited to join John Drake, director of communications at Harmonix, for a press presentation of the game in action to learn more about what the game will be about, how it ties into the Fantasia brand, and how the developers plan to take motion-scanning to the next level with their latest project. We also had to chance to ask Drake a few questions after the presentation was done, but with this preview being as giant as it is, we’ll be posting his responses later today. So, let’s begin with a bit of a history lesson…

Drake began the presentation by letting us know how the project started, when Disney Interactive approached the music game genre pioneers to bring the world of Fantasia to life, “Disney came to us two and a half, three years ago,” Drake began, “and they wanted to make Fantasia The Music Game and they wanted us to do it, and we were like ‘That’s awesome.’ And then we spent like a year trying to figure out what the hell we were going to do because it’s a really weird movie.” The 73-year-old film is definitely a hard one to pigeon-hole in terms of what it is exactly, but Harmonix were given a helping hand by Disney to overcome this problem – by being granted access to Walt Disney’s personal archives for the film. “Walt Disney had a lot of money after Snow White, which he made all its money in the theatres, so he hired this army of secretaries to follow him around and write everything that he said down,” Drake said.” So, for Fantasia we have all these notes about story, and art style, and music, and technology, so that was a huge inspiration when trying to figure out what we would be making that [fit with] Walt’s vision.”

Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved Preview | Magic In Motion

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Harmonix Sites Shut Down Following Suspected Intrusion

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Dance Central, Hack, Harmonix, Rock Band

Harmonix Sites Shut Down Following Suspected Intrusion

Harmonix' network of Rock Band and Dance Central websites went down over the weekend to investigate an intrusion into their network. No evidence of any compromised user account details have yet been found, but at the time of writing, the sites are still closed and passwords have been suspended.

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Rock Band DLC Ending This April

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
DLC, Harmonix, Music games, Rock Band

Rock Band DLC Ending This April

Although the peripheral-based music game might no longer capture the imagination in the way it once did, Harmonix's steady stream of DLC for Rock Band has been a thing of joy for those who, like many of us here at Dealspwn, can't resist picking up the old plastic guitar every once in a while and busting out some RAWWWK!

But alas, around 4000 songs on from the original release of Rock Band back in 2005, the DLC well is about to dry up.

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Gangnam Style Coming To Dance Central 3

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Dance Central 3, DLC, Gangnam Style, Harmonix, Microsoft Studios

Well, we called it.

PSY's global extravaganza Gangnam Style is coming to Dance Central 3 as DLC, along with a host of other groovy tunes to get funky to, including Call Me Maybe .

According to Joystiq, there are also tracks from Justin Bieber, One Direction and LMFAO on their way. Harmonix have said that the latest DLC pack will feature "authentic choreography", so maybe we'll finally be able to perfect that awkward, leg-waggling, sideways moonwalk shuffle that PSY pulls off in his revolutionary music vid.

Dance Central 3 To Have Bonkers Time-Travelling Plot

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Dance Central 3, Dance Games, Harmonix, Music games, trailer

Dance Central 3 To Have Bonkers Time-Travelling Plot

If you feel the need to add a storyline to a dance game, there's really no point holding back. Harmonix are clearly revelling in the bizarre with the plot to Dance Central 3, which revolves around time travelling agents solving "dance crimes" for "Dance Central Intelligence."

Yes indeed. The latest trailer documents the entire barmy self-aware thing after the break.

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Rock Band Blitz Review | So Frantically Hectic

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Reviews
Tags:
Harmonix, Music games, PSN, Rhythm games, Rock Band Blitz, score attack, XBLA

Rock Band Blitz Review | So Frantically Hectic

Platform: PSN | XBLA (reviewed)

Developer: Harmonix

Rock Band Blitz is a strange little proposition. A scrolling rhythm game that has more in common with Amplitude than Guitar Hero, this singleplayer experience revolves around score and combos rather than painstakingly hitting each single note. It's a new way to explore your music with a traditional controller rather than a plastic guitar, levelling up different instruments and understanding how familiar songs are constructed out of numerous intertwined parts. Better yet, it's compatible with your entire Rock Band DLC collection and even provides 25 extra songs of its own to play in Rock Band 3.

But there's a problem. Despite technically being decent value, Rock Band Blitz has essentially just provided a less fun way of playing through the same old songs.

Rock Band Blitz Review | So Frantically Hectic

Gameplay is fundamentally similar to Rock Band or Guitar Hero, at least starting out. Songs are subdivided into four or five scrolling lanes representing a key instrument or vocal part, with the ability to swap between them on the fly by jabbing the triggers. Notes parade down both sides of  each lanes in time with the music; to hit them, you'll need to mash the D-Pad and A depending on whether they're on the left or right. Advanced players can optionally waggle the thumbsticks to nail fast consecutive beats, though it takes some getting used to and is rarely particularly comfortable. In your first few attempts, you'll likely do yourself an injury trying to hit each and every note in all of the lanes - a physical improbability - doing irreparable damage to your thumbs in the process.

