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The Future of Rock Band 4

Hey gang,

Thank you so much for your continued support, awesome questions and great feedback as we continue to make improvements to the Rock Band 4 experience. As we’ve stated, the November and December updates are just the beginning, and we remain committed to supporting Rock Band 4 as a game you'll play for years to come with ongoing updates, fixes and new features. 2016 will be a very exciting year for the Rock Band community.

Part of our mission for the New Year is to increase the transparency between our development process and our community and include you directly in the dialog about what happens next. In this spirit, we wanted to address a few topics that we know are on your collective minds.

First up, features that you’ve been asking for:

We hear the requests for practice mode and setlists loud and clear and are thrilled to give you the early heads up that both of these features are on our schedule and will be coming for free in 2016. There is a good amount of design work to figure out the best way to incorporate those features into Rock Band 4 and also to consider ways to improve on the implementation from Rock Band 3. That said, the team is committed to bringing these back as soon as possible.

Next up, online play. Online multiplayer is a part of a much bigger conversation. We know it’s at the top of a lot of peoples’ want list; that conversation goes back to E3. There is a lot to talk about here, more than fits into a blog post, but a few topline things that I want to touch on:

  • Online play with Rock Band is a big deal given the amount of different combinations of player (four potential instruments, different difficulties, song affinities between players, etc.). There is a ton of testing necessary as well technical back end to work through in order to provide a fun, stable experience.
  • For any feature development, especially features that have existed in our legacy Rock Band games, we want to be able to improve and refine wherever possible. In the case of online play, we have a lot of critical feedback on the Rock Band 3 design that we’d love to be able to address.

Adding this functionality is very much on the table but we’re not yet sure where it fits in our roadmap. Part of our process includes taking your advice into consideration. Before we can deliver a feature as complex as Online Multiplayer, we would like to better understand what you want and find to be important. In an effort to drive that conversation forward, we are sending out a survey about online play so you can provide feedback that helps direct our development efforts as we make decisions about what to do next.

Take the Rock Band 4 Online Multiplayer Survey **

** Thanks for your interest! This survey is now closed, but we'll be doing more of these in the future. We still want to hear your feedback, so please reach out to us at our new feedback e-mail, [email protected].

In addition to these three topics, we know there are a bunch of other things that are important that we are actively working on (Xbox One support for ION drums, for example). Stay tuned for more info, when we have details, trust that we’ll share them.

Another big focus of ours is developing features that bring new experiences to the platform. Our high level goal is to delight the Rock Band audience and extend it to as many people as possible. Of course, we balance these new ideas against the legacy features. Over the course of the next year, alongside practice and setlists, you’ll be seeing other things you’ve never seen before. Brutal Mode and the Taunt system are examples of new functionality that we’re excited about. We have tons of other fun ideas up our sleeve.

A few last bits and then back to work:

  • Our monthly update in January is modest in scope compared to the December update. Our focus is on stability and performance. We’ve got fixes for some of the leaderboard issues as well as a few new things that we’ll be announcing down the road as they gel.
  • Exports! We hear everyone clamoring for the export entitlements of previous Rock Band games, so we’re bumping their priority to the top of the list. We’re shooting to have these up in the store for the folks who’ve exported their prior games in January. We’re starting with the original Rock Band and then following up with Rock Band 2 and Lego Rock Band. This means there might be a week or two in January when we don’t release new DLC tracks.

This is just the beginning for this conversation and we want to continue the dialog into 2016 and beyond. To that end, we’re holding an AMA on the Rock Band subreddit today, and in January we’re bringing back the [email protected] email address. To anyone who sent feedback to us in the past, you know that we read every email.

Rock Band 4 is a constantly evolving platform. The December update last week was the next step, but we have a ton of great stuff yet to come. For context, Rock Band 3 was the result of five years of development for that console generation, always iterating on previous titles. Rock Band 4 will eventually have the same benefit of multiple iterations and updates. Thanks for being with us from the beginning.