Rock Band isn’t dead; it’s just gone to bed. Also, it’s not Activision’s fault it’s taking a nap, apparently.
In a new AMA on Reddit, Harmonix co-founder and CEO Alex Rigopulos addressed the question of what happened to the music games genre.
Popular theory holds that Activision’s frequent Guitar Hero releases caused genre fatigue, but Rigopulos disagreed – at least partially.
“I think there’s probably some truth to the notion that Activision ‘over-published’ Guitar Hero. But I wouldn’t agree that the decline of the genre was ‘entirely the fault of Activision’,” he said.
“Reality is always more complicated than this. For example, it didn’t help that GH and RB were the most expensive video games on the market during a brutal recession. I also don’t think that either GH or RB delivered enough (or the right kind of) evolution of the experience in the years that followed the initial releases – something we hope to address at some point in the next outing.”
What’s that you said, Rigopulos? The “next outing”? Are you saying Rock Band isn’t dead and buried?
“Of course I was sad when Rock Band passed its (first!) peak, but one way or another, it will be back,” the executive said.
“Music games need to evolve just like every aspect of pop culture. The band game boom was followed by a dance game boom, which will be followed by some other manifestation of music games -hopefully some of the new stuff Harmonix is working on.
“Music is a permanent aspect of the human experience, and so is gameplay. It’s Harmonix’s job to figure out new ways for music and gameplay to amplify each other’s emotional power. Stand by.”
Harmonix was the original developer of Guitar Hero before launching its own property, Rock Band. Prior to kicking off the plastic instruments craze, though, it helped popularise the rhythm action genre with Frequency and Amplitude – the latter of which is on its way back to PS3 and PS4, pending a successful Kickstarter.