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Subtle Harmonix Genius

Hey, all. I’m back! I have a lot to talk about on whatever (and whenever) the next podcast is about gaming on a honeymoon, but until then, it’s business as usual for me.

(That basically means that I talk about Rock Band in some capacity, if you’re new here.)

So I picked up Guitar Hero: World Tour (game-only) Monday evening after getting back into the states. I was considering getting the guitar bundle as the new guitar looks pretty sweet, but since my Guitar Hero III one is still kicking pretty well and the whammy bar is the only broken component of my original Rock Band one, I’ll just hold out until something major actually snaps somewhere before I upgrade. I’m not going to talk about the new Guitar Hero just yet, though. I do have a whole lot of comparisons and such I’d like to make, but it’s not time for that yet.

I want to talk about some, as I’ve titled it, “Subtle Harmonix Genius”. Harmonix, as you may well know, is the developer of Rock Band (and originally Guitar Hero, before the four or so involved companies all got split apart, sold, acquired, formed new alliances, etc.). I’ve been keeping an eye on what Harmonix has been doing with Rock Band (more specifically Rock Band 2, though it’s all one big platform, as they’ve accurately described it) as the release of Guitar Hero: World Tour neared. It’s all extremely intriguing, and quite sly if you dig really deep into it. Let me give you a few examples.

Foo Fighters’ “Everlong” is an on-disc song in both Rock Band 2 and Guitar Hero: World Tour. Months ahead of time (back in July), Harmonix began heavily promoting their game with “Everlong“.

System of a Down’s “B.Y.O.B.” is an on-disc song in Guitar Hero: World Tour. On August 5th, Harmonix made “B.Y.O.B.” available as DLC for Rock Band.

Nirvana’s acoustic (MTV Unplugged) version of “About A Girl” is an on-disc song in Guitar Hero: World Tour. Two weeks prior to the game’s release (on October 21st), Harmonix released a seven-track pack of Nirvana songs as DLC for Rock Band.

Travis Barker, current drummer for Blink-182, was involved with Guitar Hero: World Tour in that he was motion-captured and appears as a playable character/avatar. Blink-182’s song “Dammit” is an on-disc song in the game. One week prior to the game’s release, Harmonix made “Dammit” available as DLC for Rock Band.

The week of Guitar Hero: World Tour‘s release, Harmonix announced that the 20 free downloadable songs promised with all new purchases of Rock Band 2 would become available.

I haven’t even touched on a whole ton of other songs that are available in both games, via all sorts of combinations of on-disc and DLC (“The Middle“, “Lazy Eye“, etc.). Take a look at No Doubt, though. I’ll make a prediction and say that Harmonix’s promised “The Best of No Doubt (Rock Band Edition)” pack will be made available extremely soon, hot on the heels of Guitar Hero: World Tour and its on-disc “Spiderwebs“.

None of these are coincidences. These are all calculated and smirk-inducing examples of the genius over there at Harmonix. I can see plenty of examples of a potential Guitar Hero: World Tour consumer who already owns Rock Band looking down the set-list and saying, “Why buy the whole new game when I can just spend $10 on DLC and get just the songs I want in a game I already own…?

More Rock Band / Guitar Hero discussions coming from me will be on the topics of the series as a platform and choosing one side to make an investment in, actual comparisons between the two games and their gameplay, and a whole heck of a lot more.

No, there will be no Rock Revolution discussion. Sorry, Konami.

2 Comments

  1. Yeah, I noticed this too. I had the opportunity of playing around with GH:WT at my friends the other day, and was amazed at all of the songs that were also in RB2. Also I’m not too impressed with World Tour. The only thing I liked about it was playing Band on the Run (Wings) and Love Me Two Times (The Doors).

  2. I was on the fence about Guitar Hero 4, but the main point that kept me from buying it was actually pretty simple: do I want to pay to get the same songs I already own, but with note charts I probably won’t enjoy?

    Sure, I won’t get The Eagles or Van Halen in my Rock Band, but nearly everyone else I could probably get in some form with Rock Band.

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