Rock Band VR might be adding Rift support for the first time, but it’s also taking three major components out of the equation.
Harmonix’s Oculus Rift exclusive carries the full moniker of its predecessors, but only supports the lead guitar instrument, leaving bass, drums and vocals behind for now. You could even argue that this entry in the series has more in common with the Guitar Hero franchise that Harmonix started rather than its more robust follow up series. But the Boston-based studio claims that it has good reasons for sticking with just the guitar on this, its first audition, though maybe we can hope for more in the future.
Speaking with UploadVR, Harmonix social and community lead Josh Harrison reasoned that the studio wanted to nail at least one of Rock Band‘s core instruments before it moved on to others. Harrison explained that there were “a lot of challenges” in bringing the series to VR, and that the company wanted to get some of the smaller details that defined immersion in at this stage. In the end, the team decided it was best to “focus on one instrument” instead of trying to “spread it out” and bring everything in at once. Sorry to all the people that photoshopped Oculus Touch controllers onto a pair of drumsticks.
That decision will carry through to the game’s setlist, though, which is expected to comprise of around 50 – 75 songs. The developer explained that Harmonix will make sure that every song “really shines” on guitar, suggesting that the final set of tracks could be comprised of songs both old and new to the franchise.
Harrison did tease, however, that this was only “the first go around”, so we could see more in the future. He also noted that Harmonix would justify its decision to focus on just guitar even more so at E3 2016 this year. The game itself of course requires one of the guitar peripherals, but also has an Oculus Touch controller fitted into that device’s stock. This allows the developer to track the user’s guitar in-game and created some unique opportunities. It also means you won’t see Rock Band VR launch until Oculus Touch does in the second half of 2016.
Either way, we’re already pretty happy with how Rock Band VR is shaping up. Bring on E3.