With a new "Rock Band" and new "Guitar Hero" coming out this fall, gamers may find themselves faced with a choice of which music game to buy. Which bullet points on the games' boxes will sway them?
- Both new games have drums and guitars.
- "Rock Band 2" has compatibility with hundreds of already-released songs and an aggressive plan for daily online competitions (and yes it's made by Harmonix, the studio owned by my employer, MTV.)
- "Guitar Hero: World Tour" has a music creation tool that allows users to create their own vocals-free playable tracks that can be uploaded and shared. (We've tried it but can't tell you more until an embargo lifts on the details next month.)
At a "Rock Band 2" demo earlier this week I asked Harmonix public relations man John Drake what he would say to people who, in trying to decide between the two games, felt swayed by the music creation mode in "Guitar Hero."
Here's what Drake told me he'd say about music-creation options in music games and to hint at what Harmonix is doing next:Drake: "The music creator thing... we're a company of musicians, right? I have a band and a song in the game. We have over 40 bands in the company, 85% of us play an instrument, we really get music. We've talked about doing a music creator. We've actually done them before in other games that we've done like in "Amplitude" and "Frequency" ... We've done the whole MIDI creation thing.
"We think we can do something really ambitious and really great that's going to speak across all the users of the game, not just hardcore users -- and that will result in some awesome stuff and not just 'Final Fantasy' covers. I mean, I like them ["FF" covers] too. So Harmonix is going to do something great with it [music creation] down the road, we didn't want to rush it out and do it half-assed. This is definitely a full-on project for us. You'll hear more about it soon."
Drake added after the demonstration of "Rock Band 2" that he's certainly not against music-creation software. Clearly, Harmonix folks' have something in mind...
(Note: The writers for the MTV Multiplayer blog have no inside information about the "Rock Band" games or MTV Games' plans.)