Will Rock Band 4 be remastered or get a sequel when next-gen consoles are out?

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  • GLaDOSGLaDOS Opening Act
    The declining popularity of rock music was already a problem when RB4/GHL released, going into 2019 and only seeing the situation worsen makes me worry about the viability of Rock Band going forward, new consoles or not.

    When I was a kid playing the early Guitar Hero games and the first Rock Band, it was awesome learning all the classic old songs but it was even cooler being exposed to the new rock of the time, there were so many great up and coming rock bands when the first Rock Band game came out, DLC felt like a well of limitless potential. Nowadays the mainstream only seems to care about Pop and Rap and Electronic music. Now I guess I can't say for certain that there won't be some sort of renaissance in the next couple years, but what would the setlist of a new Rock Band even look like (keeping in mind that the majority will surely be 'modern' acts as in the past games and especially RB4)?

    I'm not trying to USL here or anything, but legitimately, who is out there right now as far as popular, mainstream rock outfits? What bands could actually generate interest from the youth of today? I'm not sure how a new Rock Band could survive if it only targeted the existing fans, you all see how few of us there are here and on Reddit, and obviously the game is still surviving right now but we're down to 2 songs a week with a lot of repeats and very few actual 'rock' acts. There are still more than enough songs from the 60s-00s to fill a setlist, but today's rap/pop/electronic focused youth isn't going to go out and buy a game just because it has the songs WE have been waiting for, "Chelsea Dagger" or "Knights of Cydonia" or any other of those 'why don't we have this one yet?' songs would be awesome for us but these days people care more about songs like "Mo Bamba" and "Sicko Mode" than tracks that have a guitar in it.

    The original Rock Band was great because it was a combination of the old classics along with a lot of songs that the people of that day were listening to and loving, guitar-centric bands like Jet and The Killers and The Strokes and Radiohead were all big deals to the mainstream. What would you have today if you released a game targeting that same kind of appeal? Imagine Dragons, the Bad Wolves cover of "Zombie," Weezer's version of "Africa," Panic! At the Disco, The 1975... I'm not outright saying these are bad because of course music taste is objective, but it's not exactly the kind of music that makes sense for a game like Rock Band, most are very bare on instruments or just covers of songs we already have.

    The state of rock music is dire and I don't really see how a game like Rock Band could ever thrive in this environment. There are still some glimmers of hope, with bands like Greta Van Fleet and Cage The Elephant somehow managing to be relevant to the mainstream amidst this shift (though the ladder doesn't seem to want to play ball with RB), but without the tides changing again in rock's favor over the next few years or Rock Band dramatically shifting in focus from being a game about primarily 'rock' or 'rock-adjacent' music, I am having increasingly less hope that Rock Band can ever do better than being an increasingly niche game in an increasingly niche genre catering to fans of an increasingly niche type of music (ironically, the keyboard peripheral would probably have made way more sense in Rock Band 4 than it ever could've in the previous games).

    I guess the direction the music industry has been going this decade and especially this last year have made me really down on all of it, but trying to be realistic about it, I almost find it hard to fathom another Rock Band happening at all. Of course I would love to be wrong but all of this coupled with the fact that Rock Band 4 didn't exactly set the world on fire upon release in a time where rock was at least a little bit more prevalent than it is today makes me think we should all start preparing for the very real possibility that we might not get another Rock Band.

    So that's my rant, take it for what you will. Hopefully I'm pleasantly surprised in a few years, and there is some hope to be had that we at least have DLC for the rest of this year to look forward to.
  • grumblevolcanogrumblevolcano Headliner
    edited January 11

    I am just hoping we have a while to go before new consoles... 2020 seems way too soon

    Right?! Sadly, console manufacturers do not share that same mentality.
    It feels like PS4 Pro and XB1X were stopgap consoles, that their existence was to delay next gen just enough for next gen release to be acceptable when considering the entire generation's length.

    Given Sony's unusual silence (no PSX 2018, no E3 2019), PS5 reveal seems very likely to be later this year. Release date? I'm predicting March 2020.

