Monday, June 30, 2008

The Who Info And Rock Band 2 Announcement

Lots and lots of Rock Band news today, so let's start with that impacts us soonest. From Yahoo News:
MTV Games and Harmonix are releasing 12 "Rock Band" songs on July 15 from The Who — ranging from "My Generation" to "Who Are You" — that all utilize the band's master recordings. The tracks will be available for $1.99 individually or $19.99 together. The special release coincides with the upcoming "VH1 Rock Honors" ceremony commemorating The Who.
"Their music really comes alive when you're playing it," said Rigopulos. "We were trying to release 'Who's Next' in its entirety, but we were unable to locate all the masters. So in the face of that, Pete (Townshend) and Roger (Daltrey) helped curate this best-of soundtrack of everything we were able to find."

Pete Townshend confirmed a month ago or so that one side of masters for Who's Next had been stolen from the vault. That's a blow, because every song on "Who's Next" is worth playing, but a greatest hits pack (depending on the songs, since only two of the twelve were announced today) could be just as good or better.

$19.99? Well, it's The Who. I have no complaints paying $20 for twelve songs.

Rock Band 2 was also officially announced, but much of what was given in the way of information was mostly in teaser form. Lead designer Dan Teasdale had an interview with IGN, and here are a few data points:
--DLC from Rock Band will be immediately usable in Rock Band 2. DLC will be "fully functional cross-title."
--there will be "amazing new ways for you to experience your music library that have never been seen in a music game before." Like I said, plenty of this is a tease, but I trust these guys because of their track record.
--World Tour Online was not absolutely confirmed, but Teasdale certainly hinted strongly to that effect.
--no tools to enable user-created content this time, although it sounds like they're on the radar, at least.
--in terms of instruments, here's the teaser: "...we've been able to take all of the feedback we've received to make quieter, more realistic, and more reliable instruments. We've also added some features for players to customize the experience that they want to have..."
I assume that "quieter" refers specifically to the drums, obviously, and it will be interesting to see what changes they've made, because the Guitar Hero World Tour drumkit looks impressive.
--here's one more teaser about instruments: "We're also actively welcoming new peripheral makers to make instruments for our game." Seriously, if real electronic drumkits haven't added an option for Rock Band compatibility by this fall, it's an absolute waste.
--the random setlist feature in career mode is being modified so that you don't have to play "Green Grass and High Tides" (as an example) if you don't want to.
--in terms of singing and playing an instrument, Teadale said "One of our new ways of experiencing your music library has something targeted explicitly towards players that want to sing and play guitar."
--here's a very, very interesting quote: "We have several new modes that not only provide new ways for you to experience your music library, but also new ways for you to transition from Expert to real instruments."
That wasn't focused on in the interview, but that's the tipoff on a feature that could potentially be huge. To me, that's the single most important piece of information that's come out today.

I'm also fully expecting an announcement at E3 that either Led Zeppelin (or, incredibly, the Beatles) will be in Rock Band 2.

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