Thursday, June 10, 2010

Two Worlds

I didn't mention the reveal for Guitar Hero 6: Warriors Of Rock because I thought it was, well, complete crap. There was a story mode that sounded like it was directly ripped off from Brutal Legend, a new guitar that's not new in any functional way, and it sounded like Activision had decided that the 12-14 year old demographic was their new wheelhouse.

What there wasn't really any mention of, though, was music. You know, music.

Don't take my word for it though. Here, watch the trailer. See? Complete crap.

Today, though, it looks like we have the reveal for Rock Band 3 (thanks Joseph Holley). And it's insane. A few excerpts:
We are adding a new instrument (a 25-key, fully functioning MIDI keyboard)...

I expected a keyboard, but a 25-key MIDI keyboard? Didn't see that coming.

Even better:
•Rock Band Pro. This new music learning mode lets players develop real-world music-playing fundamentals for keyboards, guitars and drums. More realistic music notations replace the standard color-coded notes during gameplay. For guitar, numbers flow down the screen along six guitar strings, telling you where to place your hands on the neck and when to strum.

Two new guitar controllers in the works have actual strings where you strum; one is a full-sized, fully functional six-string Squier Stratocaster from Fender. "It can tell where your fingers are based on technology in the neck and the bridge of the guitar. No buttons," Drake says. "While you're playing it, it feels exactly like playing a real guitar," because that's what you're doing.

The other is a Fender Mustang Pro controller from accessory maker Mad Catz with a field of buttons in each fret. As your fingers compress the smaller non-colored buttons on that guitar's neck, your finger positions are represented in the game's display. "You can go from plucking single notes to power chords and bar chords, we have crazy stuff like tapping and slides," Dubrofsky says. "If you ever had any aspirations of connecting with the music in a deeper way ... you are really going to like Rock Band 3."

For drums, three new cymbals are added to the standard four drum pads, and you are forced to play the correct cymbal at the right time. "It really immerses you more. You feel more like a drummer," Dubrofsky says. "It's not only for expert levels. You can come in on easy and actually play Pro drums. We have all the different levels established. It's actually really fun. You are playing up on the high hat or down on the snare, and it feels more like a kit than ever before."

On keyboards, Sussman says, "we're actually utilizing the full two-octave range that the keyboard controller has. Everything that you are playing, whether you are playing on easy or expert, is accurate musical information. The track looks like a real keyboard track, and you are playing notes on the keyboard that if you were to step away from the game and were to play on a real piano, they would be the right notes."

Pro players can use the mode for private practice or incorporate it while others play the game's standard arcade modes. "You can be an expert keys-player playing with an all easy band, no problem," Drake says.
Win win win win win. WIN.

What I wrote in October 2008: I think there are a lot of us who would be highly motivated to play a real guitar if the learning process could be more "game-like."  Check.

Cymbal notes for drums? Check.

Learn how to play real keyboards from what you're playing in the game? Check.

Damn it, I have to clear out more space in my study.

Oh, and one request, since Harmonix has a direct interface into my brain. Please support those of us who already have real electronic drum kits. Don't make us wait for a modder to build an interface box so that we can use our kits with the game.

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