As E3 draws closer, Harmonix is lifting the lid on the next title in their rhythm gaming juggernaut with a truckload of details spewing out on the features and the setlist of Rock Band 3.
Those players looking for a little more realism from the game will go into overdrive at the news of the title's newest mode - Pro Mode - which is designed to offer a more authentic gaming experience, helping gamers make the transition from playing Rock Band instruments to picking up the real thing. Each instrument will have a pro mode option, but for those who think it is merely just another difficulty level will be sadly mistaken. For instance, on keyboard Pro, players will have to be quite fleet fingered as each key on the peripheral will be used. Forget the coloured zones, those days are gone. Each note that falls will correspond to a single key and if you don't hit that key you'll need to be prepared for being booed off stage. In the case of the drums, Pro Mode will add three cymbals to the mix (which you can access through buying a PRO-Cymbals Expansion Kit to hook up to your existing Rock Band drum kit) and will require gamers to use them to hit specific notes. The guitar will be a whole new kettle of fish with Harmonix and Mad Catz getting together to cook up new guitar peripherals. Modeled after the Fender Squire and Mustang, these new guitars will do away with the push button frets, instead incorporating frets and six strings just like a traditional electric guitar.
The instrument evolution could be a costly endeavour for gamers, with US pricing currently set at between $40 - $150 depending on what you buy. For musos that bang around with MIDI keyboards and MIDI drum kits, you'll be able to use your own equipment in-game thanks to the MIDI PRO-Adapter.
Additionally, "Mad Catz will be offering updated versions of the guitar and drum peripherals from prior versions of Rock Band, as well as improved microphones in support of the Rock Band 3 vocal harmony feature," but these are yet to be detailed.
Other features also revealed include Party Mode, which will let you start up the game and allow for persistent drop-in/drop-out, making it easier to get a group of friends together to have a go without interrupting the flow of gameplay. Career Mode also gets an upgrade, featuring a more robust experience which will suit those looking for a long-term campaign experience as it features over 700 goals and rewards. Social networking also gets a look in with Harmonix confirming that the game will include tools which allow players to interact with friends and fellow Rock Band players through social networking sites such as: Facebook, Twitter, and more.
Finally, Harmonix has confirmed that the title will feature a setlist of 83 tracks on the disc and support for importing (and backwards compatibility) of all retail releases and DLC - with the exception being that players will not be able to access songs or DLC from The Beatles: Rock Band. So far, Harmonix have announced 22 of the tracks that will be available in the game, which are listed below:
- Metric - "Combat Baby"
- Rilo Kiley - "Portions of Foxes"
- Them Crooked Vultures - "Dead End Friends"
- The Vines - "Get Free"
- The White Stripes - "The Hardest Button to Button"
- Phoenix - "Lasso"
- Ida Maria - "Oh My God"
- Juanes - "Me Enamora"
- Jane's Addiction - "Been Caught Stealing"
- Smash Mouth - "Walkin' on the Sun"
- Spacehog - "In the Meantime"
- Stone Temple Pilots - "Plush"
- Dio - "Rainbow in the Dark"
- Huey Lewis and the News - "The Power of Love"
- Joan Jett - "I Love Rock and Roll"
- Night Ranger - "Sister Christian"
- Whitesnake - "Here I Go Again"
- The Cure - "Just Like Heaven"
- Ozzy Osbourne - "Crazy Train"
- Queen - "Bohemian Rhapsody"
- Jimi Hendrix - "Crosstown Traffic"
- The Doors - "Break On Through"
Rock Band 3 is coming to PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii and Nintendo DS later this year. You can check out the first images of the new peripherals and the game itself in our media panel.