I really do love the Rock Band/Guitar Hero games. Whether it’s just rocking out with friends or killing some time by myself, blending together popular music with a video game is perhaps one of the most brilliant moves ever done by a gaming company. Maybe it was too good since both games have kind of ceased production but at some point they’re going to make a comback and they are going to need to with a vengeance. One of the problems I always had with these game however is that they were virtually all the same and while the differences between Rock Band 2 and Rock Band 3 were noticeable, I found myself asking “why can’t I play the songs from Rock Band 2, it’s not like the way to play the songs in 3 are different or incompatible, so what gives?” So if either series is ever to comback, I think they should make a few chances.
Add a Story Mode
The most indepth story either franchise has had (at least from what I played), is from Guitar Hero 3, which mostly consisted of starting a band, getting a manager, going on tour, and guitar dueling the devil.
I think for some players, there needs to be more than just picking a song and going on stage. Of the old Tony Hawk Skateboarding games, the most memorable for me was Tony Hawk’s Underground because of the story mode. In the story, you and your buddy Eric (making us even buddier by being Erik and Eric) want to make it in the big times fro skateboarding. Eric betrays you by editing a recording of you jumping a helicopter to make it look like he did it and goes off to sell out. So you assemble a team of pro-skaters to start a revolution and it all ends with an epic skating duel between the two of you. While everything was pretty straight forward, it was still a better experience than the previous Tony Hawk games which had been just “go to this place and do these tricks”.
So add a real story mode to the games. Have some drama where the character you started the band with has gone to sell out to major corporations or maybe you’re the new guy replacing him leading to an epic guitar/bass/drum/sing off. Maybe they can even go a bit deeper, adding some values to the songs you perform giving you bonus points for playing the right songs to the right people or extra points if you play a show stopper at the very end or something. I could even imagine the game’s story branching and having challenges Oregon Trail style. A guitar breaks and you have to replace it, you can either get a corporate sponsor to get a new one, but sell out and maybe lose some of the crowd or some other negative thing, or you can try a few shows with creative situations. I don’t know, but it would definitely make the game much more interesting, especially with friends because then you have start having band meetings.
Make the Entire Game Downloadable
Answer the question of “why can’t I play Rock Band 2 songs in Rock Band 3″, they should just start selling the equipment and have the game be downloadable allowing players to download whatever songs they want and instead of releasing new editions or anything like that just release more songs.
I don’t know if this means less money or is more expensive, but it would definitely solve a problem that I know many players to have. I don’t like every song in any one game and usually avoid them at all cost. In fact, whenever I get the option to make my own track-list, I quickly fill it up with most DLC songs because those are the songs I want to play or sing. Now I know that I got into some bands from Rock Band 2 and 3. Heck, I officially got into the Beatles because of Rock Band Beatles, so it would suck to have not let people try out songs that they might not know they’d love. So, I think these developers should make some things like Pandora Radio. Maybe when playing through single player, there could be an option to play a randomly selected downloadable song and if they don’t like it they can just ignore it, but if they do, they can purchase it to play it whenever they want.
Make a Video Game Version
I’m guessing that games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero appeal more to the casual crowd than the hardcore gamers, but there are so many great video game songs out there that this should be inevitable. Already there is Still Alive from Portal and that is immensely popular. On my Itunes I have a lot of great songs from Crush 40, who have done of the most memorable vocal music from the Sonic the Hedgehog games and one of my favorite video game songs is Another Winter from the Scott Pilgrim game. Off the top of my head, I can think the Never Surrender Mix from Halo, Live and Learn and Reach for the Stars from Sonic the Hedgehog, Simple and Clean and Sanctuary from Kingdom Hearts, Kill or be Killed from No More Heroes 2, heck even the main theme for Skyrim would be awesome all rockified.
Speaking of which, there’s a ton of gaming inspired songs out there that would be awesome. At the time of this writing I’m listening to L33tstr33t Boys whose songs mainly consist of video game and anime themes. Felecia Day had her country love song, and what about the Angry Video Game Nerd theme? That would be awesome.
I hope the Rock Band and Guitar Hero series start making new games at some point. I also hope that when they do, they become better, more worthwhile experiences. I think what caused the music game business to collapse was that the market was heavily over saturated and appealing to less and less people who had the kind of “been there done that” attitude. Afterall, it seemed like they both were releasing track pack after track and I don’t know anyone who took the Rock Band 3 pro mode seriously. I think the only way it could ever come back as big as it was is a chance in philosophy and a chance in business.