    XB1 successor I think will be sometime in 2020.
  • djb5f1djb5f1 Unsigned
    @GLaDOS , you make good points but I don’t think the shift in music from 10 years ago to today is as drastic as you were saying. Rock as most of us know it was not exactly prevalent in the mainstream then either. Coldplay then, Imagine Dragons today.

    Thankfully, there is such a rich history of it and so much that we don’t have (including a lot of songs by artists we do have), that I have not lost all hope.
  • Rock hasn't really been the most mainstream music form since roughly the 60s, maybe the early 70s at a push. It's always had a varying amount of presence in some form or another, but right now does feel like a bit of a low point. Still, audiences are fickle and rock's presence does feel quite cyclical.
  • Somewhere around 2009 the popular mainstream music transformed from being guitar based to being keyboard based. That includes most genres, even Rock.

    Rock is not dead, but guitar based Rock is on life support and very niche at the moment. Only Imagine Dragons and Maroon 5 regularly hit the Hot 100. And their hit songs are no longer guitar based.

    Rap, trap, EDM, Pop, and R&B are all heavy keyboards now and they make up most of the Hot 100. Country is the only genre that still hits the Hot 100 (and usually only the lower portion) and is usually guitar based.

    The obvious solution, if Harmonix wants to continue releasing current popular songs and expand their audience to younger people is to bring the Keyboard back if there is going to be a Rock Band 5. The younger generation that is into music is going to expect/want to play the keyboard.
  • Meat-PopsicleMeat-Popsicle Road Warrior
    edited January 11
    We are told that bringing back the keyboard is "impossible" and they have never budged on that assessment.
    But they made it work on the last generation of consoles. And yes, the keyboard would indeed fit very well with Today's Hits.

    So by "impossible" did they mean:
    The technology that made it work before won't work on the PS4 and / or the Xbox One?
    The technology that made it work before is the property of EA and / or MTV and getting the rights would be expensive and / or very complicated?
    It was so clearly not worth their effort that they didn't include any space for it in the earliest RB4 designs [thus making it "impossible" to add on later]?

    MAYBE it will no longer be "impossible" to code for Keys on the PS5 and Xbox Two. But I don't see ever changing their mind about it not being worth their effort. It was a brilliant idea but very few people even tried it. Having a handful of people who ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT doesn't make it worth doing. Insisting that "no it was so close to being super-popular, it was just marketed wrong, and it would be a huge hit if you tried again" will not change their minds about not wanting to code for it ever again.

    Thanks for the reminder that I can (and should) pull out my RB3 Pro Keys setup every once in a while. Every Wednesday [= the day that nothing can be done to earn a promotion in Rivals]?

  • Meat-PopsicleMeat-Popsicle Road Warrior
    See, the official line never changes!
    No specifics given, just a plain and simple "never".
    I'm convinced.
  • Plenty of things are impossible, but then suddenly they somehow happen.

    It was impossible to sail around the world because the earth was flat.

    It was impossible to build a "flying machine"

    It was impossible to land a man on the moon.

    And the list goes on and on.
  • tdc002tdc002 Road Warrior
    Not to speak for Harmonix, but there could be legal reasons for the keyboard never coming back. The keyboard peripheral/engine being developed under MTV Games/EA may be cause for some legal hangups. I'm honestly just guessing though. There were also interviews back in 2015 that seemed to imply the keyboard peripheral was pushed onto them by MTV Games in order to distinguish Rock Band 3 from Guitar Hero.

    But most likely, it's probably the reasons Harmonix has already given, like the cost of manufacturing the keyboard peripheral, lack of sales of the keyboard peripheral in RB3, and the fact that the engine was always designed for guitar/bass/drums/vocals and had to be reconfigured to add keys (hence the awkward All Instruments Mode in RB3).
  • Those are all great reasons why Keyboard didn't and will not come back for Rock Band 4.

    But if there is a Rock Band 5 on new consoles, it would seem there is the opportunity to start over. Use a new engine. It would be a good idea anyway because the current one doesn't really work reliably.

