Harmonix: Rock Band 4 Will "Set the Bar" for Music Games

Project lead Daniel Sussman also speaks out to praise Activision's decision to bring back Guitar Hero.

Sussman in the early Guitar Hero days
Sussman in the early Guitar Hero days

Rock Band 4 is aiming to "set the bar" for music games, Harmonix project manager Daniel Sussman says in a new blog post published today, the same day Activision formally announced a competitive product in Guitar Hero Live. He's not trying to disparage Guitar Hero, though.

Sussman explains that hearing conversations about people having to "choose sides" between Guitar Hero and Rock Band is a strange one for him especially, because he worked on first two Guitar Hero games at Harmonix before the studio created Rock Band.

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"When the conversation turns to how much better Rock Band is than Guitar Hero, I get really introspective and feel...weird. I loved working on the early Guitar Hero games," Sussman explained.

Activision deciding to bring back Guitar Hero at the same time that Harmonix is reviving Rock Band is proof that the world is ready for more guitar-centric music game experiences, he said.

"I love what we're doing with Rock Band 4 and think we're creating the best game we've ever made, a product that will set the bar for what a music game can and should be," he said. "However, that's not the (whole) point. I love that Activision is planning to release a new Guitar Hero game. It's a validation of our decision to bring Rock Band back now--it's a sign that people are ready for music games (and rock music) to reclaim their spot in our cultural fabric."

"I'd like nothing more than for music gaming to dominate the charts once again," Sussman added. "And I hope that the development team that Activision has working on the new Guitar Hero game is having as much fun as we are. Long live Rock and Roll!"

Sussman also spoke out to clear the air regarding why Rock Band was created in the first place. Claims that Rock Band was developed for the sole purpose of competing with Guitar Hero are "categorically false," he said. Instead, Sussman stressed that expanding the guitar game genre to a full band experience was necessary to push the market forward.

"We viewed Rock Band as an obvious and natural evolution from Guitar Hero," Sussman explained. "Moving from a guitar-only experience to a full band was 'the future.' In fact, it opened up so many great possibilities for musical interactivity--both in terms of people's relationships to the music and also (maybe more importantly) in terms of people's relationships with each other."

Sussman's full blog post is a great read for fans of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises.

Rock Band 4 and Guitar Hero Live are each slated to launch later this fall for home consoles, though specific release dates have not been announced. More details on both games are expected to be announced at E3 in June.

If you live in the New York City or Los Angeles area, however, you can play Guitar Hero Live during special demo events this coming Saturday, April 18.

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