Rock Band and Dance Central developer Harmonix’s Chroma is a very, very neat idea. Work with me on this: arena shooting is great fun, and so is music that thumps like it’s the pulse of the entire planet, right? Well, on paper Harmonix’s plan was to combine the two, as they explained to me earlier this year. Apparently, however, the game’s blend of toe-tapping (though admittedly disparate) elements didn’t quite work out in playable alpha form. One small community test later, Harmonix has decided to try marching to the beat of a different drummer.
The developer sent out an email to fans and testers admitting that Chroma needs a pretty serious overhaul before it’s ready for primetime. Live and learn, basically, with a lot of jazz-hands-ing and dubstep-gunning somewhere in the middle.
“Based on the terrific feedback we got from all of you in the community, as well as our own analysis, we have concluded that Chroma will need some substantial retooling to be the game we want it to be. We remain passionately committed to the high-level vision, and we think there are some very successful mechanics and systems in the existing build. The team has, in fact, already started prototyping new directions for the game based on those successful mechanics. We look forward to sharing more with you down the line, as Chroma evolves in new directions.”
“This is the first time Harmonix has ever done a public alpha on very early gameplay prototypes, and the experience has been wonderful all around. The feedback from the outstanding alpha players was amazing and we’re truly in your debt. It’s been really inspiring to have constructive criticism and optimistic support from an invested community.”
Chroma’s current test will come to a close on June 4th, which means you can still groove along from home until then if you got in.
Hopefully time will allow Harmonix to make the idea really sing, as I think there’s definite potential in it. Certainly, though, it’s something that demands to be executed with utmost precision, given that so many of the proposed rhythm and action elements could unbalance things or confuse people or clutter up the core game. We’ll see eventually, I suppose.
Did anyone get into the first test? How was it? Is Harmonix at least on the right track?