Harmonix Returns To Its Roots With Fuser, A Music Rhythm DJ Game

Coming to PC, PS4, Xbox One, and Switch this Fall.


Over the years, Harmonix has become one of the premier rhythm game developers with its focus on experimenting with ways players can connect with music. Often times, this has been through the use of sophisticated peripherals and other unusual concepts, but with the upcoming Fuser, we see the developer return to their roots with a more approachable take on rhythm-action, focusing on honing your ability to read the crowd, and mastering your selection of songs.

Releasing Fall 2020 for PC, PS4, Xbox One, and the Nintendo Switch, Fuser is a music rhythm-action game focusing on the career and challenges of being a DJ. Instead of using a fancy controller resembling an instrument, you'll stick with your controller or keyboard and mouse as you perform in front of massive crowds at a music festival. We had the chance to go hands-on with the game, and it felt like a different flavor compared to more traditional music rhythm games.

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Now Playing: Fuser - Official Announcement Trailer

While it follows the same flow of games like Rock Band or Guitar Hero, it also injects some puzzles elements where you'll need to figure out which piece meshes well with your current tracks. During our hands-on, we spoke with Harmonix product manager Daniel Sussman about the evolution of the game.

"We've been working on this for a long time, and this game has been the result of a long road," said Sussman. "A lot of the games we've made have been 'beat-match' games, very directed, and [Fuser] is all about player expressivity and agency. We feel the world is ready for a new kind of music game."

Looking back on the history of Harmonix, Fuser wears its influences from the developer's past games on its sleeve. In addition to its musical style and the eclectic line-up of songs, it even has some influences from the developer's efforts on DropMix--their table-top music game which focuses on creating mixes with cards. It was a bit daunting to lean Fuser's mechanics at first, but I found myself getting into the game's flow.

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On your DJ's table, you have different slots focusing on various musical arrangements like vocals, tempo, and beat. For instance, when you place Old Town Road on the vocals slot, Lil Nas X's lyrics will kick in and splice with the other tracks placed on the table. While you can freely put your songs on the table, it's in your best interest to time it with the set's beat to keep the flow and maximize your score. Throughout your set, you'll get requests from the crowd to add in music from specific genres or from a particular era, which will keep you on your toes. Sticking with one mix for too long will cause crowd interest to drop, and if it falls too low, your DJ's set is considered a wash.

To stay in the game, you'll need to keep the audience's energy alive as you create mixes on the fly from a pool of over 100 different songs. Some of these tracks include the following:

  • 50 Cent - In Da Club
  • Smash Mouth - All-Star
  • Lil Nas X - Old Town Road
  • Blue Oyster Cult - (Don't Fear) The Reaper
  • Post-Malone - Better Now
  • Warren G and Nate Dog - Regulate
  • Lady Gaga - Born This Way
  • Lizzo - Good as Hell
  • Billie Ellish - bad guy
  • The Clash - Rock The Casbah

In addition to the single-player campaign, there's also an online multiplayer where you can face off or team-up with other players in DJ competitions. One of the game's most exciting online mechanics is the ability to share custom mixes online. Not only can these mixes be shared on the game's online network, but you can work in mixes from other players into your set.

As of this time, there's no set date for when Fuser will see a release this fall, but we'll be seeing more of the game in the coming months. The game will also drop on the Nintendo Switch, letting you take the game on the go. During PAX East 2020, Harmonix will be showing off even more of Fuser on the show floor, which will give long-time fans of the developer a first look at the game in-action.

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