Rock out with your goggs out in Rock Band VR in March

Harmonix may have failed to crowdfund a PC port of Rock Band 4 but their rhythm game is soon coming our way for folks already committed to a plastic peripheral lifestyle. Rock Band VR [official site] will launch for Oculus Rift on March 23rd, Harmonix have announced, letting goggheads jack in to rock out on a virtual stage. It’ll need the Oculus Touch motion controller as well as a console Rock Band 4 guitar controller. Here, have a cybergander in this new mixed-reality trailer:

That video’s showing off Performance mode, which is a touch more freeform than regular Rock Band and tailored for VR. Harmonix say:

“In this mode, players experiment with different chords, notes and strum speeds to develop their signature sound and make each performance their own. It’s a completely new kind of music gameplay, it’s perfectly suited to VR, and it’s unlike anything else Harmonix has ever created.

“While the gameplay may have changed, scoring and leaderboards remain as central to the Rock Band experience as ever. Players will need to develop a mastery of Rock Band VR’s new gameplay mechanics if they want to claim a top spot. Chaining together chords and notes into musical phrases and combos will earn players points, while timely deployment of overdrive and signature rock moves, like head banging in time to the music, will trigger multipliers to boost scores even further, earning more stars. It’s a deep, complex system that rewards both technical proficiency and creativity.”

That sounds pretty neat! Some good changes to better suit cyberspace. Rock Band VR will also have a Classic mode for folks who want to clack away the usual way.

March 23rd, then. You can bring your own plastic guitar, or Amazon US are selling a $70 bundle with the game plus an Xbone or PS4 guitar.


  1. Kefren says:

    I like the idea of looking round and being on stage, but it all seems a step back in other ways for me.

    The only reason I still have a console (Xbox 360) is to play Rock Band 3 with friends. I started with the simple 5 button peripherals, then moved on to a Rock Band 3 Pro Guitar (and we had a pro midi drum kit and microphone and keyboard). Then I couldn’t go back to the 5 button peripheral (or play all the old knock-off music games again, even Beatles rock Band). And then I realised I could use pro mode to learn the guitar properly. So we attached dongles that makes the Xbox think we have a pro guitar, bass and drumkit attached, so it scrolls the tab for each on the screen, along with vocals. But we really use a real guitar, bass and electronic drumkit plugged into an amp and play along. Obviously the game doesn’t tell you if you get a note wrong, but you know that anyway! It’s basically a way of giving us all guide tabs at the same time, but we’re playing the real instruments, and eventually turn off the Xbox and keep practicing. So no, I can’t ever go back to anything that isn’t tabbed for a real guitar. The real thing is too much fun.

    • Skid says:

      I share a similar sentiment, all be it with a different game, steam tells me I’ve put in 700 hours worth of practice (I use that term loosely I’ve rarely use the game properly to practice) into Rocksmith and Rocksmith 2014 combined. So the idea of grabbing a fake instrument again, and pretending to play, when I can play the real thing now thanks to Rocksmith, seems like a few hundred steps backwards.

    • Jekhar says:

      Do you remember the time you picked up that simple 5 button guitar toy and just had fun? How all the “real” musicians would diss you and told you to just play a “real” guitar and stop pretending?

      Now your’re on the other side. But there are still people out there who just want to have fun pretending.

      • Kefren says:

        I’m not saying people can’t use simple controllers – just that it’s nice to have the option. If they’d included the feature in Rock Band 1 and 2 I’d have switched to real guitars years ago, I hadn’t even realised it would be possible to use the game as a means of transition. Whereas now it looks like they are cutting back on that option, which is a shame in terms of giving people the option to advance to whatever level they want. What had been a game+realskills now goes back to only being a game.

        • Jekhar says:

          Ok, sorry then. I misread your post as the usual guitarist snobbery, but them dropping that feature sucks, i can see that.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    Only occulus? See, this is why we need to funnel it down to just one VR system, so we don’t end up with the exclusives problem that consoles have.

    • Herring says:

      That’s why I want Vive/OpenVR to “win” this hardware war; so I can be free to pick a different headset in the future :)

    • Xzi says:

      I’m not seeing any reason this shouldn’t work with Revive, the only purpose of the Touch controller is tracking the guitar. So as long as you can find a way to strap a Vive controller to it instead, you should be good to go.

  3. PiiSmith says:

    This video looks really bad. I agree that Rocksmith (2014 now Remastered) is the way to go. Using a plastic button instrument in VR does not make it any better.

  4. liquidsoap89 says:

    Having recently started learning to play the guitar (using Rocksmith), I can’t imagine I’d be able to switch back to the basic 5 button set up.

    But at the same time it would be impossible for me to try playing a guitar with goggles stuck on my face, so maybe this is the best option…

  5. Danda says:

    Harmonix asked us to fund Rock Band for PC and we didn’t help them (well, you didn’t… I actually pledged some money on Fig), so they got Facebook to pay for it. It sounds really unfair that we can’t have what is technically a PC game, but we had our chance and we blew it.

    By the way, I love Rocksmith. You should give it a try.