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Green Day: Rock Band Hands-On

The kings of pop punk are getting their own Rock Band game, and Harmonix swings through the Giant Bomb offices to give us a look.


When asked to describe a sequel, or even a game inspired by other games, I have a really despicable habit of reductively declaring "it sure is [insert franchise name], alright!" Now, I'm prefacing my hands-on impressions of Green Day: Rock Band with this acknowledgement because, well, Green Day: Rock Band sure is Rock Band, alright. If you've seen the track list for the game, then you already have the bulk of the information you'll need to know whether or not this is a game for you. But I want to be clear here that this is not a bad thing. Regardless of whether you think the band warrants its own Rock Band game, Green Day has a deep catalog of seriously catchy-ass pop-punk songs that work really well for this format.

The track list for Green Day: Rock Band is almost exactly the track list I would've come up with for a Green Day Greatest Hits compilation. All of Dookie, all of American Idiot, most of 21st Century Breakdown, and the singles from Insomniac, Nimrod, and Warning. Boom, done. I might've included some tracks from Kerplunk!, but it's not surprising to learn that no multitrack recordings for those songs exist. Aside from the 47 songs on the disc, the game will support the six songs from 21st Century Breakdown that have already been released as Rock Band DLC, though it's kind of a bummer that those DLC songs won't be included on the disc. Don't expect any other DLC for Green Day: Rock Band either, though Harmonix's Chris Foster expressed interest in bringing some of the Green Day side projects like Pinhead Gunpowder and The Network to Rock Band. You'll be able to export all the songs from Green Day: Rock Band for play in Rock Band Prime, though for a $10 premium.

Harmonix pretty much set the gold standard for how to approach single-band music games with The Beatles: Rock Band, so it's unsurprising that Green Day: Rock Band is looking like a more modest version of that, including the three-part vocal harmonies and the broad autobiographical structure. The game will feature three venues and three different versions of the band, each representing a different era for Green Day. The Warehouse, which is where you'll play Dookie, is an amalgam of the sorts of house parties and squatter spaces the band played in early on--look closely, and you'll see the Bookmobile that Green Day used to tour in. Milton Keynes was the site of Bullet in a Bible, Green Day's 2004 concert DVD, and will serve as the venue for songs from Insomniac, Nimrod, Warning, and American Idiot. Finally there's Fox Theater in Oakland, which is where you'll play songs from 21st Century Breakdown

All three seem suitable venues, though to be honest, what jumped out at me was what wasn't there. Green Day's performance at Woodstock '94 always struck me as one of their most well-remembered. I asked about the omission of 924 Gilman Street, the famous Berkeley, California venue where Green Day got its start, and the rationale seemed reasonable: by the time Green Day had released Dookie, the band had already been exiled from Gilman, which has a staunch policy of barring major-label acts from playing, so such an inclusion would've seemed disrespectful.

What's most exciting about Green Day: Rock Band for me is that maybe I'll finally learn some of their lyrics, despite the fact that I've been singing along with them in my car for a good 15 years now. I'm also intrigued by the bonus materials, which is where Harmonix's MTV connection really flourishes, giving them access to lots of footage and photos from old interviews and concerts. As a teenager growing up in the Bay Area in the mid-90s--where everyone and their brother, cousin, stepmom, etc. had an "I knew them when" story about Green Day--I have always been particularly susceptible to Green Day's smart-ass charms, so expect to find me playing Green Day: Rock Band on its June 8th release date... all by myself.
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Posted by Ryan

When asked to describe a sequel, or even a game inspired by other games, I have a really despicable habit of reductively declaring "it sure is [insert franchise name], alright!" Now, I'm prefacing my hands-on impressions of Green Day: Rock Band with this acknowledgement because, well, Green Day: Rock Band sure is Rock Band, alright. If you've seen the track list for the game, then you already have the bulk of the information you'll need to know whether or not this is a game for you. But I want to be clear here that this is not a bad thing. Regardless of whether you think the band warrants its own Rock Band game, Green Day has a deep catalog of seriously catchy-ass pop-punk songs that work really well for this format.

The track list for Green Day: Rock Band is almost exactly the track list I would've come up with for a Green Day Greatest Hits compilation. All of Dookie, all of American Idiot, most of 21st Century Breakdown, and the singles from Insomniac, Nimrod, and Warning. Boom, done. I might've included some tracks from Kerplunk!, but it's not surprising to learn that no multitrack recordings for those songs exist. Aside from the 47 songs on the disc, the game will support the six songs from 21st Century Breakdown that have already been released as Rock Band DLC, though it's kind of a bummer that those DLC songs won't be included on the disc. Don't expect any other DLC for Green Day: Rock Band either, though Harmonix's Chris Foster expressed interest in bringing some of the Green Day side projects like Pinhead Gunpowder and The Network to Rock Band. You'll be able to export all the songs from Green Day: Rock Band for play in Rock Band Prime, though for a $10 premium.

