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Harmonix spills the beans on what happened to Rock Band Japan

Tuesday, 20th September 2011 05:33 GMT By Jessica Citizen

Harmonix once promised that it would bring the Rock Band franchise to the squealing fans of Japan. That was in 2008, and since then, both Harmonix and co-developer Q Entertainment haven’t really done much else about it. Now, Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos has spoken about what happened, explaining – among other things – that “there were a couple of significant challenges”.

If you guessed it’d take a bit of effort tying to ship hundreds of thousands of plastic guitars into the island nation, you’d be right – Rigopulous admits that was part of the problem, but instead laments in a group interview about the troubles the company faced trying to licence Japanese music for the game.

The other, somewhat significant problem faced by the franchise: Japanese houses are tiny. And quiet. Neither of these things work well with rhythm games like Rock Band.

“Even for people who have the space, Japanese families tend to not make a lot of noise in their homes,” Rigopulos observes. “They generally have a quieter lifestyle at home ’cause they’re living in closer quarters, and also Japanese families don’t entertain in their homes as much.”

When asked if the company had considered returning the game to its arcade roots, Rigopulos agreed that they had – but they’d faced the opposite problem, “Arcades are very, very noisy!” Apparently all of the dropping coins, shrieking gamers and the games themselves “kind of impairs the musicality of the experience.”

None of this, according to Joystiq means that the game has been given up on completely – but I personally wouldn’t be holding my breath.

(Image: Japanese visual kei rock/metal band the GazettE.)

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