Rock Band is ready for an encore. After chart-topping performances on the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, the Harmonix-developed rhythm is set to bow on Nintendo's Wii. Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello had already revealed the latest platform for the game in an investor conference call earlier this year, but today the publisher--along with MTV Games and Harmonix--announced the game's release date, June 22.
The Wii edition of Rock Band will launch in the US and Canada as a special edition bundle including the game, drums, microphone, and a wireless guitar peripheral. Although stand-alone instruments will be available on day one, there were no announced plans for an unbundled edition of the game.
Similarly up in the air was the game's downloadable content scheme. Gamers have downloaded more than 6 million add-on songs for the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of Rock Band, but Harmonix, MTV Games, and EA have shown a willingness to forgo that added revenue stream, as the PS2 edition doesn't support downloads. Regardless of whether Wii owners get to purchase new songs, the game will come with an extra five songs in its initial set list, pushing the number of tracks included in the bundle to 63.
Like downloadable songs, online play is a staple of the Xbox 360 and PS3 editions of Rock Band, but was left out of the PlayStation 2 version. As of press time, representatives with Electronic Arts, Harmonix, and MTV Games had not returned inquiries into the specific feature set of Rock Band for the Wii.
[UPDATE]: A Harmonix representative addressed a few questions about the Wii edition of Rock Band on the game's official forums. According to the post, "The feature-set is a lot closer to the PS2 version of Rock Band which was also developed by Pi Studios." That version did not support online play or downloadable content.
[UPDATE 2]: A Harmonix representative further detailed Wii Rock Band release plans for GameSpot, noting that a stand-alone version of the software will also arrive on June 22 and explaining the decision to pare down the game's feature set.
"The Wii version still contains the robust four-player band experience and all the fun at the core of other versions of Rock Band," the representative said. "However, because the Wiiï¿½s online capabilities and potential have yet to be fully realized, we wanted to wait before we explored online functionality for Rock Band to ensure that players get the high-quality of online performance theyï¿½ve come to expect."