Ich habe jüngst ein Interview mit Matthew Nordhaus von Harmonix abgehalten,. Wir sprachen über Rock Band Blitz und auch ein wenig über die Zukunft der Musikspiele. Das Interview inklusive einer kleinen Übersicht zum Spiel findet ihr auf GamersGlobal.de, und zwar hier.
Hier auf Karaokefreak.de könnt ihr allerdings auch die Originalfassung des Interviews auf Englisch finden. Inhaltlich sind die beiden Fassungen natürlich gleich, aber hier lest ihr den Originalwortlaut ohne stilistische Kürzungen:
Answers by Matthew Nordhaus, Project Director (Rock Band Blitz)
Karaokefreak: Along with Dance Central 3, Rock Band Blitz seems to be your major IP for the year 2012, and traditionally it’s a music based game. Aside from it being an arcade snack full of intense action, what is the main approach? Do you see it more as a kind of rock band without plastic gear, Frequency 3.0 or as s completely new experience?
Matthew Nordhaus: We have a large community that still plays Rock Band 3 regularly. People love the game, the cooperative and performance aspect of it, and none of that is going away anytime soon.
We see Blitz as playing alongside Rock Band 3, not trying to replace it. Rock Band Blitz is focused on competition and arcade game fun, and we are not trying to replace the music performance aspect of Rock Band 3, just give people a complementary experience.
It’s primarily a way to allow people to play their Rock Band DLC in a new way, and to use the enormous library of content that we have to its best advantage.
Karaokefreak: Mixing musical interaction with “game-y” power ups is something you tried to avoid in the main rock band series – I think overdrive is the only comparable feature that comes to my mind, everything else e.g. Unison bonus etc. – works rather passively.
Was this a conscious decision in the first place or was it simply necessary in order to enrich the experience after testing first drafts? Maybe you want to give us some insight on how Harmonix developed blitz.
Matthew Nordhaus: This was a very conscious choice from the beginning. Rock Band has always focused on musical performance and authenticity. With a smaller arcade game we could try to focus on another aspect of fun: melding the musical experience with (as you accurately call it) a very game-y experience. Our choice was to move the focus of your gameplay away from note to note beatmatch and create a challenge that was measure to measure: gather energy, choose a path, pick a powerup note and deploy it.
Although we went through many iterations of the core gameplay as we developed the game, this goal was always uppermost in our minds. And I’m happy to say that I feel like we succeeded: people who have played the game come away with a sense that there is a tremendous amount going on at all times, and that there is a depth to the gameplay (in terms of achieving the highest score) that is difficult to master.
Karaokefreak: Of course there is a reason why I ask this. A lot of people wonder what is going to become of music games as we know them. Some people say their heydays are over. Still, a solid number of music gamers watch the scene. And since Harmonix has always played a major role in this genre, people wonder if rock band blitz is the first impulse back to the “more game than music” relation. You know, after the heavy contrast that rock band 3′s pro guitar brought us…
Matthew Nordhaus: I’m not qualified to speak to the future of gaming markets as a whole. Obviously the audience for rhythm games has contracted in the last year, but it’s still very large by most standards, and I don’t think (just my opinion) that music games as a genre are going to disappear completely, ever.
I also don’t think that anyone should take Blitz and predict that it’s the beginning of some new permanent gaming focus for Harmonix. We had an idea for a game that was fun, achievable, and had a great shot at getting our audience excited and playing Rock Band again. We built it and now we’re going to watch how our fans enjoy it. Whatever happens next hasn’t been written yet…
Karaokefreak: You designed blitz for normal controllers, which increases the possible audience, since there are no instruments necessary. Still, some people wished for optional use of instruments. Someone even pointed out that blitz could work well using drums. In my opinion this could have been a wonderful crossover of peripheral use just like we had it with the first guitar hero titles- remember? Some people rocked even the hardest songs with normal joypads. Is there still a chance for drum integration?
Matthew Nordhaus: Not at this point. I totally understand people’s desires to play the plastic instruments. But, you know, this game is about having a controller in your hand and making it easy and quick to play the game.
I had a long discussion with our fans on the forums at rockband.com about this. If it had been a simple and easy integration that was fair to the controller player we absolutely would have implemented it. The problem with drums is playing the sustained notes: there’s no easy way to do it that doesn’t either make it always worse to play drums or always better.
Karaokefreak: This is a short one: The setlist of blitz as far as we know it is very nice and full of variety. Will there be a special surprise in the songlist that we don’t know yet? I won’t mention any names, but there are enough threads in your forums full with patient fans waiting for songs from two bands starting with letter M…. Among others that had no appearance in rock band yet.
Matthew Nordhaus: Do you mean Med Zeppelin? Or Mink Floyd? Seriously, though, can’t give any more hints about the setlist, but we’re excited for what we’ve pulled together. Stay tuned for more reveals as we get closer to launch later this summer!