Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos announced Rock Band and Dance central would be making a comeback at PAX East this week saying that the franchises, ‘are near and dear to our hearts and our minds, We have grand plans to bring back both of them with guns blazing at some point in the coming console cycle.”
This follows the mention last summer from Rigopulos that the Rock Band franchise will return "at the right point in time." With Neversoft shelving the Guitar hero games in 2011 there’s a big empty space for Harmonix to move into with Rock Band.
Whether the games will see floods of fans moving over to 8th gen will depend on how peripherals and song content get handled. Dance Central could well benefit from new motion peripherals particularly the improved Kinect 2.0. For Rock Band fans with cupboards already brimming with music controllers the prospect of splashing out on new instruments could be a turn off. It’s noteworthy that since Rocksmith the tech has been around to let you plug in real guitars and basses. Rock Band 3 also let you hook up MIDI keyboards and drum kits so the possibility for a full band to play with existing kit is there. Although this could make the game the reserve of musos.
The bigger bugbear with both games will be whether players will be able to bring their song content over. Previous iterations in the franchises would you let move DLC and on-disc songs across game versions and gamers have amassed extensive collections, often at great cost. Persuading fans to ditch their songs and start again will be hard work, as will obtaining new licences for the current song back-catalogue.
Of course these are early days yet and it will no doubt be some time before we see these games take shape. After witnessing what appeared to be the rise and fall of Rock Band it’s interesting to see just how well a new version is going to fare.