Last month, developer Harmonix teased the fact that keyboards would be making their debut in the upcoming Rock Band 3, with an image of some keys joining the guitar, drums, bass, and vocals symbols appearing at the end of the Xbox Live demo of Green Day: Rock Band. It seems that wannabe piano players will actually get their wish, with confirmation via a report in USA Today that keyboards would indeed be the new instrument in Harmonix's upcoming rhythm game sequel.
The article also unveiled many other pieces of information about Rock Band 3, including the fact that the game would feature a new Rock Band Pro mode, which aimed to bridge the gap between expert rhythm game players and actual musicians. Central to this will be the new keyboard peripheral and some yet-to-be-detailed full-size guitar controllers, including a fully functioning Fender, according to the article. The Rock Band keyboard will be a 25-key MIDI keyboard--during normal play, only the traditional five keys of green, red, yellow, blue, and orange will be used in conjunction with their corresponding buttons on the keyboard. In Pro mode, all 25 keys will be utilised, with the onscreen note stream shifting "left and right to cover the correct keys." The new guitar peripherals--which as yet don't have any price attached--will be similarly musically functional. The guitars will feature six strings for strumming, while the neck will apparently feature touch sensitive pads that will mimic the instrument's strings.
Harmony vocal parts--which made their debut in last year's The Beatles: Rock Band--will also be included in the new game, bringing the total number of rock-and-rollers to seven in any jam session. Other new additions detailed in the USA Today article include drop-in, drop-out play; the ability to change instruments or difficulty midsong; new animations; an enhanced story; and new ways to sort your Rock Band music collection. "We saw a kind of staleness in terms of gameplay innovation. Really, the main focus of Rock Band 3 development was finding new ways to experience the music and actually doubling down, if you will, on our investment in compelling gameplay," Harmonix project director Daniel Sussman said.
Finally, some of Rock Band 3's 83-song set list were revealed, which included some keyboard-heavy classics, such as Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" and '80s tune "The Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News. Other songs to be revealed include:
"Combat Baby" -- Metric
"Dead End Friends" -- Them Crooked Vultures
"Get Free" -- The Vines
"Lasso" -- Phoenix
"Me Enamora" -- Juanes
"Oh My God" -- Ida Maria
"Portions of Foxes" -- Rilo Kiley
"The Hardest Button to Button" -- The White Stripes
"Been Caught Stealing" -- Jane's Addiction
"In the Meantime" -- Spacehog
"Plush" -- Stone Temple Pilots
"Walkin' on the Sun" -- Smash Mouth
"Crazy Train" -- Ozzy Osbourne
"Here I Go Again" -- Whitesnake
"I Love Rock and Roll" -- Joan Jett
"Just Like Heaven" -- The Cure
"Rainbow in the Dark" -- Dio
"The Power of Love" -- Huey Lewis and the News
"Sister Christian" -- Night Ranger
"Bohemian Rhapsody" -- Queen
"Break On Through" -- The Doors
"Crosstown Traffic" -- Jimi Hendrix
For more on Rock Band 3, be sure to check out GameSpot's upcoming coverage of the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo.