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Tuning Up: Rock Band 4 Crowdfunding PC Port

Plastic-bashing rhythm game Rock Band 4 [official site] may roll on over from consoles to PC, if creators Harmonix can raise $1,500,000 (£1.1m-ish) from would-be shredders. Today they launched a crowdfunding campaign through Fig to fund a PC port, which they hope to release in autumn 2016. If they make it, they’ll add one big feature not on consoles: they’ll bring back the Rock Band Network tools for musicians to turn their own songs into game tracks and sell them via the Steam Workshop.

For folks who missed the craze in the noughties, I’ll explain. Rock Band is the video game equivalent of singing into a hair brush, the dream belting out rock hits in the world’s most popular cover band. It gives you diddy toy guitars to hold and toy drums to wail on, hitting colour-coded buttons in time to on-screen prompts, and plastic actual microphones to sing into. It’s a bit of a larf, innit?

Rock Band 4 came out on consoles in October 2015, so the game does actually exist. Harmonix have partnered with Sumo Digital for the PC port. Harmonix estimate it’ll cost $2 million to bring over and test and whatnot, but will pay for the other $500,000 themselves. If you fancy supporting it, a $49 pledge would get you a copy of the finished game (it’ll cost $60 to buy at launch) – though of course you’ll need to provide your own plastic instruments (it’ll support Rock Band instruments from a range of consoles). You can still pick those up for a couple of quid in charity shops, last I saw.

As for Rock Band Network, it’s a scheme they ran on consoles for earlier versions of Rock Band but shut down. It’ll let musicians turn their own songs into Rock Band tracks and sell them via the Steam Workshop – yes, they will check you’re not just jacking Britney’s tracks. It means the selection isn’t limited to what Harmonix choose for the game or sell as DLC, see.

Rock Band 4 has 35 days to reach its $1.5m goal on Fig. That’s the game-oriented crowdfunding site founded by folks including a former Double Fine chap, which has an advisory board including experienced crowdfundings like Double Fine’s Tim Schafer, inXile’s Brian Fargo, and – hey! – Harmonix’s Alex Rigopulos. I’m sure Rigopulos will be full of bright ideas for Rock Band. It’s also the crowdfunding site with the option to actually, properly, financially invest. Fig’s pretty new, but has funded small games like Outer Wilds and bigger ones like Psychonauts 2.

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Alice O'Connor

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When not writing news, Alice may be found in the sea.

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