The music video game war continued today with the announcement of "Rock Band 2," a game that was widely expected by gamers but not quite in the form it is taking.
According to a press release from MTV Games, "Rock Band 2" will initially be released exclusively on the Xbox 360 this September and will be fully compatible with the original instruments, as well as the more than 100 songs that were available to download for the first "Rock Band." Like the first, the game will be developed by the MTV-owned Harmonix games studio.
This "Rock Band" sequel is a departure from recent music game sequels and spin-offs, including entries in the competing "Guitar Hero" franchise, which do not always sync up to the originals. For example, the new "Guitar Hero: Aerosmith" coming out this week does not work with downloadable content marked for "Guitar Hero III," according to a report on gaming blog Joystiq.
"Rock Band 2," goes the other way, as it appears to be set to work smoothly with its predecessor. In fact, it has been announced to be so compatible with the first game's music and instruments that an IGN reporter who was interviewing the sequel's lead designer Dan Teasdale was compelled to ask why owners of the first game would feel the need to buy the second game.
" 'Rock Band 2' takes all the lessons we've learned from making a multi-instrument music game, addresses them, then adds some amazing new ways for you to experience your music library that have never been seen in a music game before," Teasdale told IGN. "We've been scouring forums and parties everywhere for what people liked and didn't like, and I'm pretty confident we've addressed everything I've heard people ask for."
Aside from confirming compatibility and the September release date for Xbox 360, Harmonix is holding details about the new game until the E3 gaming trade show in Los Angeles later this month. There the team will probably answer questions that linger among those watching the progress of the music game genre: whether the world tour mode of the game will be playable online this time; in what shape or form — if any — "Rock Band 2" will answer the announcement that the new "Guitar Hero: World Tour" will allow players to create their own music; and what Teasdale meant when he said, "We'll be talking more about hardware in the coming weeks, but one of our cool things we're pushing is player choice and customizability in their instruments."
While "Rock Band 2" will debut on the Xbox 360 this summer, The Associated Press reports that the game will also be available on the PS2, PS3 and Wii later this year.
"Rock Band 2" 's primary competition this fall is expected to be "Guitar Hero: World Tour," the first game in Activision's series to support drums and vocals as well as guitars. Entering the arms race will also be "Rock Revolution," a vocals-drums-guitar game from Konami, the company that popularized instrument-based games in Japan but has yet to bring any to the U.S.
[This story was originally published at 9:57 am E.T. on 6.30.2008]
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