The Past, Present, and Future of Harmonix: Part I

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#51 Posted by Abomstar (137 posts) -

Great article. It's good to know that Harmonix can still be humble and forthcoming about where the market interest for rhythm games is right now and what they can do about it.

I've considered myself a die-hard Harmonix fan and Rock Band player. Through '08 and '09 especially, I kept current on nearly all the DLC and played each song as competitively as I could on guitar. I was one of those people who would systematically play a song 10+ times in a row to "squeeze" more points out of them. I really did enjoy that process; listening to, and being exposed to, a lot of new music. I continued to buy the majority of the DLC up until the launch of Rock Band 3, when I totally hit a wall and burned out on everything.

It's a shame, because it's really no fault of that game or Harmonix's split with Viacom that it happened, but it was the endgame of the formula of content oversaturation. Looking back at it as a competitive completionist, there were a lot of songs I bought that I could've done without. Going into Rock Band 3 with all that content, wiping the slate clean with my scores, having to figure out new overdrive paths for everything, all while trying to wrap my head around Pro guitar and keyboards, somehow turned Rock Band into something that was rather stressful, not as fulfilling to me, and had a lot of "baggage" involved.

Rock Band Network was a similarly exciting prospect that I think has fallen victim to over-encumbrence. I know that the core fans who work on that stuff work really hard, and deserve all the praise they get, but the laboriousness of it all still tends to create a "gameplay first" environment where certain genres are more or less left sitting in the queue.

I'd love to see Harmonix come out with a new IP that doesn't abandon rock music, but is perhaps a more focused, creative experience that concentrates really hard to enhance a super-cohesive and personalized assortment of songs. Harmonix doesn't even need all the peripherals and 1-1 note correspondence simulation gameplay to create a quality experience. They need a concise, fresh tangent to recapture that spark with people. That said, it's great that they're thinking about reinventing Rock Band while continuing support for DLC, because at this moment the pace is hardly compelling enough for anyone.

#52 Posted by Steven (247 posts) -

Great interview!

#53 Posted by Jerr (531 posts) -

This is one of the best pieces of journalism on GB so far.

#54 Posted by DarthB (251 posts) -

enjoyable shit

#55 Posted by blaakmawf (543 posts) -

Great article, Alex.

#56 Posted by Xeiphyer (5602 posts) -
@Ronald said:

@TruthTellah said:

Correction:Patrick Klepek is the Past, Present, and Future of Harmonix.

#jk Great article, Alex.

[Edit: Whoops, this was supposed to be a picture of him playing guitar, but uh... this'll do.]

Oh god, nobody show this video to Rorie or Patrick will never be seen again.

And great article. Alex's connection to the company seems to help these guys open up more than you normally see developers do. And I still pull out RB3 on occasion and play some. I also pick up some songs when I can and spend an afternoon having fun with them.

What the heck is that from?!
#57 Posted by SlightConfuse (3963 posts) -

interesting article can't wait for part 2

#58 Edited by RuthLoose (807 posts) -

@Xeiphyer said:

@Ronald said:

@TruthTellah said:

Correction:Patrick Klepek is the Past, Present, and Future of Harmonix.

#jk Great article, Alex.

[Edit: Whoops, this was supposed to be a picture of him playing guitar, but uh... this'll do.]

Oh god, nobody show this video to Rorie or Patrick will never be seen again.

And great article. Alex's connection to the company seems to help these guys open up more than you normally see developers do. And I still pull out RB3 on occasion and play some. I also pick up some songs when I can and spend an afternoon having fun with them.

What the heck is that from?!

Oh, that lovely GIF is from Patrick's MGMT days.

He was also a backup xylophone player for The New Pornographers, if you didn't know.

#59 Posted by echelon11 (49 posts) -

Great piece Alex, and props to the Harmonix guys for being up front and candid about all of the corporate bullshittery that comes with making big budget games.

#60 Edited by Mexican_Brownie (201 posts) -

Fantastic interview, Alex.