    Heck, maybe some keyboard lover will buyout Harmonix and then add a keyboard in. Or some studio that buys them will see the potential of the Keyboard or just want it in anyway.
  • LordFlatusLordFlatus Rising Star
    Quit deluding yourselves, keyboard lovers. Let it go and embrace reality. You'll be able to finish the grieving cycle and eventually find happiness that way.
  • ekffazrekffazr Unsigned
    HMXOwl said:

    Keyboard's never coming back, just like last time we said it was never coming back.

    consistency is good

  • ekffazr said:

    HMXOwl said:

    Keyboard's never coming back, just like last time we said it was never coming back.

    consistency is good

    Nobody likes a wishy-washy claim.
  • rkbdgurlrkbdgurl Road Warrior
    If we can't get new gtr's or drums out of Hmx, it's a pretty sure bet Keys will never come back. I do like
    @Meat-Popsicle's idea though. I need to pull mine out and at least see if it still works. Have some fun with it. And while I'm at it, I should pull out my pro-guitar, and..and... oh, never-mind. :p
  • tnevakertnevaker Road Warrior
    rkbdgurl said:

    If we can't get new gtr's or drums out of Hmx, it's a pretty sure bet Keys will never come back. I do like
    @Meat-Popsicle's idea though. I need to pull mine out and at least see if it still works. Have some fun with it. And while I'm at it, I should pull out my pro-guitar, and..and... oh, never-mind. :p

    but unlike guitar or (to a lesser extent) drums, keys doesn't depend on HMX putting out their own controller. there are plenty of cheap MIDI-compatible keyboards, all they would need is an adapter like the RB3 MPA to be able to translate MIDI to console command codes.

    ditching the keyboard was one of the most shortsighted and unfortunate decisions HMX made with RB4. they wanted to save money and effort that went into producing keyboard charts for every song, but with controller supply dwindling, keys would have been the only reliable controller option moving forward.
  • grumblevolcanogrumblevolcano Headliner
    edited January 15
    GLaDOS said:

    The declining popularity of rock music was already a problem when RB4/GHL released, going into 2019 and only seeing the situation worsen makes me worry about the viability of Rock Band going forward, new consoles or not.

    When I was a kid playing the early Guitar Hero games and the first Rock Band, it was awesome learning all the classic old songs but it was even cooler being exposed to the new rock of the time, there were so many great up and coming rock bands when the first Rock Band game came out, DLC felt like a well of limitless potential. Nowadays the mainstream only seems to care about Pop and Rap and Electronic music. Now I guess I can't say for certain that there won't be some sort of renaissance in the next couple years, but what would the setlist of a new Rock Band even look like (keeping in mind that the majority will surely be 'modern' acts as in the past games and especially RB4)?

    I'm not trying to USL here or anything, but legitimately, who is out there right now as far as popular, mainstream rock outfits? What bands could actually generate interest from the youth of today? I'm not sure how a new Rock Band could survive if it only targeted the existing fans, you all see how few of us there are here and on Reddit, and obviously the game is still surviving right now but we're down to 2 songs a week with a lot of repeats and very few actual 'rock' acts. There are still more than enough songs from the 60s-00s to fill a setlist, but today's rap/pop/electronic focused youth isn't going to go out and buy a game just because it has the songs WE have been waiting for, "Chelsea Dagger" or "Knights of Cydonia" or any other of those 'why don't we have this one yet?' songs would be awesome for us but these days people care more about songs like "Mo Bamba" and "Sicko Mode" than tracks that have a guitar in it.

    The original Rock Band was great because it was a combination of the old classics along with a lot of songs that the people of that day were listening to and loving, guitar-centric bands like Jet and The Killers and The Strokes and Radiohead were all big deals to the mainstream. What would you have today if you released a game targeting that same kind of appeal? Imagine Dragons, the Bad Wolves cover of "Zombie," Weezer's version of "Africa," Panic! At the Disco, The 1975... I'm not outright saying these are bad because of course music taste is objective, but it's not exactly the kind of music that makes sense for a game like Rock Band, most are very bare on instruments or just covers of songs we already have.

