Harmonix is trying to shake up the slumping rhythm game market with Rock Band 3 this holiday season, adding keyboards and "Pro" modes that aim to teach gamers how to play real-life instruments. That means new peripherals, and another reason for fans of the franchise to dig for their wallets.
Mad Catz today gave burgeoning musicians a bit of a budgetary heads-up, detailing and pricing the initial line of official Rock Band 3 console peripherals. The only hardware bundle for this year's version of the rhythm game will include the wireless keyboard controller and the game for $130. The keyboard will also be available on its own for $80, and Mad Catz plans to have a separate (but still unpriced) keyboard stand on shelves at the game's launch.
For axmen looking to push their rhythm game skills to the next level, Mad Catz has the wireless Fender Mustang Pro-Guitar, which features 102 different buttons on the neck (one to replicate each of a guitar's six strings at 17 frets). The Mustang also features a touch-sensitive strumming area with real strings so players can pluck individual strings or cut notes short by pressing on them. Those features come with a price, as the guitar on its own will cost $150.
If that's not real enough, Fender is working on a Rock Band 3 Squier Stratocaster, a full-sized and fully functional electric guitar that will also double as a controller for the game's "Pro" mode. No price or release date for the Squier has been announced yet.
Back to Mad Catz's offerings, the peripheral maker will also be offering a Pro-Cymbals Expansion Kit and a MIDI Pro-Adapter for $40 each. The expansion kit includes three cymbals compatible with wireless Rock Band drums and features noise-dampening rubber for quieter play. The MIDI adapter plugs in using a USB port and allows players to use their existing MIDI keyboards and drum sets in the game.
Mad Catz will also be producing updated versions of the existing Rock Band guitar, drums, and microphone controllers, though it did not announce release timing or pricing on those items. For more on Rock Band 3, check out GameSpot's first hands-on impressions.