“Rock Band” Hits the Shelves on Black Friday

by Joey deVilla on September 29, 2007

Screenshot from the upcoming game “Rock Band”
Screenshot from Rock Band. Click to see the screenshot on its original page at full size (it’s huge).

“Rock Band” logoLet me get the tiny bit of disappointment that I have with the upcoming game Rock Band out of the way first: What? No keyboards? They’re the most computer-ready interface devices to make! You suck.

That little gripe aside, I’m looking forward to Rock Band, the next step in the evolution of the Guitar Hero game. While Guitar Hero let one player at a time “play guitar” and Guitar Hero II let a single player “play” either guitar or bass, Rock Band offers, Rock Band lets up to four people play simultaneously, each one taking the role of guitarist, bassist, drummer or lead vocalist. As you can see from the screenshot above, gameplay looks like a hybrid of Guitar Hero for the instrument roles and Karaoke Revolution for the vocalist role.

Joystiq has just published the news on Rock Band’s release date and price. Rock Band for the XBox 360 and the PlayStation 3 will hit the shelves in the U.S. on Friday, November 23rd, with the PlayStation 2 version following on December 10th. November 23rd is “Black Friday” — for our non-American readers, this is the Friday of the American Thanksgiving long weekend. Being the last holiday before Christmas, it’s the biggest shopping day of the year and a day which puts a lot of stores “in the black”, hence the name. Shopping malls in the U.S. open ridiculously early on that day (we’re talking hours before sunrise) and the crowds are insane. Occasionally fights break out; perhaps the makers of Rock Band want shoppers to have the full rock concert experience — the Woodstock 1999 experience, that is.

The full Rock Band bundle will sell for the following consoles:

  • XBox 360: $170
  • PlayStation 3: $170
  • PlayStation 2: $160

The bundle will include:

  • The game itself (regular price $60 for the XBox 360 and PS 3, $50 for the PS2)
  • Guitar controller (reg. $60, but wired on Xbox 360, wireless is separate and $80)
  • Drum controller (reg. $80, wired)
  • Microphone (reg. $30, wired)

According to Wikipedia, the following songs have been announced for the game:

  • “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” – Jet
  • “Black Hole Sun” – Soundgarden
  • “Blitzkrieg Bop” – Ramones
  • “Brainpower” – Freezepop
  • “Celebrity Skin” – Hole
  • “Cherub Rock” – Smashing Pumpkins
  • “Creep” – Radiohead
  • “Dani California” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  • “Detroit Rock City” – Kiss
  • “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” – Blue Öyster Cult
  • “Enter Sandman” – Metallica
  • “Epic” – Faith No More
  • “Gimme Shelter” – Rolling Stones
  • “Go with the Flow” – Queens of the Stone Age
  • “The Hand That Feeds” – Nine Inch Nails
  • “Here It Goes Again” – OK Go
  • “Highway Star” – Deep Purple
  • “I Think I’m Paranoid” – Garbage
  • “In Bloom” – Nirvana
  • “Learn to Fly” – Foo Fighters
  • “Main Offender” – The Hives
  • “Maps” – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
  • “Mississippi Queen” – Mountain
  • “Orange Crush” – R.E.M.
  • “Paranoid” – Black Sabbath
  • “Reptilia” – The Strokes
  • “Sabotage” – Beastie Boys
  • “Say It Ain’t So” – Weezer
  • “Should I Stay or Should I Go” – The Clash
  • “Suffragette City” – David Bowie
  • “Tom Sawyer” – Rush
  • “Vasoline” – Stone Temple Pilots
  • “Wanted Dead or Alive” – Bon Jovi
  • “Wave of Mutilation” – Pixies
  • “Won’t Get Fooled Again” – The Who

I think this is a pretty good collection of songs; a number of them are either in my accordion repertoire or were on the set lists of bands with whom I played keyboards.

Most of the tunes listed will use the original master tracks. I suspect that the game will use the bowlderized lyrics for Radiohead’s Creep (“You’re so very special” rather than “You’re so fucking special”), and I hope that Don’t Fear the Reaper has a special “cowbell” mode. I also think that The Perfect Drug might’ve been a better Nine Inch Nails tune, even if only to give the drummer a challenge (there’s a killer drum solo near the end of the song).

The inclusion of a tune by Boston-based synthpop band Freezepop seems a little odd — they’d fit better in a game that offered keyboard controllers. This may be a prank by a Wikipedia contributor.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Mike Brady September 29, 2007 at 1:17 pm

“The inclusion of a tune by Boston-based synthpop band Freezepop seems a little odd…”

Not at all. Freezepop was a staple of Harmonix’s earlier rhythm-based games “Frequency” and “Amplitude”, and in fact it was those games that catapulted the band to fame. Incidentally, one of the members of Freezepop, Kasson Crooker, is the Audio Director at Harmonix (and wrote or remixed many of the songs featured in the aforementioned games under various pseudonyms).

Kasson’s work has been outstanding to date, and I have every confidence that you will be pleasantly surprised by how well Freezepop translates to “Rock Band” – assuming this is true, of course…

2 Jeff Atwood September 29, 2007 at 4:18 pm

What Mike said. Our CEO looooooves playing that “Less Talk More Rokk” bonus track in GH2. Which is essentially a keytar song, it’s about as un-rokk as one can get.

Fun to play though.

3 Jeff Atwood September 29, 2007 at 4:24 pm

> PlayStation 2: $160

Er.. I don’t think so. Would be nice though.

4 Jeff Atwood October 1, 2007 at 1:49 pm

Mea culpa. It looks like there WILL be a PS2 version of Rock Band, although it’ll be released a few weeks after the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions. Who knew?

5 Joey deVilla October 1, 2007 at 2:51 pm

@Jeff Atwood: No sweat.

When I first saw the announcement about the PS2 version, I did a double take. I thought that it might be too slow a machine to handle 4 players, but then again, maybe it might only take 2 players at any given time. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

I’m not too worried about what the PS2 version lacks, though — although I have a PS2, I’ve also got an XBox 360.

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