There's nothing quite so rock and roll as a reunion tour, a fact underlined by today's announcement of Rock Band 2, which will see MTV Games and Harmonix once again team up with Electronic Arts to put toy instruments and games on shelves across the nation.
However, unlike last year's series debut, Rock Band 2 will be very selective about which shelves it appears on. The game will debut on the Xbox 360 in September, and after a North American "exclusive launch window," it will find its way to additional unspecified platforms by year's end.
With this year's installment of Activision's rival rocker Guitar Hero going head-to-head with the full four-piece band concept, Rock Band 2 is making a few upgrades of its own. First and foremost among the details revealed today is that the sequel will be backward compatible with the original Rock Band's downloadable content, with no need to repurchase or redownload it to the system. That makes for a sizeable potential Rock Band 2 library right off the bat, given that the Rock Band music store currently has more than 200 songs available, which have garnered some 15 million paid downloads since the game launched in November.
Furthermore, Harmonix will be offering "new and improved" drum and guitar controllers with new features and designs, "all fully compatible with original Rock Band instruments." The game's tracklist will consist entirely of master recordings, and Harmonix is also promising new online modes with a greater emphasis on the Rock Band community's social aspects.
More details about Rock Band 2 will be made public at this year's E3 Media & Business Summit.