Not many of us have the ability to shred a guitar like Slash, rock a bass rhythm like Tre Cool, or slam on the drums like Lars Ulrich. For us mere mortals, we play Rock Band. This video game has been around for years and was incredibly popular around the 2010s. However, the game has not been updated for some time, leaving many puzzled. Will Rock Band Ever Return?
Rock Band should return soon, although the exact date is not known. In 2022, Harmonix, Rockstar Games, and Spotify announced that Rock Band 5 is currently in the making and should be released soon. However, the exact release date is unknown. Rock Band 5 is also not confirmed for any gaming platforms.
In this article, we explore the game Rock Band, why they are discontinued, and will Rock Band 5 will ever return. We also look into the question if Rock Band 4 is still playable on the newest consoles after almost 8 years of being released.
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What Is Rock Band?
The Rock Band series is an electronic music game developed by Harmonix Music Systems. Rock Band is playable on Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo consoles. Players form a band and play different instruments based on the instructions on the screen. The players then combine their scores together for a total score.
Rock Band was developed by Harmonix Music Systems and was published and distributed by Electronic Arts. The game may be played on various PlayStations, Xboxes, and Nintendo Wiis. It is also available on a PC.
Rock Band is an electronic music game comparable to the video game Guitar Hero. However, rather than focusing solely on the guitar, the developers of Rock Band expanded the game. You may find a microphone, bass, and drums in addition to the guitar.
After seeing the popularity of Guitar Hero, the developers of Rock Band decided to incorporate additional features of band performance in order to make the game feel more realistic. It enables as many as four people to perform simultaneously, utilizing a microphone for singing and three additional devices to imitate the sound of a lead guitar, a bass guitar, and drums.
The game’s musical instrument controllers allow players to simulate playing popular songs by attempting to match the button and action inputs they provide with those displayed on the screen.
The level of accuracy demonstrated by each player is tallied and added to the total score. More than 50 essential songs are included in the game, and many more are available online. The interface of the game is not particularly complicated. Still, it boasts an extensive musical library that allows players to download and listen to a vast assortment of songs at their leisure.
Rock Band has won praise from critics while also gaining a large fan base. Since then, the franchise has grown to include Rock Band 2 in 2008, Rock Band 3 in 2010, and Rock Band 4 in 2014. There are also many expansion packs based on iconic genres such as classic rock, country, and also metal.
Why Is Rock Band So Special?
Rock Band is special because it allows players to play more than just a lead guitar. Players can play as a bassist, a vocalist, or a lead drummer. It also features many expansion packs that make the series playable after being around for a long time. These packs usually are based on artists or bands.
Play More That Just The Lead Guitar: Rock Band was released after Guitar Hero. This original electronic music game made the genre popular. What Rock Band did was that instead of only allowing the player to play with the lead guitar, Rock Band allowed the whole band to play.
Players can play as lead guitarists, bassists, a drummer, or a vocalist by purchasing the controls. This gives a much closer, genuine experience to playing in a band, which makes the game much more exciting. The band playing style works better in social settings than solo playing.
Expansion Packs: Rock Band is also known for releasing a large number of expansion sets, known as Track Packs. These track packs usually involve a mixture of music from popular and iconic bands. Some track packs also may be genre-based, such as country, metal, or classic rock.
These track packs allow the game to be refreshed and continue to be played long after its release. As new songs and tracks are added to the game, players get new challenges and keep playing the game.
Cultural Phenomenon: Rock Band was such a hit in the 2010s that it became a cultural phenomenon. Fans were seen queuing up overnight at video game stores to purchase any releases based on the game. The atmosphere could possibly rival those of earlier iPhone releases.
Rock Band also made itself into many cultural Americana shows, such as South Park and The Office. The founders of Harmonix, Alex Rigopoulus and Eran Egozy, were even named into Time Magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in 2008. The recognition was awarded because they created the Rock Band game.
Why Was Rock Band Discontinued?
Rock Band became discontinued for many reasons. However, the most glaring ones are because of market saturation, lack of innovation in the game, and a large number of players who have moved on to other games. These conditions made the games no longer profitable, and makers stopped updating them.
Oversaturation: The electronic music game genre exploded out of nowhere and caught many by surprise, including the creators and developers of Guitar Hero and Rock Band themselves. In fact, the success was so great that these games generated billions of dollars in revenue.
This caught the attention of many other developers, and soon everybody released their own version of electronic music games. On top of that, there are free versions of these games, such as Frets On Fire.
Eventually, the frenzy reached a stage where you may see releases of either new games, track packs, or expansion packs of new peripherals every few weeks. Many fans barely learn the game before a new one comes out. This eventually tires out the fans, and they simply stop keeping up.
Lack Of Innovation: Electronic music games have a simple playing style – perform the action as required by the music and the game. This simplicity helps pick up new fans quickly, as it is a challenge that can be manageable and learned quickly.
However, for seasoned players, things may become stale. No matter how the challenges go, you must press the frets, stroke the guitar, and occasionally pull on the wah bar.
Rock Band tries to innovate by bringing in some social and team-related playing. Still, things get boring after a while, as the challenges are not hard to complete. As a result, the genre picked up fans quickly, exploded, and died off quickly.
Players Have Moved On: Gaming also comes with trends. Some genres and series are evergreen, such as first-person shooter-type games or gaming series like the Madden NFL.
However, for electronic music games, it seems that the genre simply burned too bright, too fast, and is now left with little attraction for gamers. Gamers have moved on into other genres and more exciting titles.
Will Rock Band Ever Return?
Rock Band is slated for return. In 2022, Harmonix, Rockstar Games, and Spotify announced they were working on the next version of Rock Band. However, they never reveal the exact release date or on which platform they will be playable.
Harmonix, Rockstar Games, and Spotify announced over Twitter that they are working on the next version of Rock Band, The Rock Band 5.
However, little additional information was revealed. They did not inform us when the game was planned or the targeted release date. If you are wondering if the game will be available on which gaming platform, there is also no information.
This can be frustrating for impatient and anxious fans, but the good thing is at least you will be getting something new to refresh your electronic music gaming experience. Judging from the previous releases, you should be able to play the game on Playstation, Xbox, and Nintendo consoles.
Can You Still Play Rock Band 4 Today?
Rock Band 4 is still playable today, as Harmonix and Rockstar Games continue to release updates weekly. There is also the ‘Rivals’ gameplay mode, with challenges players can complete winning cosmetics for their game. You can still play over 2,800 songs in the game today across the most updated Playstations and Xboxes.
The good thing about the Rock Band 4 game is that despite being out for almost ten years, Harmonix and Rockstar Games have continued to support and provide regular updates. These updates are often released as frequently as on a weekly basis through your gaming platform of choice.
There is also an introduction to a gameplay mode called ‘Rivals.’ You can complete challenges and win cosmetics and skins for your game when you play it. This allows Rock Band to remain fresh and challenging enough to keep players to continue playing it.
These days, you can play Rock Band 4 on many versions of Playstations, including Playstation 5. You can also play Rock Band 4 on Xboxes, including the Xbox series X. You can also play over 2,800 songs from the full catalog across all difficulty levels. Hopefully, these extras should be able to keep you engaged in the game until Rock Band 5 comes out.