Improbably enough, I was on stage this afternoon with Alex Rigopulos of Harmonix (creators of Guitar Hero 1 and 2, and Rock Band) talking about how ARGs and music games were similar. During the course of the conversation, Alex revealed a few details about Rock Band which I am fairly confident haven’t been announced elsewhere. So, without further ado:
Rock Band will allow people to form bands over the internet, featuring avatars that you can personalise to a high degree. Yes, this is already known. But it will also automatically create webpages for these bands detailing their achievements in-game, the concerts they’ve played, their high scores, everything (similar to Halo). Even better, you’ll eventually be able to buy merchandise based on your band – imagine a T-shirt that has the avatars of all your band members on the front, with a list of your concerts and dates on the back.
Pretty sweet, eh? But how about a faux gold disc that has your band name and members on it? Or indeed, any number of bits of physical merchandise? Now, you could accuse Harmonix of just cashing in here, but I would disagree – people buy merchandise for books, TV shows, music, movies and sports – why not games? And why not have it personalised? I think this is a great way to bring games even further into the mainstream.
And remember kids, you heard it here first. Unless it’s been reported by another website earlier, in which case this post is pretty redundant.
(In other game fanboy news, I’m getting the chance to play Rock Band tomorrow, and I met the elusive Jade Raymond tonight at a dinner and drinks thing for speakers)