Rock Band plays nice with Fender

Upcoming Harmonix rhythm game to feature controller modeled after iconic Stratocaster, support for Guitar Hero peripherals.

The real Stratocaster: too pretty for one preview thumb to contain.

From Merle Haggard to Buddy Guy to Yngwie Malmsteen, the list of guitar players whose instrument of choice is a Fender Stratocaster spans eras as well as genres. Considering MTV Games, Harmonix, and marketing partner Electronic Arts are promising that their upcoming music game Rock Band will boast a diverse set list scouring all corners of the rock globe, it's fitting that gamers should explore that lineup with mock Stratocasters in their hands.

Harmonix has confirmed to GameSpot that it has signed an exclusive deal with Fender Musical Instruments to feature its guitars exclusively in Rock Band, as well as to base the upcoming guitar peripheral for the game upon the company's most famous model, the Stratocaster.

"Our approach to the design of the Rock Band peripherals has been driven by a desire to give players as authentic a musical experience as possible," Harmonix president and cofounder Alex Rigopulos told GameSpot. "The Stratocaster is arguably the most recognizable and iconic model of guitar in all of rock and roll, so it seemed like the natural choice. It's also just a gorgeous instrument. Additionally, the folks at Fender immediately understood what we're trying to accomplish with this game and were enthusiastic about partnering with us in the service of that vision."

Harmonix also said the game will feature the Roland Corporation and Boss brands, known for their synthesizers and guitar-effects pedals. However, Rigopulos would not say whether those companies would have their names grace Rock Band peripherals, or if the licensing deals were exclusive.

Rigopulos was a little more forthcoming about some other questions gamers have had regarding Rock Band. First and foremost, he confirmed one piece of news previously hinted at by administrators on the Rock Band forums.

"The team at Harmonix feels that interoperability between various music games and peripherals is in the best interest of the gamers, so yes, we do intend to support the existing Guitar Hero guitar controllers, as well as other third-party guitar controllers, to the greatest degree possible in Rock Band," Rigopulos said. "Having said that, there will be some cool new features of the official Rock Band Fender Stratocaster Controller that aren't present in the existing Guitar Hero controllers."

As for whether official Rock Band controllers will work with Guitar Hero games, Rigopulos was less certain.

"We hope so, because as I said before, we think this kind of interoperability is what gamers really want," he said. "We're designing the Rock Band controller to conform to each console's open standards, so from a technical standpoint, it should work fine with Guitar Hero or other music games that may appear. However, this is ultimately a question that only Activision can answer, because it's entirely up to them which hardware they choose to support. Certainly, if Activision wishes to support the Rock Band guitar controller in Guitar Hero, we'd be happy to work with them to make it easy for them to do so."

Finally, Rigopulos gave some vague answers about other aspects of the game, reassuring solitary gamers who might have been put off by the initial Rock Band announcement's focus on multiplayer gaming. According to the Harmonix head, Rock Band will feature a "deep, complete solo experience" for the different instruments.

And for those wondering how the developers would tackle the issue of online lag impacting a game that demands precise timing, Rigopulos said it's a problem "for which we have a unique solution...and it's a heck of a lot of fun in action."

Rock Band is set for release on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this holiday season.

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Discussion

307 comments
joeschmoe921
joeschmoe921

ok in my opinion...fender is an overrated guitar brand....i find the coils, strings and wiring you get for a 200 dollar guitar is more like that of a 150 dollar epiphone or gibson...pretty crappy in my opinion

fob68
fob68

ya uh fender sucks guy under me gibson is way better quality

Uber_Antwerp
Uber_Antwerp

Hey, that's my guitar! Fender is much better than Gibson.

Brad2theBone237
Brad2theBone237

I'm really excited about this game, but still kind of worried about how much all these peripherals are going to cost...

Brad2theBone237
Brad2theBone237

Hey natzat02, you're in luck! Guitar Hero III is going to use a Gibson Les Paul model.

newwaytodie
newwaytodie

I'm more interested to see what the drum periphal is going to look like. Perhaps a remix of the taiko drum... :D

KnottAnneEmo
KnottAnneEmo

all i want is for the basic controller to be wireless, is that too much to ask? i know real guitars have leads, but they also have weight and i find them easier to handle, gimmie a wireless guitar to stop all the wiring mayhem!

Jonny_13
Jonny_13

one question WHY NOT BOTH, put the crap behind you and give US what WE want, which is both.

CT-Link
CT-Link

Hmm...maybe they should've made deals with Fender AND Gibson...now that would've been awesome.

Chadni
Chadni

Come on. You're arguing the design aesthetics of a "mock" guitar. Fender, Gibson, Ibanez... all good guitars. Mock guitars will always be toys. Wouldn't it be great if Guitar Hero X used a *real* guitar and all we needed to hook up was a 1/4" plug adapter? Add Line6 to the Harmonix/MTV/EA team and we've got not only the coolest game of all time but the videogame world would get some respect for creating millions of new guitarists. Our schools no longer have decent music programs... but our games do!

