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Rock Band details emerge

Be the next Pugwall.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

New details for EA's ambitious Rock Band have been revealed, highlighting how each peripheral will work and what you can expect from the game.

The information arose from the most recent edition of Game Informer magazine. EA was unavailable for comment at time of writing.

There's four separate campaigns, one for each of the instruments: guitar, bass, drum and vocal. You can play through each alone, or in one big holding-hands co-operative mode. You'll also be able to go online with your full band, and apparently each member can choose a different difficulty setting.

Finding band members will apparently be a cinch, too, thanks to a bunch of new community features. You'll even be able to pump your recordings out across the world, but exact details are being kept under wraps.

The layout will put the guitar on the left of the screen, bass on right and drums down the middle - with the fret-boards now transparent so you can see what's going on in the background. Vocals will scroll across the top of the screen.

The lead and bass axes will now have 10 buttons; five for regular play in the usual position, with the rest closer to the guitar for special sections - presumably when you slide on your knees and rock to the heavens. You'll also have an array of five different sound effects to apply to your instrument of destruction: Flange, Wah, Chorus and Echo - plus whammy bar will return alongside tilt activation of your "star power".

Warblers will enjoy a more in-depth singing system than before - apparently it'll pick up individual vowels and consonants. Build up enough of these and you'll be able to sing without stabilisers. If you do well enough in this free-form mode you'll trigger the vocal version of "star power". And for quiet times when your lead guitarist hits the solo notes, your mic will double as a tambourine so you can tap along.

Drummers will use actual sticks to pound four coloured pads in front of them, as well as stamp on a kick-pedal tied into the peripheral. Like all others you'll get the chance to add your own frills, and if you suitably impress you'll get the chance to go free-form and trigger your "star power".

If that all sounds a little hair-raising and you're frightened you won't be able to keep up with your musically talented friends, then don't panic. If you fudge your area, the whole lot doesn't crumble and fall. You simply go into a grey section and sit out until someone triggers a "star power" - then you can rejoin the fun. And if all of you reach the end together, you'll get a chance to go free-form together. Hot rocks, man.

You can get personal with a character-creation system and create multiple "yous" focusing on different instruments, or head into one of four themed clothing stores to thread-up. You'll even be able to shell-out for new licenced guitars, pedals, and other rock bits - as expected when Fender, BOSS and Roland all signed up to take part.

Your character will select a movement style, too, all motion-captured from famous stars like Axel Rose and Eric Clapton - and venues will number more than 40.

While no price has been mentioned for the various peripherals, you will be able to use your Xplorer 360 guitar with the game - although it won't have the new buttons (and look like a fancy Fender) for the special sections. You'll need a unique set of peripherals for each platform, though, so you won't be able to use your 360 drum kit with a PS3 version. As if you ever expected to. USB microphones will be supported, but headsets will probably be out of the question due to the low recording quality.

So far just four songs have been revealed, all original master tracks:

  • Weezer - Say It Ain't So
  • Black Sabbath - Paranoid
  • The Who - Won't Get Fooled Again
  • Nirvana - In Bloom

And that's all the weather. We'll keep you posted when more springs from our rock-closet.

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