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Harmonix: independence is "terrific"

Rock Band dev details flurry of activity.

Harmonix's split from Viacom earlier this year has rejuvenated the studio and inspired a flurry of creativity, the developer has told Eurogamer.

The Rock Band outfit's vice president of production Tracy Rosenthal-Newsom explained that its new self-owned status has opened up a number of exciting avenues.

"I think it has been a terrific opportunity for us," she explained.

"We are very well supported but really the most important thing is there's a huge amount of creative energy that has bubbled up during our independence.

"As we've been in development on Dance Central 2 we've also been in development on a bunch of new ideas. It's just been terrific to see the company get back to the core collaborative design process that we have – putting small games together, making prototypes and thinking up really innovative gameplay. We're super excited to see what comes of that in the future."

As revealed earlier this year, a mysterious title called Vidrhythm is among the projects being worked on, though Rosenthal-Newsom was reluctant to offer any details as to exactly what that is.

"It's going to be fun. You'll hear about it in the future. We're not giving a timeline on it but you'll be hearing about it pretty soon," was all we could coax out of her.

Aside from the secret stuff and, of course, Dance Central 2, Harmonix also plans to keep on pumping out the Rock Band 3 content.

"It's still a very successful business for us. There are a tonne of Rock Band players out there waiting to see what's next every week. We've get a lot of really high profile artist [lined up]. There's been a real focus on some incredible content and that will continue on week after week," she noted.

However, she remained coy when asked whether a new disc-based entry in the franchise is currently in the works.

"At this point we're not announcing anything. Right now our focus is on Rock Band DLC."

Communications director John Drake also chimed in, insisting that Rock Band 3 still has plenty of life in it.

"With how big Rock Band 3 was – a 93 Metacritic and all the pro features... I don't think our players have necessarily conquered Rock Band 3 yet, so we may have a way to go with that franchise with more songs."

Despite industry doom-mongering about the health of the music genre following the demise of Guitar Hero and its associated spin-offs earlier this year, Rosenthal-Newsom added that Harmonix still sees plenty of opportunity in the sector.

"Honestly, I think music games generally are always going to be popular. People connect with music every day of their lives. It's something that is really meaningful to them. I think there are a lot of areas where music games can continue to expand."

Dance Central 2 shimmies its way onto Kinect this Autumn.

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Fred Dutton

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Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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