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A Look Behind the New Authoring of Through the Fire and Flames

I wanted to take a moment to talk about the recent authoring changes we made to “Through the Fire and Flames” by DragonForce. It’s a brutally hard song and we know that owning a TtFaF FC is viewed by many in the community as the ultimate Rock Band accomplishment, so we didn’t approach these changes lightly. I’ve been at Harmonix for quite a few years now, and I worked on this song when it was originally released in 2011. With the impending leaderboard wipe, I took what might be the only opportunity I’ll have to dive back into the song and make a handful of changes to the guitar chart in an attempt to make the song more accurate than it was before.

Since we’ve seen a lot of the community talking about these changes, I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about the specific differences between the original chart and our update, and why we made those changes. Overall, I wouldn’t say the chart is harder or easier. Upon first glance it may seem harder, but that’s just because it’s different, so the practice and muscle memory players have built up doesn’t apply to the whole song anymore. Some changes made sections easier, and others were a bit harder. That said, the goal wasn’t to change the song’s difficulty, but to make this popular song as accurate as possible. I think we were successful.

Here are the changes that were made, split up by practice section:

Fast Riff 1

  • (0:33) - Made the fast riff all forced strums to remain consistent with the same riff/fast strumming throughout the rest of the song.

Pre-Chorus 1A

  • (1:20) - Adjusted the quick ascending G-anchor lick to end with O instead of B. Minor change.

Pre-Chorus 1B

  • (1:39) - Changed the last single note before the held out chords to O instead of R. It’s a very high note and R just seemed like a strange choice.

GTR Riff 1

  • (2:00) - Made those fast notes all strummed, once again to maintain consistency.
  • (2:03) - There was a fast tapping section here that was previously R-O 16ths. I listened closer and heard that they were actually 16th triplets. I also heard a lower note in there, so one of the gems is B instead of O. The end of the tapping was also cleaned up to be B-G-B-B instead of R-O-R-B-Y-R.

Chorus 2

  • (3:21) - There was a single B after a YB sustain which is now a YB chord.

GTR Riff 2

  • (3:42) - Previously 3 O’s in a row, now a single B.

Interlude A

  • (4:21) - Force strummed a small section here for consistency.
  • (4:25) - More force strums.

Interlude B

  • (4:41) - Changed what was a B-O-B-O-B HOPO situation into a single B sustain.

GTR Break

  • (5:00) - What was previously a strangely timed O-Y followed by 3 descending O-B-Y patterns, all of which weren’t in time, is now 4 descending O-B-Y- patterns which are locked to the 16th triplet grid.

GTR Solo C

  • (5:24) - Here was a tapping section of Y-O followed by Y-G 16ths. The guitarist is actually playing 16th triplets in a descending pattern. The authoring was adjusted to reflect that, so it’s O-B-Ys then Y-R-Gs. (5:27) - A quick tapping section that was Y-Y-G-R-R-G-Y-Y-G etc. There are open G’s between each of the higher notes, so although the point at which the higher notes were played was roughly right, the speed and rhythm was not. Changed from 16th triplets to straight 32nds with a pattern of Y-G-Y-G-R-G-R-G-Y-G-Y-G-B-G-B-G etc.


  • (7:12) – This section originally contained consistent 16th triplets, but with too many notes. Previous authoring was R-O-R-B-R-Y repeated, implying 3 descending notes. What’s really being played is just 2 notes back and forth with the open G. This is actually played at fluctuating speeds, slower then faster, then slower again. Rather than trying to match the notes 1-1, which would have resulting in poor authoring with no sense of timing, we left the 16th triplets and corrected the 4 note pattern into a 3 note pattern of G-O-G-B repeated.
  • (7:19) – Pick scrap adjusted to be just a R sustain.

Obviously changes to an iconic song like “Through the Fire and Flames” weren’t made lightly, but I think players who can best the updated charts have a greater accomplishment under their belts, as this more accurately resembles what Dragonforce themselves are playing.

Nick, Audio QA Lead