StaticSnake
StaticSnake

I'm real disappointed. I'm not a fan of Strats at all, especially the design. Since my brother's first guitar was a Strat, back when he was like,13, I always think of Strats as "kids'" guitars, as though you could find them in Toys R Us, while a serious adult would play something like a Gibson or an Ibanez, even Rickenbacker. And yes, I know Eric Clapton's most famous guitar, Blackie, is a Strat, every time I see footage of him playing it, I think "what's he doing with that toy guitar?"

Brucisidro92288
Brucisidro92288

I'm an Ibanez fan myself, but I guess this'll have to do. Not bad either way.

natzat02
natzat02

cool I actually own and play a Fender Stratocaster :D tho I always liked the Gibson Les Paul a little more I wished they used that instead of the ugly xplorer in GH2

RainbowUnicorn
RainbowUnicorn

Fender? Sounds Hot. But This Game Sounds As If Theres Too Much Work. And Vocals? Nah. Drum Set? Cool If You Play Drums, But Even Then It Would Be To Hard To Play It. For 3 Different Instruments, It REALLY Sounds Like Its Not Co-op On One TV. For Sure.

billybob7897
billybob7897

Happy to hear Guitar Hero controllers work. That'll save me some money. How much is this game going to cost anyway? It sounds like a lot of hardware.

FrankieLA
FrankieLA

I think Marty McFly rocked a stratocaster in Back to the Future.

grey-flood
grey-flood

if you need some black metal band talk with me :P

play_old_games
play_old_games

gamst3r... you do realise that this is just going to be a game where you play along with existing tracks, right? It's karaoke with fake instruments at best, and certainly won't be a subsititute for real musicians making real music. And to stay on topic - Fender Strat? Sweet :)

kungfuashe
kungfuashe

i have seen alot of people that are musicians dissing the guitar hero games and this one as well. they all say i would rather just play the instument. well i have been playing drums for nearly ten years and guitar for almost two and i live to play music. having said that i gotta say these games are very fun. granted if you play guitar then guitar hero seems a little difficuly at first because the strumming is not done the same as if you were really playing (the timing is different) but you can fix this easily by going ahead and playing on expert where you do actually feel like playing the song. anyway my point is this these games help build up so many fundamentsl of music, timing, song composition, dexterity, finger strength, and to a somewhat lesser extent chord formation and progress. anybody who plays guitar should pick these games up because they are in a way supplemental practice for the real thing. i know it may sound like b.s. but quite a few of rockin' buddies agree with me on this. so get off your high horse fellow musicians and drop your elitist mentLITY grab a copy og ghII and have a blast and polish up some of your fundamentals as well...also i am dying to know about the drum periperal for this game

gamst3r
gamst3r

this makes me sick now like everyones gonna be in a band and like someday probably talented bands wont matter because everyone can do stuff electronicaly it makes me sick and y fender i dont like em at all just make a guitar hero three plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz! their started to piss me off

Poltergeist13
Poltergeist13

No thanks, I'll take Gibson over Fender any day.

saugh
saugh

Good show I say.

Neolucifer999
Neolucifer999

those are video games periphs .... do you really believe that you really get either the fender or the gibson true experience ?Just be glad any of both would associate themselves with "just a game" .

racerx737
racerx737

With this game, if it was good, wouldn't Guitar Hero kindof become obsolete? I mean this game has something for almost anyone in a rock band, the only thing I can think of to draw people back to another Guitar Hero game after this is released is better songs, who knows we'll see.

serafin_x
serafin_x

Why does stuff like this always end up a Mac VS. PC or Chevy VS. Ford VS. Dodge argument? Why are they using Fender? Because GH will have Gibson. Fender and Gibson are the most recognized in the guitar industry by everyday people.

skulleton1
skulleton1

Well, I'm glad they're using Fender! Ive got a a strat, and a really nice Deluxe Tele.... but anyways ** DOES THE BRAND ACTUALLY MATTER? Its just a model, and the rest is electronic so it really doesn't. I also think EA is overcomplicating this, I mean really, every instrument? You may as well play in a band, its alot more fun if your using everything.

