Rock Band 4 officially sets a 2015 tour on Xbox One and PlayStation 4

Harmonix is getting the band back together. For those about to rock, we salute you! Rock Band 4 is officially happening.

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The signs were definitely there. DLC for Rock Band 3 was suddenly being released for the first time after over a year of inactivity, with the most recent batch of songs centered curiously around a theme of returns. Today, Harmonix is finally putting the rumors to rest. Rock Band 4 is a reality and it is coming to Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

While music gaming aficionados are undoubtedly excited by this news, there are definitely questions about this newest iteration of the series. That's why Shacknews went to this year's Game Developers Conference to get some of those answers from project manager Daniel Sussman.

First and foremost, those that invested heavily in Rock Band's DLC library can rest a little easier. Harmonix is seeking to allow users to bring their DLC along with them, with Sussman noting that negotiations with Microsoft and Sony on making this happen are going well. Sussman also notes that a regular DLC schedule is on the horizon once more, with new songs set to release on a regular basis once RB4 gets up and running. Some licenses for previous tracks have lapsed since the DLC train initially stopped back in April 2013, but Harmonix will work to get those licenses back in the future.

"DLC is a critical component of the Rock Band platform," Sussman added. "There's a lot of work going into rebuilding the catalog on PS4 and Xbox One, but at the same time, we're engaged with Microsoft and Sony to honor players' entitlements. If they bought DLC on the last-gen, we don't want them to have to rebuy that song this time around. And things are going well."

"What about Rock Band Network?" some may ask. Sussman stated that Rock Band Network is potentially on the table, but its revival will ultimately depend on the player base. If there's enough demand, Harmonix will work to bring it back for a new generation, implementing it to work with Rock Band 4's all-new engine.

The next burning question revolves around instruments. With many players still diligently hanging on to their legacy hardware, will it be compatible with Rock Band 4? That idea is still up in the air, according to Sussman. Sussman stated that Harmonix will do everything in their power to ensure that legacy instruments are compatible with the next-gen consoles, but making it happen is not that simple. The decision for this ultimately lies with Microsoft and Sony, both of whom have resisted previous efforts to make hardware backwards compatible. Fighting game fans recognize this all too well, having had to reinvest in arcade sticks, despite backwards compatibility having already been shown to be possible. Still, Harmonix is confident that an agreement will be reached and previous Rock Band owners will be able to bring their old instruments along for the next tour, whether it's wireless RB instruments or the classic Red Octane instruments from the old Guitar Hero days. As for new instruments, Sussman notes that Mad Catz will be on Rock Band 4 detail and will have hardware ready to go in time for the game's release.

"The instruments are a critical part of the experience," Sussman explained. "There's something about the simulation that's made more impactful by having a replica Strat that you're playing with that feels like a quality instrument. And in the same way that we feel like it's our obligation to respect our community's investment in the DLC, we feel the same way about the hardware. It's a very different conversation with the first parties than it is on the DLC side, where we can go a lot of the heavy lifting with our development staff. On the hardware legacy support, there's a lot more policy and tech that we need to work through with Sony and Microsoft, just because the technology has changed quite a bit on the platform level. The conversations are going well and I'm confident we'll be able to support the legacy hardware on both consoles, but it's important for me, as a representative of Harmonix, to get out in front of the fact that Microsoft and Sony really hold the keys to that. But they're supportive and we're working with them."

Further details on Rock Band 4 are scant. No details on features, artwork, game modes, the new engine, or song selection are available at this time. There are no screenshots and there is no in-game footage available. For now, Harmonix is content to stop everyone's speculation and confirm that the band is getting back together. Rock Band 4 will arrive on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in 2015. Look to hear more from Harmonix during this year's PAX East. For now, check out the behind-the-scenes video below.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 5, 2015 6:02 AM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Rock Band 4 officially sets a 2015 tour on Xbox One and PlayStation 4

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      March 5, 2015 6:04 AM

      Yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyeyseysyeyeyseyseyseysyezx

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      March 5, 2015 6:08 AM

      All I care about aside from DLC is my ION Rocker Drum Set. Though a new control unit might be the easiest fix. Plug and play backwards compatibility would be ideal but we'll see.

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        March 5, 2015 6:55 AM

        I specifically asked about this. Yes, they want this to be part of the deal. Stay tuned.

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        March 5, 2015 6:57 AM

        That's unfortunately in the hands of the platform owners (MS and Sony). Harmonix wants to do it, and they know how, but MS and Sony control their ability to release the software.

        They have granted access in the past (Skullgirls).

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      March 5, 2015 7:12 AM

      Awwwwwww yissssssssssssss

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      March 5, 2015 7:12 AM

      Great. Now I hafta pull the trigger on a XBONE. Would $350 be reasonable for a mint condition 360, all the RB instruments,12 games and accessories?

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      March 5, 2015 7:22 AM

      I'm going to have to hook up my 360 and hit that shit.

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      March 5, 2015 7:23 AM

      So stoked right now.

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      March 5, 2015 7:24 AM

      I wonder if Xbox 360 DLC purchases will migrate to PS4. Mapping your 360 Live account to your PS4 PSN seems like an impossibility.

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        March 5, 2015 8:55 AM

        Blizzard made it work for diablo3 so hopefully they can make it work.

        I got both but yeah, I would rather migrate over to my ps4 from my 360.

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        March 5, 2015 9:01 AM

        From the sound of it, this is highly unlikely. The first parties will want their stuff to move to their new hotness. There will be no crossing streams.

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          March 5, 2015 9:12 AM

          yah i highly doubt they would cross from MS to Sony... If you have a ton of DLC on the 360, better off buying a XB1 if you really want RB4.

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            March 5, 2015 9:29 AM

            I know the $$ is bigger here but Blizz did it with D3 so im gonna hold out hope till its confirmed either way.

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              March 5, 2015 2:48 PM

              There isn't much licensing issue with that because it's game saves. This is the music industry we're talking about here and also each platform's digital store sold them in the first place.

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        March 5, 2015 9:09 AM

        I hope so. Would prefer to get the game for the PS4, but will go Xbone if they can't do cross platform entitlements. The number of tracks I bought on 360 is a little embarrassing. ;)

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        March 5, 2015 9:13 AM

        From the ARS article:

        "When asked about cross-platform purchase transfers, Sussman said "never say never, but we have to solve the bigger problems." He said that such a thing had "never been done before," but when we mentioned that Blizzard's Diablo games have supported game-save transfers across platforms, community manager Nick Chester chimed in: "Yes, but, that's a lot of work. We already have a big problem to solve, Xbox 360 to Xbox One, PS3 to PS4. We know the path to get there.""

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      March 5, 2015 9:24 AM

      I am excited!

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      March 5, 2015 10:24 AM

      in addition to the DLC I really hope they will let you import the full track lists from the previous games. I know they did it for RB1 -> RB2 so hopefully they can pull it off again.

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        March 5, 2015 2:49 PM

        IIRC, you needed a code and pay a $5 import fee for each game since those songs were sold as part of a game not DLC.

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        March 5, 2015 8:45 PM

        Come to think of it, I don't really care about the DLC. I want the previous games' tracks. I didn't buy much DLC, but I did buy a lot of the spin-off games -- Green Day, Beatles, Lego -- in addition to the core RB1, RB2, RB3.

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      March 5, 2015 11:06 AM

      AWESOME!! I can not wait I love all the RB games they own RB3 was amazing.

      My drums are ready!

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      March 6, 2015 10:58 AM

      I have a shitload of DLC on my xbox 360 but I only now have a PS4. I guess I'm screwed for bringing over DLC :(

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