Rock Band 3
Harmonix has gone back to the drawing board to craft an entirely new experience for players in Rock Band 3. The addition of keyboards brings another peripheral into the mix. Pro mode lets gamers learn to play real instruments. And now there's a brand new trailer to show off the game in action.
Rock Band 3 will include 83 new songs from 83 different bands when it releases later this year. The game will also be backwards compatible with the 1500+ songs already available for previous games.
For players that feel like they've already mastered the genre's challenges, Harmonix is introducing Rock Band Pro Mode, an entirely new set of difficulties to which a gamer can graduate when they're ready for a bigger challenge. Pro mode slowly teaches you the actual instrumental parts of the songs being played through a more complex on-screen display and new peripherals that replicate playing on real instruments.
Pro mode is unique for each instrument. The new wireless keyboard controller is a 25-key, two-octave MIDI-enabled keyboard. It can be played standing up like a keytar, or laid down in the lap, on a table, or on the sold-separately keyboard stand. Alternately, a MIDI Pro Adapter Box allows players to use real MIDI keyboards and drums of their own to play the game. Keyboards can be used to play any keyboard parts in the game, but can also play guitar and bass parts in non-pro mode.
The Fender Mustang Pro-Guitar controller simulates all six strings of a real guitar, with 17 frets that run up the neck. The 102-button input neck rises towards the guitar's body, where a strum area lets players pick individual "strings". When playing the game on pro mode, the descending highway of notes almost exactly emulates guitar tablature, the notation traditionally used for rock guitar. In addition, non-pro keyboard parts can be played using the Mustang. Beyond that, the Mustang controller is a functional MIDI controller, which gives it applications outside of the game.
Finally, a 3-cymbal expansion kit for Rock Band 3 will allow for a major expansion of the drumming experience. Harmonix has promised that these new cymbals are far better than the optional cymbals that came with Rock Band 2, with a quieter sound and better response.
There's no word yet on pricing for these peripherals, but these new experiences aren't likely to come cheap. Then again, Rock Band 3 will allow for a complete gameplay experience independent of the new instruments. Every song in the game will be playable with the old plastic peripheral instruments you've been using for years.
Rock Band 3 will be available for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii this holiday season, along with a separate version available on Nintendo DS.
To learn more, make sure and check out our earlier post about the first details to emerge on Rock Band 3. In the meantime, the video and images below should whet your appetite for the game later this year.