Harmonix, EA, MTV to rock out in Rock Band[ps3] [xbox360]
Rhythm game developer Harmonix today announced the identity of its first new project since developing Guitar Hero II (PS2, X360) and becoming acquired by MTV. Entitled Rock Band and headed to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, the game takes the concept behind Guitar Hero and expands it out to reproduce not just lead, rhythm, and bass guitar as in Guitar Hero II but also drums and vocals through additional drum and microphone peripherals. Players will be able to rock out in virtual rock bands either locally or via online cooperative multiplayer.
Last month, Electronic Arts announced that it would publish Harmonix's next game, though at the time no details were revealed. Through its EA Partners program for third party developers, EA will act as exclusive distributor of the game throughout North America, Europe, and Australia.
"Harmonix was founded to create new ways for everyone to experience the pleasure and satisfaction that comes from playing music. Our work on Guitar Hero was an instrumental step toward that goal," said Harmonix co-founder and CEO Alex Rigopulos. "But Rock Band is Harmonix's most ambitious project to date, and it will take music gameplay to an entirely new level. MTV has given us the freedom and the resources to really swing for the fences and make the game we've always wanted to make."
Labels including EMI Music, Hollywood Records, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music Enterprises, and Rhino Entertainment will be contributing tracks to the game, and Harmonix notes that the game will feature "many of the master recordings" for the included music. In the Guitar Hero games, nearly all music was performed by cover artists, with rare exceptions such as The Toadies' "Possum Kingdom," Alice Cooper's "Billion Dollar Babies," and My Chemical Romance's "Dead!" No specific tracks or artists have been revealed for inclusion in Rock Band.
Shacknews contacted EA and Harmonix for clarification on how the potentially pricy package would be sold at retail. Harmonix had not yet responded to inquiries at time of writing; an EA representative stated that hardware configuration details have not yet been released.
Electronic Arts plans to ship Harmonix's Rock Band for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 this holiday season.
NiGHTS into Wii: Sega confirms Saturn sequel[wii]
After being heavily rumored for months, Sega today officially confirmed that Nights: Journey of Dreams, a sequel to the Saturn classic NiGHTS Into Dreams, is in development for Wii. Rumors began nearly a year ago when Japanese publication Famitsu reported that a sequel was in development by a new independent developer on behalf of Sega for the then-named Nintendo Revolution. That report was apparently only halfway correct, as the just-announced Nights: Journey of Dreams is in development by Sega's internal Japanese studios.
Players will reprise the role of the flying jester character NiGHTS and explore the dream world of Nightopia. As widely expected, the game will make use of the Wii Remote for its stunt-laden flying gameplay.
"We plan to deliver a gameplay experience never before seen on the Wii with NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams," said Sega of America marketing president Scott A. Steinberg. "The game takes full advantage of the unique Wii Remote controller enabling gamers to guide NiGHTS through spectacularly designed dream worlds intertwined with a story about hope and courage."
Sega plans to release NiGHTS: Journey of Dreams for Wii this fall.
New Gears of War gametype, update on the way[xbox360]
According to Epic VP Mark Rein, the company's Xbox 360 shooter Gears of War is due for a title update and a new multiplayer gametype in the near future. The exec gave a glimpse at the plans in a recent forum post. "Some folks who got to play it a few weeks ago said they think it is our best multiplayer gametype yet," said Rein about the new mode, entitled Annex.
Also in the works is an update that will contain various bug fixes as well as support for 1280x1024 resolution for gamers outputting from their Xbox 360s via VGA.
According to Rein, more information about the update will be released this week.
Armored Core 4 demo stomps all over XBLM[xbox360]
Sega sent word today that it has released a demo of the Xbox 360 version of FromSoftware's mech action game Armored Core 4 (PS3, X360) to Xbox Live Marketplace. The three-level demo is freely downloadable now.
Console Game Of The Evening [Submit Yours!]
Luigi's Mansion for the GameCube. "For a launch title it turned out to be a lot of fun, surprisingly. The cloth effects were also quite impressive for its time. Professor Gadd is a weirdo though." (submitted by Bantis)