Choice and consequence is kind of a big deal in games these days. Look at any of Tell Tale’s games, Mass Effect, or more recently The Witcher 3. Gamers like to feel like their decisions hold weight in their game’s world. Now Rock Band 4 is set to follow suit, but maybe not quite to the same extent. The newest iteration in the Rock Band franchise is going to have a consequential narrative – you’re choices will matter. Gone are the days when you simply played the set list and moved on to bigger a better cities. Not only will you be a member in your band, but you’ll be able to steer your band in the direction that you want to go. In an interview with IGN, designer Alli Thresher said that, “It really deepens the band fantasy, and it really gives us the opportunity to answer some things we’ve been hearing from fans over the last five years and really, really amp up that feeling and the fantasy and dynamics of being in a band. Making decisions together, charting a path through your careers, building your story as a musician, and figuring out who you are.”
What this means is that in Rock Band 4 you will have direct control over what your band becomes. You can decide whether you want to take corporate gigs and sponsor products at shows or you can travel the world relying on fans, but you will make less money this way. You will start out in your hometown and slowly amass fans in your own geographic region, and other regions as you move to them. You may not visit the same region in each play through, and the fans that you amass actually count for something. If they are already familiar with you, they will be easier to upset by making mistakes. With more fans in the region you will unlock more shows. Rather than simply passing your show, you have to gain fans to progress in the game – much like a real band on the road to fame.
I’m excited by this new approach to Rock Band 4’s campaign and I think others will be excited also. Giving users more control of their game can only make the experience better. If you’re managing your own band the addition of consequence for your choices adds a whole new layer to the game. It will be neat to see where your choices take you.