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Harmonix Seeking A "Combat Designer" For A Next-Gen Action Game

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Action Games, combat, Harmonix

Harmonix Seeking A "Combat Designer" For A Next-Gen Action Game

A "Fun, Deep and Accessible Combat Experience"

Rock Band and Guitar Hero creator Harmonix may be branching out into new territory, at least according to a job wanted ad for a "combat designer" to work on "a project that is unlike anything Harmonix has ever done before."

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Rock Band Blitz Priced & Dated For August

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Harmonix, Music games, PSN, XBLA

Rock Band Blitz Priced & Dated For August

Rock Band Blitz will be available from August 29th on PSN and XBLA, Harmonix confirmed today. The scrolling rhythm game, which uses standard controllers instead of guitar peripherals, will set you back $14.99 on the PlayStation Store (British pricing TBA) or 1200 Microsoft Points.

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Harmonix At Work On Three or More AAA New IPs

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Amplitude, Frequency, Harmonix, Music games, New IP, Rock Band, Triple-A

Harmonix At Work On Three or More AAA New IPs

Rock Band devs Harmonix are beavering away on "three and/or more" original triple-A titles, if thir latest podcast is to be believed. But don't go expecting a new Rock Band of Dance Central title, or even a new Amplitude or Frequency...this stuff is all-new.

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Rock Band: Led Zeppelin Rumour Crushed By Harmonix

Author:
Matt Gardner
Category:
News
Tags:
Harmonix, Led Zeppelin, Rock Band, Rumour, Sadface

Rock Band: Led Zeppelin Rumour Crushed By Harmonix

It all began with a tweet from internet tipster Superannuation, and a mysterious CV from a Passion Pictures employee with the words "HARMONIX ROCKBAND LED ZEPPELIN" in amongst the list of projects upon which she'd worked.

Sadly, though, Harmonix have quashed the rumours of a classic rock themed-title starring Mssrs. Plant, Page, Jones, and Bonham.

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LEGO Rock Band | £5.86 | ShopTo | PS3

Author:
Tom Silkstone
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Games deals, Harmonix, MTV Games, Music games, PS3 games, Traveller's Tales, Warner Bros

LEGO Rock Band | £5.86 | ShopTo | PS3

If you like to tap along to well known songs like Breakout, We Will Rock You, and You Give Love A Bad Name, on your plastic guitar peripherals but you've always wanted to throw in a bit of the charm that comes along with the LEGO games, then you might want to check out LEGO Rock Band. You can get hold of a PS3 copy of the game from ShopTo for £5.86, which should make you a saving of almost £6.50 on the next best offer coming in from Gameseek. Thanks to barky @ HUKD.

Harmonix Reveals Downloadable Rock Band Blitz

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
News
Tags:
Harmonix, Music games, PSN, Rock Band Blitz, trailer, XBLA

Harmonix Reveals Downloadable Rock Band Blitz

Ditches Instruments For Controllers

Harmonix has formally announced their newest music game, and it's a rather odd proposition. Rock Band Blitz will be a PSN/XBLA downloadable title that turns players into a "one man band," using traditional console controllers instead of the range of instrument peripherals. Gameplay will be of the "frantic" rhythm-matching variety, featuring powerups that can destroy gems and unlock score bonuses. The concept is vaguely reminiscent of Harmonix' earlier titles such as Amplitude and Frequency, and we have a trailer embedded below.

Rock Band Blitz will be compatible with Rock Band DLC, though it's unclear whether you'll need to download another license pack. On the flip-side, the 20 new songs can also be exported into Rock Band 3. Pricing and release details are TBA, though we'll probably learn more at PAX East this weekend.

Click here for the trailer >>

Rock Band 3 & Wireless Keyboard | £17.99 | Play.com | Wii

Author:
Jonathan Lester
Category:
Deals
Tags:
Harmonix, Music games, Viacom, Wii games
Rock Band 3 & Wireless Keyboard | £17.99 | Play.com | Wii

The peripheral craze may have all but died out, but it ended with a bang rather than whimper. Rock Band 3 was awesome and brought us one of the most brilliantly unexpected videogame controllers we've ever seen. Not only does the keyboard make for outstanding virtual jams, but it also functions as a MIDI controller and boasts a two-octave keybed. The MIDI output connector "provides compatibility with MIDI software sequencers and hardware devices," so, it's pretty good value if you're a budding electronic artist.