Harmonix On Whether "Rock Band 2" Could Be Made With Robots

PhaseThis post has an absurd headline. But it does not have an absurd premise.

I interviewed Harmonix team-member Kasson Crooker last week about "Phase," the iPod rhythm game that came out of nowhere and temporarily took the place of next week's "Rock Band" as the hot game from the MTV-owned game development studio. We published the interview today at MTVNews.com.

Ah, but isn't there something a little ... worrisome ... about "Phase," at least as far as the rest of Harmonix's employees should be concerned? The game re-shapes its levels based on whatever song (or other audio file) a player puts in their iPod play-list. So, on its own, it can offer a playable track-list of any song ever composed.

With technology like that, who needs developers?

So I asked Crooker about that. From my column:

 ...if "Phase" can make a game out of any song, couldn't that same technology be used to greatly expand the musical roster for "Rock Band" or any other Harmonix rhythm game? Does this mean future rhythm games wouldn't need to be programmed by Harmonix humans because Harmonix tech would do the work?

"It would be technically feasible but there's something special about having a person involved," Crooker said. "The people we hire are musicians themselves. When they open up a guitar track [to program it into the game], they can really make good music."

There's more on "Phase" over at MTVNews.com.