Rock Band 3: A Keyboard, Really?


An article regarding Rock Band 3 and the introduction of a new instrument;
As hinted in the Green Day: Rock Band demo that was released this week, Rock Band 3 could be utilizing a keyboard/keytar peripheral. This is big news for fans of the music genre, one that has seen interest decline in recent times.
The music game genre has seen numbers drop substantially in recent years. Titles like Guitar Hero 5 and The Beatles: Rock Band performed well, but well below expectations. Many would attribute this to general consumer malaise, as well as over-saturation. Last year alone saw the release of a ton of music games from the Guitar Hero and Rock Band franchises, including the two aforementioned titles as well as Rock Band: Unplugged for the PSP and spin-offs like DJ Hero and Band Hero. Titles in the genre have began to run together, with only incremental updates being offered from year to year and not much of a reason to plunk down another 60 bucks outside of some new tracks.
The addition of a keyboard peripheral to music games is an intriguing one, and one that could be a real shot in the arm for the genre. There are quite a few songs out there that utilize the instrument to great effect, including songs from classic bands like Pink Floyd and Styx, as well as newer fare like Freezepop. Some songs in music games have even attempted to utilize the guitar peripheral in place of keyboards, most recently in games like Guitar Hero 5, which had players performing well-known parts from songs like Peter Frampton’s “Do You Feel Like We Do” and Stevie Wonder’s “Superstitious.” There are some great possibilities for the instrument, and adding in another player to the party is never a bad move.
The specifics of adding keyboards to the mix are unknown at this point, as well as how they can be incorporated into the mix. It’s not yet known how many songs will be able to utilize them, especially considering how not all rock songs include them. While finding a song that includes drums, guitar, bass, and vocals is easy in most genres of music, keyboards are much more rare in many rock songs. This could lead to two possible outcomes; either every song in Rock Band 3 will not utilize the instrument, or the game will only offer tracks that support it. Either case could be limiting to a potential fan base.
However, the biggest issue that Rock Band 3 and its alleged new keyboard peripheral might face is instrument burnout. At this point, many a gamer’s living room is cluttered with all manner of plastic toy guitars, drumsets and microphones and even turntables from games like Guitar Hero, Lips, Rock Band, DJ Hero, and so on. Finding a place for all these “instruments” is a tough feat, and I personally have devoted more than enough closet space to all manner of peripherals, and should Rock Band 3 offer up a new keyboard peripheral, that space will get even more slim.
My view on this is simple, how many more instruments can they make?
What next, Rock Band: Big Band, may have to patent that!
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