    The state of rock music is dire and I don't really see how a game like Rock Band could ever thrive in this environment. There are still some glimmers of hope, with bands like Greta Van Fleet and Cage The Elephant somehow managing to be relevant to the mainstream amidst this shift (though the ladder doesn't seem to want to play ball with RB), but without the tides changing again in rock's favor over the next few years or Rock Band dramatically shifting in focus from being a game about primarily 'rock' or 'rock-adjacent' music, I am having increasingly less hope that Rock Band can ever do better than being an increasingly niche game in an increasingly niche genre catering to fans of an increasingly niche type of music (ironically, the keyboard peripheral would probably have made way more sense in Rock Band 4 than it ever could've in the previous games).

    I guess the direction the music industry has been going this decade and especially this last year have made me really down on all of it, but trying to be realistic about it, I almost find it hard to fathom another Rock Band happening at all. Of course I would love to be wrong but all of this coupled with the fact that Rock Band 4 didn't exactly set the world on fire upon release in a time where rock was at least a little bit more prevalent than it is today makes me think we should all start preparing for the very real possibility that we might not get another Rock Band.

    So that's my rant, take it for what you will. Hopefully I'm pleasantly surprised in a few years, and there is some hope to be had that we at least have DLC for the rest of this year to look forward to.

    The problems with RB4 was likely a bigger problem than the state of rock in the mainstream. The current community lasted through the bugs, the years of entitlement fixes, the hardware supply and functionality issues, etc. but that would've put plenty of people off.

    As for specific setlist points, the main thing that comes to mind is more well known older songs.
  • LordFlatusLordFlatus Rising Star
    HMX called RB4 a success and since they are still supporting it over three years later, I believe them.

    MadCatz were the bad guys, pinning the hopes of their failing business on unrealistic RB hardware sales expectations. Rock Band was successful and MadCatz were/are idiots.
  • LoopyChewLoopyChew Wordsmith
    edited January 15
    tnevaker said:

    but unlike guitar or (to a lesser extent) drums, keys doesn't depend on HMX putting out their own controller. there are plenty of cheap MIDI-compatible keyboards, all they would need is an adapter like the RB3 MPA to be able to translate MIDI to console command codes.

    ditching the keyboard was one of the most shortsighted and unfortunate decisions HMX made with RB4. they wanted to save money and effort that went into producing keyboard charts for every song, but with controller supply dwindling, keys would have been the only reliable controller option moving forward.

    I don't think it was just keyboard chart production; there's also the stem requirement. Sure, we think they've lessened up on that, but I can only imagine that even further separating the stems by hand is gonna be Super Not Great Sounding.

    But the playerbase of keys was already abysmally small and it never took off the way they were hoping it would. Back in the RB3 days I did an analysis and the people who had keys or pro keys scores on the most popular keys tracks (Piano Man or Crawling, I think were the two largest ones) had a super tiny fraction compared to the others.

    Combine that with the controller data they used to submit the key information and I understand their logic. You think they were being short-sighted when they dropped keys for 4, but I think they were doing what they had to for survival. Is it a symptom of dropping all the extra touches that made for a greater UX? Sure, but I can accept the argument in this situation. Less so for, let's say, character customization, or online multiplayer.

    Nothing is black and white, everything is shades of grey, we all just draw our lines at different places.
  • LoopyChew said:

    tnevaker said:


    Nothing is black and white, everything is shades of grey, we all just draw our lines at different places.

    You say this however the keys on a keyboard are black and white and never grey. 😜
  • LoopyChewLoopyChew Wordsmith
    BonJohndy said:

    LoopyChew said:

    Nothing is black and white, everything is shades of grey, we all just draw our lines at different places.

    You say this however the keys on a keyboard are black and white and never grey. 😜
    True, but I've seen brown on the tonic keys.
  • ZenzukiZenzuki Unsigned
    GLaDOS said:

    [text] ...(ironically, the keyboard peripheral would probably have made way more sense in Rock Band 4 than it ever could've in the previous games)... [remainder of text]

    Truer words have never been spoken!

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