The Rock Band game series was always designed to try and make you feel like a real rock star. Now, Harmonix is almost ready to take that one step further. They announced a release date for Rock Band VR. Today, the studio announced that the game will launch for the Oculus Rift on March 23rd, and pre-orders for the title are now available.
Of course, since this is a VR title, there's a little bit more going on than just your standard plastic guitar gameplay. You'll need an Oculus Rift headset as well as an Oculus Touch controller to play Rock Band VR, along with a standard Xbox One or PlayStation 4 Rock Band controller. The good news, of course, is that if you're already a Rock Band player, there's a good chance that you already have a functioning Rock Band Stratocaster for current consoles, so you won't need to pick up another one.
The Oculus Touch controller will actually wire to your existing Rock Band guitar. This is how it will interface the controller with the Oculus system.
As far as the game itself, it will essentially have two different gameplay modes. Classic mode will be the Rock Band style gameplay you've come to expect, where notes come at you on a track that you have to hit with the right timing. However, the game will also come with what it calls performance gameplay, which gives you more freedom to play along to the music in your own way. Check out the trailer below for a look at what's in store.
I got to play some of Rock Band VR at PAX West last year and it was, without doubt, the most pure fun that I have yet had with virtual reality. The headset put you on a stage in front of digital fans and alongside digital bandmates and lets you just play music pretty much however you like. You can move around the stage, checking out the virtual concert from all angles and the freestyle like gameplay means that you don't need to worry about making the song sound bad. If you want to ignore the score you can just jam any way you choose or you can follow the game's instructions to try and put up the highest score possible. Rather than forcing you to hit specific notes, it's a more objective based gameplay not unlike the criminally underrated Fantasia: Music Evolved.
Now I just need to figure out how to afford to upgrade my PC, buy a Rift and RockBand VR all in the next couple months. Rock Band VR promises 60 songs at launch with its own DLC catalog to follow. Will you be upping your Rock Band game into VR? Let us know in the comments.