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So About That Thing We Said...

How’s it going? Is your week going well? See any good movies lately? Alright, enough small talk, let’s cut to the chase. I’ve got good news and bad news for you. Which do you want first? If you want the bad news first, keep reading. If you’d prefer good news first, please skip the next paragraph, then come back after you’ve read the good stuff.

So, the bad news is about the Rock Band 4 January update we’re all really excited for. The trouble with the January update is that it’s actually no longer a January update. It’s now a February update. We’re only delaying this by a week, but we know we promised January, and we really are sorry for breaking that promise. We were originally targeting to launch next week, but we caught an important bug (more on that later), and it’s pushed our schedule back a week so we can fix the issue. On top of this, since the update was supposed to be next week, we do not have DLC planned to release on 1/26.

On to the good news! First of all, yes, you’re reading this right. We’re giving you a more accurate timeframe for this update. Instead of it being a “generic February update,” we’re aiming for the first week in February, meaning you’ll get the sweet Psychonauts gear, leaderboard scores posting from Play a Show mode, the audio improvements, the score exploit fixes (plus the leaderboard wipe to make things fair again), and other fun stuff sometime between February 1st and 5th. We'll also have new DLC for you the that week as well. Stay tuned on 2/1 for the DLC announcement and more.

We talked a lot internally about what “monthly updates” to Rock Band 4 means. The next update (even when it was scheduled to hit next week) would have been coming seven weeks after the December update. We want to make a slight tweak to our plan here and make monthly mean both “coming every month” as well as “coming roughly a month apart from each other.” This means that after the now-February update, the March update will arrive in early March. April in early April, and so on. We can’t promise they’ll always be in the first week, because things do happen (like they happened here), but our targets are for the first half of every month. This narrows it down a bit for the people asking when updates will hit, so you’ll know that our May update isn’t going to be barely sneaking by in May on May 31st.

February Update Patch Notes

Other good news: DETAILED PATCH NOTES. The past few months we’ve been more open about what’s coming down the road, sharing features before they’re publicly available. In supporting Rock Band 4 as a platform, we want to be sure that players are informed about exactly what we’re changing in the game they know and love. We’re going to continue the recent trend of giving you an early look at what’s coming, but the difference here is that on the day an update releases, we’ll be posting a full, detailed list of what’s been changed. If you love diving into the nitty gritty details, they’ll be there for you.

Finally, while I’ve got your attention, a quick note about exports. We’re closer than before on Xbox exports for the original Rock Band, but we’re still working with Microsoft to get them ready, and it’s unlikely we’ll see them this week. Sony Europe is also still in the works and coming soon as well. Rest assured that as soon as they’re ready, we’ll release them. Each region/platform has different challenges to solve, and although we’ve always worked on all of them simultaneously, pieces can and do fall into place at different times.

We appreciate the ongoing support we’ve been receiving from the community, and as much as it sucks to be the bearer of bad news here, I hope that a more regular schedule (and a less vague “waiting game”) is something great to look forward to. Plus, detailed patch notes are pretty cool, eh? If you’re interested in diving into the “why” behind the delay, read on!

Okay, so what went wrong here?

The bug we found is actually related to the Overdrive Squeeze not-really-an-exploit-but-we’re-fixing-it-anyway thing. When we first announced that the OD Squeeze was actually “working as intended,” we heard your feedback loud and clear that if we’re focused on scoring exploits and leaderboard integrity, this should be fixed. We had already “branched” (Development term for “feature changes are locked, and we’re only working on bug-fixes now”) for the update, but this was important enough to add in anyway, post-branch.

We fixed the exploit, tested it, and all was fine and dandy. The issue came after we finalized a “Release Candidate” (Development term for “potential final product”), and we noticed that the Overdrive Squeeze fix inadvertently caused a bug unrelated to OD. We weren’t comfortable shipping with this new bug, since it could have an impact on scoring (Though not in the same way the OD Squeeze does). We had to fix the bug, finalize a second release candidate, and start the final testing/certification process all over again.

We still stand by our decision to include the fix to multiplayer Overdrive in this update, this is just a very unfortunate side effect of making changes late in the development process. If anything, it’s encouragement for us to continue sharing things with you early! The earlier we share upcoming features with you, the more time we have to pivot if we want to change anything based on your feedback.

More to come soon!