ROCK BAND 3 - Keyboards, Real Guitars, Get Ready to Rock

ROCK BAND 3 - Keyboards, Real Guitars

Harmonix, MTV, and EA are ready to rock again this fall, and hope you are too.

Full details on Rock Band 3 have been released ahead of next week's E3 gaming event, and Harmonix is pulling out all the stops, making a whole new Rock Band. When we spoke to MTV Games SVP Paul DeGooyer back in January, he told us of the sequel, "we want to continue the evolution on all fronts. The one thing for us is that rhythm games are taken seriously as a way of experiencing music."

To that end, there are a lot of new features in the full sequel.  The first and flashiest feature people will notice is the addition of a new instrument, the keyboard. A much-requested feature by fans and musicians alike, the keyboard peripheral is a 22-key piece that opens up a new level of music. An additional device will allow current ticklers of the ivories to plug in any MIDI-capable keyboard into their game console and use that, instead. The keyboard controller has a two octave range, but also will have the color coded keys for more basic players.

The new Pro mode seeks to achieve DeGooyer's ultimate goal, allowing gamers to "seriously" experience music with the game.  The keyboard peripheral can be used for "pitch-accurate" playing, with an actual note-by-note keyboard track displayed on-screen. Other instruments get into the action as well, with 3 cymbals added to the drumset, an accurate drum track allows players to translate real-world drumming skills to the game and vice-versa. Guitar and Bass can use two new controllers for the Pro experience. An official controller from peripheral maker MadCatz will have mini-buttons along the frets, allowing gamers to develop the skills of placing fingers on individual "strings." Taking it one level further, guitarists can use a custom Fender Squier Stratocaster electric guitar for a real-life guitar playing experience. The fully functional six-string guitar has sensors in the fretboard allowing its use in the game.

For the average gamer, features from the breakout Beatles and Green Day games like 3-part harmonies have made their way into the main platform now. A drop-in and drop-out, even mid-song, without pausing. This also allows gamers to switch instruments mid-song, and will facilitate the now ubiquitous Rock Band party. With the multiple vocals and new instrument, 7 people can play the game simultaneously.

83 new songs will be on the disc, as the Rock Band library overall quickly approaches 2,000 songs total. The library can now be searched and categorized with a myriad of new filters. Saveable setlists can be sent to friends via the game or Rockband.com, and a new song-suggestion system akin to Apple iTunes' "Genius" feature will help gamers find new music they'll enjoy.

With all of this, it's clear that Harmonix isn't resting on their laurels as current champions of the music game crowd. We'll be hands-on with Rock Band 3 next week at E3, and bringing you back more details then. Rock Band 3 is shipping worldwide Holiday 2010 for Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.

The currently announced songs from the new 83 tracks, including many that have well-known piano parts, follows:

2000s:

·         Metric, “Combat Baby”

·         Rilo Kiley, “Portions for Foxes”

·         Them Crooked Vultures, “Dead End Friends”

·         The Vines, “Get Free”

·         The White Stripes, “The Hardest Button to Button”

·         Phoenix, “Lasso”

·         Ida Maria, “Oh My God”

·         Juanes, “Me Enamora”

1990s:

·         Jane’s Addiction, “Been Caught Stealing”

·         Smash Mouth, “Walkin’ on the Sun”

·         Spacehog, “In the Meantime”

·         Stone Temple Pilots, “Plush”

1980s:

·         Dio, “Rainbow in the Dark”

·         Huey Lewis and the News, “The Power of Love”

·         Joan Jett, “I Love Rock and Roll”

·         Night Ranger, “Sister Christian”

·         Whitesnake, “Here I Go Again”

·         The Cure, “Just Like Heaven”

·         Ozzy Osbourne, “Crazy Train”

1970s:

·         Queen, “Bohemian Rhapsody”

1960s:

·         Jimi Hendrix, “Crosstown Traffic”

·         The Doors, “Break On Through”

Got any questions about Rock Band 3? Post them in the forum, and we'll ask on Tuesday at E3!

Twitter activity