Guitargamer1
Guitargamer1

OMG! This is what I wanted when guitar hero was announced. I love Fender Instruments and playing on a srat will be just plain awesome! I also like that Boss will be in there. Boy am I gonna spend alot of money this holiday lol If your a big metal head than no Fender Amps might not be what you want. But We have a delux reverb that sounds really good and the Fender Bassman is a truly wonderful amp. Listen to songs like already gone from the eagles, bassman's turned all the way up lol Fender Strats are really nice and their mexican ones are also nice. A lot of people are turned off by the name fender cuz its not associated with metal. Well there are some heavy strat players I think like Mick Mars from Motley Crue and Tom Morello use srats. Plus great guitar players like clapton, SRV, Ritchie Blackmore, Mark Knopler, Jimi Hendrix, Malmsteen and Alex Lifeson to name a few.

wraith808
wraith808

@Teh_Jakester Now if we're talking about preference, then yeah... whatever feels good to you. I just picked up that VXT, and that's the sweetest guitar I've ever played. Overpriced at normal retail, but if you can talk them down to 2/3 the price, it's definitely worth that.

efrench9
efrench9

Looking forward to this next effort. Imma be a STAR baby!

GrimBee
GrimBee

Marketing partner EA?!?!!?? NOOOO!!!! This means The awful burnout 3 soundtrack will be on it :( And if MTV is anything to go by, you can say hello to lost prophets on here too :( Bye bye megadeth, hello "rooftops". :(

handag
handag

Nothing can beat my Norwegian Custom ^^, btw fender stratocaster has nice tune in it....

tig1979
tig1979

JimmeyBurrows EEEEEEeeeeeewww!!!! FENDER BITE!!! Yamaha all the way!!! good reliable Japanese make! Along with Ibanez!!! YEAH! I'm sorry but I just think that Fender are stupidly overpriced and Overrated and the reasonable priced Strats sound NAFF!!! Yep i agree, i dropped mine and bought a Cort Katana, brilliant guitar wouldn't look back!

PantsOfFury
PantsOfFury

So bassists get screwed by a controller that doesn't give even a remote feel of a bass. Gimmie somethin' I can fingerpick, slap, pop, or touchstyle people!

NinjaWallace
NinjaWallace

I'm more interested in the drum peripherals.

charule530
charule530

anybody else have the feeling that EA will kill this series much like oh uhh Need For Speed, Battlefield, etc etc?

SonicTheMonkey
SonicTheMonkey

What about Wii? It seems like the perfect match...

cherrybomb257
cherrybomb257

Fender hasn't ment a thing since it was sold to CBS in the 1960s. All about G&L now.

lg1300
lg1300

As your resident REAL guitar gear head, I would like to point out that Fender owns many other guitar companies including jackson. I'm guessing that the heated debate is over what guitars you'll be seeing in game, as the controller itself doesn't really matter so long as it has the 5 buttons, and plastic switch for a pick and a whammy bar. So yes, if fender is in on the deal, I don't see why they wouldn't capitalize on selling their other brands, in particular, Jackson. Whereas with Gibson there was no chance of seeing a jackson in game, with Fender holding the endorsement, it's certainly possible (but also completely open for speculation).

jonesy250f_101
jonesy250f_101

I hope they keep em, just because alot of people suck doesn't mean everyone will, and even if you do have a bad voice it would still be alot of fun.

Caboose7293
Caboose7293

I really hope they scrap the vocals part, cuz my guess is that most people will totally suck at vocals...

luzer26
luzer26

they should have used gibsons like in guitar hero and made the controler a mock les paul, the best guitar ever

BigDaveyDogz
BigDaveyDogz

can't wait to see how this turns out! my life as a wanna be rock star may come to fruition!!

HyperMetaDragon
HyperMetaDragon

Lol @ "The real Stratocaster: too pretty for one preview thumb to contain."

JoshXXXXX
JoshXXXXX

@Teh_Jakester I agree, Jackson RRs do indeed kick ass. I ordered one about a month ago that should be coming in July. They should definitely Kelly, King V, and Soloist in there too. @anybody about Fenders amps I can't say I like them much, but just get some decent effects and they'll sound pretty good.

Nintendo_Ownes7
Nintendo_Ownes7

@Teh_Jakester The reason they couldn't use Gibson in Rockband is because Guitar Hero already has Gibson, also The Wii version of Guitar Hero 3 is rumoured to have a Flying V guitar, So Rockband uses Fender and Guitar Hero uses Gibson.

thegame696911
thegame696911

"for which we have a unique solution" i just thought of a way they might go about doing online play....... and its not good. What if u play your instrument by yourself, with all the other instruments being played perfectly by the computer. Then after you're done, they take all the other parts that actual people did (drums, bass, singing) and add them all together. You then get to watch a concert of you're performance..... there would be no lag, but seems like a cheap online experience. I'm writing this, cause i just don't see how they will completely overcome any lag whatsoever.

Xbox360Vett139
Xbox360Vett139

i dont really care bout what the guitar looks like....i juust want some more info on the game. holiday season is half a year away and they dont have much info released. i want to see how the vocals work. the pirce range. if the prices are differenmt if u buy a drum kit or guitar kit, or vocals kit. i cant wait to learn more bout this game!!!:)