Part of me misses the heyday of peripheral-based rhythm games, where developers competed in an arms race of plastic instruments and licensed music. The genre made a slight comeback with Rock Band 4 and Guitar Hero Live, but now the latest gaming arms race is VR. Harmonix has jumped on the VR bandwagon with the announcement of Rock Band VR for Oculus Rift.
The announcement trailer is… somewhat tricky to make sense of. The gameplay is different to the rest of the series, and shows off a new addition called Performance Mode. According to the Harmonix blog, this mode allows you to “experiment with different chords, notes and strum speeds to develop your signature sound and make each song your own”. Basically, it’s more about strumming along with the song, and less about hitting every note on cue.
The game (which is currently exclusive to PC) will include Classic Mode, which features the series’ familiar note highway. It’ll have a soundtrack of 60 songs, along with global leaderboards. Furthermore, it’ll support both PS4 and Xbox One Rock Band guitars. It’s odd that Harmonix isn’t supporting PSVR, considering they already have an established presence on consoles that they could leverage. Perhaps we’ll see a PSVR launch if this is a success.
Rock Band VR will launch for PC on 23 March 2017.