Today, Harmonix is announcing the official release date for the latest entry in its popular Rock Band series of video games. Rock Band VR, the first immersive entry for the long-running series, will release for the Oculus Rift on March 23, 2017.
In addition to the full release date, Harmonix is also announcing that pre-orders for Rock Band VR will be open as of today. Customers that order early can take advantage of a $69.99 bundle that will net them “a digital code for Rock Band VR and a wireless Rock Band Fender® Stratocaster® guitar controller.”
Rock Band VR will also work with any Rock Band 4 guitar controller or PlayStation 4 bluetooth guitar controller you happen to have lying around.
Even this close to launch day Harmonix is still being very tight lipped about the song catalogue for its newest game. In an email to UploadVR announcing today’s release date, the studio is still mainly focusing on three songs: Aerosmith’s Walk This Way, Paramore’s Aint it Fun, and The Killers When You Were Young. The email explains that there will be “60 songs from legendary artists and upcoming acts on the verge of breaking out” and that interested fans should tune in to the company’s various social media channels for “additional Rock Band VR news, gameplay and soundtrack reveals throughout the month.”
Rock Band VR is a truly enjoyable combination of Harmonix’s tried and true gameplay loop and the Rift’s immersive capabilities. The main focus for this particular iteration of the series is the new “Performance Mode.”
This new mode focuses more on real-time creativity and building a real sense of stage presence for players rather than the multiplayer arcade insanity of a typical Rock Band title.
According to Harmonix:
If Rock Band VR’s classic mode is about the pursuit of a note-perfect studio recording, Rock Band VR’s performance mode, illustrated in the above gameplay video, represents the creative freedom of a live concert where no two performances sound exactly the same. In this mode, players experiment with different chords, notes and strum speeds to develop their signature sound and make each performance their own. It’s a completely new kind of music gameplay, it’s perfectly suited to VR, and it’s unlike anything else Harmonix has ever created.
The classic, finger bending gameplay will also be available in Rock Band VR with Harmonix making it clear that, “Traditional Rock Band gameplay will have its own dedicated leaderboard at launch in Classic Mode.”
Oculus Touch will be required for Rock Band VR along with the special clip accessory that ships in the box with the controllers.