Amplitude is making a return to PS3 and PS4 via developer Harmonix. The studio has launched a Kickstarter campaign to make its rhythm-action project a reality, and there's plenty of new details, images and quotes from the team to help get them started.
”Frequency and Amplitude were born on PlayStation hardware and were specifically made for Sony, so bringing the game to PS3 and PS4 is a natural fit.”
Harmonix gave us the heads-up on this one last week, and kindly gave us early access to its Amplitude Kickstarter page.
The studio is looking for $775,000 to make the game, and you can secure a copy by paying into the $15 funding tier.
Amplitude is the studio's PS2 rhythm-action game that saw players guiding a ship along a track while blasting note gems. If that sounds familiar, it's because this is the same format that later spawned the studio's first Guitar Hero game.
It's funny to think back at how colossal the band-simulation trend was just a few years ago, and then comparing it to how vacant that scene is today. Harmonix always said it'd bring back the Rock Band franchise when the time was right, but in something of a twist, the team has taken the genre it popularised in the west full circle, right back to the beginning.
If you want to read up on how Harmonix came up with the Guitar Hero concept and made it a worldwide smash, check out my big interview with the team. It covers the series from start, right up to the day Rock Band took its leave of absence. If you're a fan you should give it a look-see.
In a series of emails to VG247, Harmonix explained that that Amplitude for PS3 and PS4 runs on a propitiatory engine that displays at 60 frames per second. The images above and below are concepts, rather than straight screen shots, but you can already get a feel for how a new take on the classic might look.
Harmonix confirmed that the Beat Blaster ship will return, and can be steered by players to shoot down notes as they cascade towards them, just like in the original Amplitude. The world itself will react to the studio's home-grown music as you progress, with a track list that's being created to offer a range of challenging stages. It's also available on vinyl for higher Kickstarter backers:
Speaking with VG247 over email, John Drake, Director of Communication and Brand Management at Harmonix told me, "We approached the team at Sony about our desire to bring Amplitude to the fans via Kickstarter and they’ve been nothing but supportive.
"Frequency and Amplitude were born on PlayStation hardware and were specifically made for Sony, so bringing the game to PS3 and PS4 is a natural fit. It’s early days, but we’re excited about the chance to make an experience for PS4 – it’s an awesome platform with great dev support."
He added that while licensed music isn't planned for Amplitude, it's not entirely off the table if it fits the game. The team is striving to create an original score in-house to make for tense gameplay, rather than wrap its mechanics around pre-existing tracks.
"Our core focus is to deliver amazing gameplay with music that’s built for fun – but if the fans get behind the Kickstarter and if we can find the right songs, we’d absolutely consider licensed music for the base game or for ongoing downloadable content," he explained.
"We want to make sure we make a game that anyone can learn and get into, but for it to be Amplitude it has to have the hallmark difficulty that lulls you into that trance-like state when the tracks get going. That and it has to feel tight."
It's not going to be rammed full of gameplay mechanics either, as Drake stressed that Harmonix wants this to be a pure Amplitude experience that captures the purity of the original. That said, the Kickstarter feedback could tip the studio's hand if the community makes a convincing-enough argument.
"Harmonix games are always at their best when we find a set of core mechanics and focus on perfecting them," Drake concluded. "It isn’t so much about throwing away other good ideas as it is identifying the best ideas early and refining them until their perfect.
"Depending on the scope of the project (which depends on the funding levels and the team size), we have some other crazy ideas that might creep in... but keeping it as 'a pure beatmatch experience' means we have a game we know we can deliver at the quality bar fans of Harmonix have come to expect."
He also teased that a PS Vita build could be on the cards if the Kickstarter is popular enough, and if it feels right.
We'll have more on Amplitude for PS3 and PS4 soon.