'Real' keyboard, guitars debut in Rock Band 3

Ivories, harmonies expand group size to seven in latest entry in rhythm game franchise; "Pro" mode to work with keyboard and new guitar peripheral to teach gamers how to play real instruments.

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.

This is happening for real.

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.

Written By

Randolph is the managing editor of GameSpot, and needs more time to play games.

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Discussion

341 comments
hyruler461
hyruler461

Man Zeppelin would be awesome, if only they would give up their rights (even getting some of their songs into movies is a hard thing to do I heard.)

Shattermage
Shattermage

I can probably guarantee there's gonna be some Freezepop in there at some point. Haha!

Cleave83
Cleave83

Led zeppelin or pink floyd yes!! also the doors

Pajamasammi
Pajamasammi

Ohhh how I want to see some Led zeppelin or pink floyd in Rock band =(

Seankieran
Seankieran

Ok keyboard added now...PUT LOCOMOTIVE BREATH IN THE GAME!

Toysoldier34
Toysoldier34

Meh... I've kinda been done with music games since 2008.

DrEvilKoala
DrEvilKoala

And just how much is all this going to cost...?

koque777
koque777

MAN!!! When is Rockband gonna include some hardcore...August Burns Red, The Devil Wears Prada, IWrestledABearOnce, Haste The Day...some of the best rock out there full of so much sick guitarists, and drummers...wth! = /

SanjuroGT
SanjuroGT

this is going to be the best rock band ever actually learning the real instruments in action. yay congrats to the evolution of music games

solidine
solidine

Learning to play real instruments is pretty awesome, if it works.

orestes1981
orestes1981

@riosteven Well, you be able to import the tracks from Rockband 1, 2, Green Day, plus all of the DLC; so, there should be no lack of tracks for you.

riosteven
riosteven

uh not gonna lie so far im only seeing 3 songs on this i like if i dont see anymore than at least 30 i like im not getting this, guitar hero wins this round tho keyboard is a good idea the setlist fails

TheDrunkenLord
TheDrunkenLord

the keyboard controller is just one of those things that I'll never ever understand why anyone would ever buy it... but clearly people will

brian_13un
brian_13un

I Think the price of those Instruments will be Ultra Expensive

GrowlanserDX
GrowlanserDX

it definitely looks interesting..but how much is it going to cost for my interest?

lextexrex
lextexrex

If they are going to include a "Pro Mode," I hope somewhere in the game they teach proper playing technique so that we don't end up with a bunch of kids with sore wrists.

Tylendal
Tylendal

Because a 25 key keyboard is totally a real instrument. :roll: Well, they're at it, lets add a one stringed guitar, a poorly tightened drum, and a trumpet mouthpiece.

UbberHappyGamer
UbberHappyGamer

In the end, it's much better to play real instruments in real life.

pinoyboi
pinoyboi

so does the pro guitar have strings or just more buttons?

giddyupgroudon
giddyupgroudon

has rock band already decided to die? i don't think many people will like the idea of a 'real' guitar or a 25-key keyboard. i sure don't.

keyblade42
keyblade42

They finally put Bohemian Rhapsody in. Jeez. But I won't buy this just for the one song. Especially with how expensive this is going to be.

missonrs
missonrs

@rav44 the keyboard is $50 and the 102 button guitar is $150

foxhound_fox
foxhound_fox

*sigh* The Bemani games introduced the idea of playing along to music to the masses in Japan. The West then gets a hold of it and turns it into a massive fad and thinks that playing a game will help people learn how to play "real" instruments... you want to know what? I think people should be more willing to put money into real instruments and real music lessons if they want to learn how to play REAL instruments, and not a game with plastic peripherals that require software to make music for them. Hell, a real guitar and keyboard would probably cost much less than what this is going to cost, not even including the cost of a 360/PS3/Wii.

rav44
rav44

wonder how much it will cost this time, eh?

zatetzu
zatetzu

@Jag-T1000 Not only that, those kind of songs shouldn't be included in this game that dares to put "ROCK" on its name... a real shame indeed... i only liked like 2 or 3 songs from the list...

hoseph1337
hoseph1337

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY! I would now buy this game even if it had no other songs.

Jag-T1000
Jag-T1000

@zatetzu They are running out of songs, they are starting to put spanish songs.

zatetzu
zatetzu

JUANES... lol! i really hope that is the only song of... that included and you can turn it off... really... JUANES!

Geek12
Geek12

I'll just stick to my real Guitar and Bass.

ebookerd1
ebookerd1

If I can use it to teach my daughter how to play the piano a bit I am in! (The price will be like a gazzillion for a 15 dollar barbie Keyboard.... :( ....)

Absolutezerr
Absolutezerr

But will the guitar be functional as an instrument when plugged into an amp, or even a computer? seems like it should be, given how complicated they must have to be already. That would be a cool thing to have, like it functions as a guitar but can be given different voices like a keyboard.

bschroth
bschroth

I feel like a jerk saying it, but I really don't care about the Rock Band games anymore. They're seen their time in the spotlight, and they don't really change all that much. Only fun when completely wasted and hanging with friends. Even then, I still only play Rock Band every 6 months or so.

Timstuff
Timstuff

@Alizerothree: When hasn't GH been playing catch up with Rock Band? lol.

drokmore
drokmore

25 keys, geesh that hardly 2 octaves worth of keys, nothing compared to a piano. But I like the thinking. If this could actually teach you to play a Real guitar/piano instrument I think they really bridge into a fantastic realm.

MattyVonP
MattyVonP

give me a real bass controller and I'm in.

themovi3nut
themovi3nut

Some nice songs there, I expected a piano periphiral to come eventually and I hope Guitar Hero 6 includeds turntable support.

BubbaEgge
BubbaEgge

When are they going to throw in the COWBELL!!

pokefan_10
pokefan_10

Maybe RB is giving GH a taste of their own medicine 'cause before RB2 announced its setlist first before GHWT & 10% of each game's setlist have the same songs.

thedude78
thedude78

Why do all the Rock Band/Guitar Hero games have a habit of taking the worst songs from great bands and putting them on their track listings? Jesus. Lassos by Phoenix? Really? Portions of Foxes by Rilo Kiley? Really? ....Wow.

zevy100
zevy100

with this new keyboard maybe they will have MUSE!!!!!!

k0r3aN_pR1d3
k0r3aN_pR1d3

kingfire11 Nobody said that Rock Band 3 is suddenly going to make musically talented people. I would know, I have been learning, playing, and composing for piano for over 15 years now and I am still refining my playing style. It is just a way for people to get a basic grasp of music, sorta like joining your elementary school band, trying out new instruments. It wouldn't be fair denying people the chance to play music.

UFO2012
UFO2012

"We saw a kind of staleness in terms of gameplay innovation." No you're kidding me, really?

k0r3aN_pR1d3
k0r3aN_pR1d3

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

theslimdavylp
theslimdavylp

I don't know how many more instruments I can fit in my living room lol