“Rock Band’s not dead,” says Harmonix’s Drake – details

Tuesday, 23 August 2011 12:26 GMT By Johnny Cullen

It really doesn’t get any clearer than that.

Harmonix comms boss John Drake has told VG247 that it still intends to support Rock Band as an ongoing thing, saying in simple terms the music franchise is “not dead.”

The Boston-based company released Rock Band 3 last October as part of its final hurrah with MTV Games before becoming an independent company again at the end of last year. While the game did critically well – it did score between 93 and 91 for the console versions – its sales weren’t all that great.

In its first week on sale in the UK, it sold only about 7,000 units, with studio boss Alex Rigupolos saying the launch of Dance Central “outperformed” the band game.

That said – despite Activision shutting down Guitar Hero and the rest of its music business, as well as ending DLC support for its music games earlier this year – Harmonix is not giving up that easily with Rock Band, although admitted sales of RB3 were disappointing.

“I think we spent a lot of time and had a lot of passion going into that project. The team was a big team and they worked really hard for a long time,” Drake told us in Cologne at gamescom last week whilst seeing Dance Central 2. “We thought that Rock Band Pro was one of the most innovative and huge things that a company has done with a videogame expansion in years.

“And the critical reception is what it is, I think people saw it was a really good game, it’s really well designed. The commercial reception wasn’t as good, we have to be honest about it: band simulation games had a huge boom from 2006-2009 and then it contracted pretty sharply.”

Drake admitted that it still has a strong community backing, however, with Rock Band 3. The company’s recently passed 100 million sales of DLC content from 3,000 songs available for the series’ multiple titles, and it still sees “hundreds of thousands of people playing online” in the game.

“We’re supporting our community, we’re not going away: Rock Band’s not dead,” said Drake. “We’re not making another retail release this year, but we’re probably the most aggressive company, I’d say, in videogames about supporting our community with digital content.

“I think we’re really proud of how the game turned out, there’s a lot to explore in the game and it’s still making money, it’s still a profitable day-over-day thing for us to have downloadable content sales.”

The company’s next game is Dance Central 2, which releases on October 21 in Europe. Here’s a video of two prats dancing to it.

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