Harmonix pretty much set the gold standard for how to approach single-band music games with The Beatles: Rock Band, so it's unsurprising that Green Day: Rock Band is looking like a more modest version of that, including the three-part vocal harmonies and the broad autobiographical structure. The game will feature three venues and three different versions of the band, each representing a different era for Green Day. The Warehouse, which is where you'll play Dookie, is an amalgam of the sorts of house parties and squatter spaces the band played in early on--look closely, and you'll see the Bookmobile that Green Day used to tour in. Milton Keynes was the site of Bullet in a Bible, Green Day's 2004 concert DVD, and will serve as the venue for songs from Insomniac, Nimrod, Warning, and American Idiot. Finally there's Fox Theater in Oakland, which is where you'll play songs from 21st Century Breakdown

All three seem suitable venues, though to be honest, what jumped out at me was what wasn't there. Green Day's performance at Woodstock '94 always struck me as one of their most well-remembered. I asked about the omission of 924 Gilman Street, the famous Berkeley, California venue where Green Day got its start, and the rationale seemed reasonable: by the time Green Day had released Dookie, the band had already been exiled from Gilman, which has a staunch policy of barring major-label acts from playing, so such an inclusion would've seemed disrespectful.

What's most exciting about Green Day: Rock Band for me is that maybe I'll finally learn some of their lyrics, despite the fact that I've been singing along with them in my car for a good 15 years now. I'm also intrigued by the bonus materials, which is where Harmonix's MTV connection really flourishes, giving them access to lots of footage and photos from old interviews and concerts. As a teenager growing up in the Bay Area in the mid-90s--where everyone and their brother, cousin, stepmom, etc. had an "I knew them when" story about Green Day--I have always been particularly susceptible to Green Day's smart-ass charms, so expect to find me playing Green Day: Rock Band on its June 8th release date... all by myself.
Staff
Edited by Venatio

Still like Green Day so I'm pretty interested in this

Posted by Rhaknar

i like Green Day, thats right, i said it!

Posted by Kbm600

Never liked Green Day or rhythm games, guess this just wasn't made for me.

Posted by Zaapp1

I've heard boulevard, that's about it...

Posted by 234r2we232

:( :( Why not a good band? Heck, even a relevant band. I love RB, but this, I will be avoiding. Trying to forget that this is what's delaying RB3.

Posted by raiz265

yawn

Posted by punkxblaze

It sure is Green Day and also Rock Band, alright.

Edited by birdman
@sofacitysweetheart: 
 
Green Day is pretty relevant to the kids these days, and that's what MTV is banking on.
 
Also, a different studio is primarily making this game, with Harmonix doing just the charts(like what happened for Lego Rock Band). This isn't delaying RB3 in the least bit.
Posted by Jeffsekai

God dammit, im sorry but fuck Green Day.

Posted by 234r2we232
@birdman:  They were for like 3 months, 2 years ago. I guess they settled on Green Day when Blink 182 said no.
Posted by TheGreatGuero

Maybe I'll rent it. I don't know.

Posted by papercut

I dunno man, green day now kinda sucks.

Edited by Trace

And when no one was lookin'...I was thinking of this game. Oh yeah, did I mention...it looks kind of neat. (All by myself.)
 
Dunno if I'll pick it up on day one, but I'll definitely get it at some point.

Moderator
Posted by TatsurouXIII

green day = lol.

Posted by SPACETURTLE

Goddamnit! I f'n' HATE green day!

Posted by Freelancer52

I like a lot of green day's work, but I really don't think they have enough good songs to justify a full game
Posted by birdman
Posted by Neurogamer

Green Day are my all time favorite band, and I couldn't be more stoked!!! Anyone who seen 'em live knows just how much they can work a crowd, it's a phenomenal time! They really give it their all and there's hardly any barrier between both parties. I really hope the game captures some of that vibe.

Posted by 234r2we232
@birdman:  The sales figures for the Green Day DLC in Rock Band's store says otherwise. If you're going to try to tell me that those that buy video games and those that pick up pop albums are different people, well, i'm not sure what you're trying to say.
 
And if they're just 'making the charts', that's still delaying. So bad :(
Posted by Dpower94

I didn't realize I was one of about five people in the gaming community that like Green Day, but this website and the rampant flaming on Kotaku has informed me of that. But whatever, I still like me some Dookie and American Idiot. Bring it on, Harmonix.  
 
And Nice "F.O.D" reference there, Ryan, lol.