This was one hell of a read. The folks at Harmonix seem like an interesting and talented bunch so it's good to see that they are doing just fine and that they have ideas for the future; especially after listening to the Bombcast from around the time when Viacom announced they were selling Harmonix.

The discussion on how the decreased popularity of music rhythm games spell a difficult future for Harmonix bummed me out since I honestly think Harmonix is very talented and ambitious studio, but this interview makes it seem like Harmonix future is not at all bleak and that the studio is very much still focused on making good games.

Looking forward to Part 2.

#61 Posted by FredyGarbagis (2 posts) -

You should ask 'em why they put out such a buggy version of Rock Band 3 on Wii. And if they are planning to relaunch it FIXED with the new MadCatz deal.

I'm with the choir, you know, with another 4 friends that plays in Xbox 360 or PS3, and their versions where also broken on the launch, but they had patches. =/

I love HMX anyway, but the glitchy RB3 was hard to swallow. You guys made such a good job with Beatles. It was a perfect port!

#62 Posted by TurdFerguson64 (18 posts) -

Nice Interview Alex. Looking forward to the rest of it.

#63 Posted by Tim_the_Corsair (3065 posts) -

great article, looking forward to part two

#64 Posted by Zolfe (262 posts) -

Alex, if you're wondering why there are so few comments on an article as intense as this one, it's because it's too long, i mean look at it! and now look at all the other tabs you have opened, ready to be clicked on!

you should've cut it into four and not two

#65 Posted by epr_prime (9 posts) -

Great article Alex.

#66 Posted by KaneRobot (1541 posts) -

Still break out RB3 pretty much every week without fail, still buy several tracks a month. It's going to be a sad day when it finally comes to an end.

And a sadder day when I find out my DLC won't transfer over to the next console.

#67 Posted by hagridore (500 posts) -

Great read, Alex.

And I personally don't need Rock Band to be popular. I've all the games, instruments, and am a regular DLC consumer. People who come to my house WILL PLAY ROCK BAND. Hold on, I think I hear the mailman...

#68 Posted by Gregomasta (1541 posts) -

Nice! Great Read Alex! Keep up the good work!

#69 Posted by TenStoryMother (85 posts) -

I loved this article Alex and can't wait for part two. It would be nice to see more interviews like this on GB. Excellent work!

#70 Posted by Hilikus (279 posts) -

I like my Alex sweaty and doughy.

#71 Edited by LegendaryChopChop (1199 posts) -

Excellent piece. Thank you Alex.

I predict the next Rock Band game will use the Kinect and have "air instruments".

#72 Posted by dropabombonit (1490 posts) -

One of the best interviews I have read in a while, great job Alex

#73 Posted by ptc (615 posts) -

Looking forward to Part Deux!

#74 Edited by Brackynews (4063 posts) -

@Hilikus said:

I like my Alex sweaty and doughy.

Dough needs salt to bake. Ifyouknowhutimsayin. Idontevenknowhutimsaying. Whathehelldude. O_o

#75 Posted by Lego_My_Eggo (1029 posts) -

tl;dr... but seriously, this makes me wounder what there working on now and there plans for RB3/4.

#76 Posted by Mikewrestler5 (602 posts) -

Sounds like Harmonix is going to copy Rocksmith.

#77 Posted by B_Heart (180 posts) -

Great article. Looking forward to the next part

#78 Posted by MadLaughter (200 posts) -

Amazing article, Alex. Great questions.

#79 Posted by Stahlbrand (838 posts) -

Good read.

#80 Posted by jasondesante (603 posts) -

when the 2nd wave starts up, harmonix will stand on top. publishing rock band: guitar hero with activision lol

#81 Posted by ptys (1935 posts) -

Great opportunity to do a documentary on them, I'd watch it!

#82 Posted by UnsolvedParadox (1863 posts) -

Awesome and insightful interview. While Patrick has come in and brought a lot of great features to Giant Bomb, I feel that Alex also deserves a huge amount of praise for stepping up and bringing his own compelling long form journalism to the site (all while holding it down over at Screened, too)!

#83 Posted by Jimmi (166 posts) -

Sorry but I can't help myself.

It's spelled "vis-a-vis".

This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

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