Since Rock Band 3 is on the horizon I find it appropriate to give a little recap on what led up to this game, and how the game looks so far. Of course we can’t talk about Rock Band’s past without talking about Guitar Hero. Guitar Hero was the game that could. When Harmonix and RedOctane released Guitar Hero they took a huge leap of faith, there was no hype for the game and the company couldn’t make nearly as many copies as most games that were released at that time. The biggest risk was releasing an almost unheard of game for around twice the price of a regular game. Of course the risk paid off and Guitar Hero went on to become a success. After the success of Guitar Hero and Guitar Hero II RedOctane left and took the Guitar Hero license with them. A year later Rock Band was released.
In a short span of time Harmonix had not only created a better version of Guitar Hero but they added two instruments which allowed people to experience being in their own virtual band. At the time that was something that could not be experienced anywhere else and allowed Rock Band to separate itself from the competition as original. The original Rock Band was in all ways a pioneer game. Even though the game was using a guitar system similar to that of Guitar Hero, Rock Band had many new concepts and ideas that were never done before. The weekly DLC is one thing that really seems to put Rock Band over the edge and was introduced in the original game. The amount of songs that Rock Band has built up to is a library that will never be matched by any other music game. The customizable characters in Rock Band was a first for instrumental games and made you feel that much closer to being a part of the band. Overall Rock Band introduced the main concepts that the franchise uses today but Harmonix knew that things could be added and the game could be improved on.
One year later Rock Band 2 was released, boasting more than 80 songs in its arsenal, and the first game of the series to feature only master tracks on disc. The library of Rock Band 2 is possibly the most impressive feature of the game showing off Harmonix’s ability to obtain songs. Rock Band 2 was also a much wanted update to Rock Band. Rock Band being a pioneer game and done in a short period of time resulted in a lack of several desired features. Some of the key new features were, being able to play career online, improved visuals, battle of the bands, which used daily challenges to see who could get the higher score in a song, and the Rock Band Network which offers a large amount of support to the Rock Band library. With the game being more robust than the first one and offering many new songs every week Harmonix planned to release Rock Band 3 two years after the release of Rock Band 2 instead of offering a sequel every year. The year that followed Rock Band 2 possibly got a better announcement than Rock Band 3, which was The Beatles Rock Band. Having a Rock Band game focusing on The Beatles was such a huge undertaking that Harmonix took Rock Band 2 and improved it anyway possible. For the first time you could have more than one singer, they game had more visual appeal than ever and they added small features like the countdown clock after you un-pause the game. Given all of these improvements and the music in the game The Beatles Rock Band stands as the probably the best version of Rock Band thus far. Seeing how Harmonix has only improved on the series since the first game you can see how the Rock Band series is like a snowball, nothing is taken away from the series only added. Guitar Hero created the ball, Rock Band gave it the push, every week the DLC makes the snowball bigger, then the second game comes out, then The Beatles Rock Band and the Rock Band Network, the ball is only constantly getting bigger and Rock Band 3 is what is going to take it to the next level.
Rock Band 3 is the game Harmonix has been coming up with ideas for in the past two years. Everything Harmonix has done has led up to this game, everything they have learned will be applied to this game, it will not only improve on Rock Band 2 but it will also feature more of the originality Harmonix so often shows. Rock Band 3 introduces the keyboard (a long requested feature), with this addition songs are given a new level of playability. My personal favorite song to feature this new level of playability will be Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen, to me this song will be every new feature rolled into one song. Multiple singers, the keyboard, the guitar, the bass, makes it a perfect song to show off the new features and old features in Rock Band 3 and I am glad it is going to be included in this version and not the previous ones. Harmonix will also show more tweaks to their career mode, more customization, drop-in and drop-out band play and many small new features. These things, along with the new set list would be enough to justify making a new game but Harmonix is also adding pro mode. This new mode will actually teach you how to play guitar, how to play drums, with symbols, and how to play the keyboard. This is personally the feature I look forward to the most. Being able to learn how to play guitar through one of my favorite games is something that will allow me to connect with the music on a new level. The Fender guitar is the highlight of the two guitars for me, the other guitar is only playable through pro mode and features over 100 buttons, but the Fender guitar will be able to play the song in Rock Band and then be unplugged and played through an amp. In a way with pro mode Rock Band has come full circle. Rock Band has gone from getting people to appreciate and play along with music to teaching people how to create music.