Posted by BenderUnit22

Harmonix did well with The Beatles and I guess it's a treat for Green Day fans, but I have zero interest in this.

Posted by Little_Socrates

Sounds just right to me, I'm not a hardcore enough Green Day fan that I'll recognize any of the inconsistencies. It'll be cool to see Green Day through another format.

Posted by ZmillA

all right

Posted by ColinRyan

I like Green Day  *waits for people to tell me why I'm wrong*

Posted by birdman
@sofacitysweetheart: 
 
The average joe is less likely to buy DLC, you know that. If he sees a box that says Green Day Rock Band and he likes Green Day, there's a higher chance he'll buy it. 
 
I'm just saying that using Green Day is the best shot Harmonix and MTV have with selling a band game. The Beatles: Rock Band did not nearly as well as people thought given how hugely popular they still are, and so going with a more recently popular band makes sense.
Posted by Verge

. . . .  No one was looking, I was thinking of you. ;)

Posted by TheYear20XX
@sofacitysweetheart said:
" :( :( Why not a good band? Heck, even a relevant band. I love RB, but this, I will be avoiding. Trying to forget that this is what's delaying RB3. "
RB3 doesn't even have a release date yet, how can it have been "delayed"?
Posted by SpaceInsomniac

The track list to this game is a giant "fuck you" to anyone who was a fan of the band before Dookie, or after Dookie until the band became all "political" in a sorry, pointless, Rage Against the Machine way.
 

Posted by blaakmawf

I'm not really a fan of green day, but I am going to buy this game.

Posted by AltonBrown
@Dpower94:  Hey, Green Day is a hell of a band.
Online
Posted by skrutop

Hey Ryan, I'm not sure if it's in the scope of your hands-on, but they do have a Plus edition that includes the existing 21st Century Breakdown DLC and an export code to Rock Band for $10.  So it's not exactly free, but it's cheaper than just getting the DLC, then the game, then the export code.

Posted by Little_Socrates
@SpaceInsomniac: Well, if Kerplunk doesn't have individual four-track masters, you know 39/Smooth doesn't either. It's the same reason Pink Floyd will never have a Rock Band game; they don't have masters that function for the game, and unless they're going to re-record them, they can't use them. 
 
As for the three albums between Dookie and American Idiot, there can't honestly be more than a few tracks on there that aren't on disc that you wanted, can there? Those albums are fine, sure, but they chose the standouts for me for sure.
Posted by max3000

Fuck Green Day. There, I said it.

Posted by cmac2099

Playing Dookie just isn't worth the price of entry for me.

Posted by Bam_D_Leprechaun

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Edited by 234r2we232
@MisuseOfLasers:  Anything that hinders the production of another thing is a delay. Especially those with the prefix "Green Day".
Posted by JJWeatherman

I wish there were more Nimrod tracks. Oh well.

Posted by JakJ

I can already play Dookie and some of American Idiot on a real guitar. That's where my interest in Green Day stops.
 
Don't peg me as an asshole or anything though - I'm still happy for Green Day fans. If only everyone's favorite band could have a game like this, the (rhythm game) world would be a perfect place.

Posted by Dysnomia

I'll probably pick this up. I fuckin loved Green Day pre 21st Century Breakdown. Nimrod is probably my favorite album of all time.

Posted by Bummey

Punk is truly dead.

Online
Posted by clubsammich

Booooooooooooo

Posted by neillyb

Still waiting for Devin Townsend: Rock Band. 
 
Haha

Posted by TomA

green day sucks

Posted by copycatzen

fuck the haters!!!!!! Nice said Bryan "Regardless of whether you think the band warrants its own Rock Band game "
Posted by Milkman

I'm sure all the kids who know nothing about Green Day before American Idiot will hate on this but for a Green Day fan, this looks pretty sweet. The Beatles: Rock Band delivered pretty much everything a Beatles fan could want in a music game and this appears to be doing the same thing, even if it seems a little "21st Century Breakdown" heavy.

Online
Posted by Atom

Shame about the lack of songs from their first two albums, but it's nice to see there' s a good reason for it :P
 
They where one of my favorite bands when I was a teenager, but I only liked a couple songs from American Idiot and 21st Century... Not sure if the song selection will be worth my money. 

Edited by RoyaleWifCheese

My sheer affinity for the early catalog is what justifies my interest in this. Though, with audio remastering tech available today, there's no excuse for not throwing a little Kerplunk or 39/Smooth in there.

Posted by bretthancock
@Bummey: the year 2000 wants its catch phrase back.
Edited by CptBedlam

I would've bought maybe 3 or 4 of their songs as DLC for RB. But a whole game? Not interested at all... too much of the same.
 
(good for fans of the band though)

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