BandFuse: Rock Legends Preview From E3 2012 -- The New Way To Learn Guitar Through GamingBy Jason Wishnov - Posted Jun 07, 2012
The concept of using a proper, six-string guitar in conjunction with a rhythm game is nothing new: Ubisoft's Rocksmith attempted the feat, with some mild amount of success. On its heels comes Realta Entertainment Group's BandFuse: Rock Legends, and though the game is still in early stages, it seeks to surpass its spiritual predecessor.
It's important to note that BandFuse works with any electric guitar (bass is supported as well), via an adapter...it won't be bundled with an actual instrument. This is a game for actual guitar players, or at least those who want to learn. The game shows what's known as tablature view, which can get confusing for non-musicians: the position of the note indicates the string, the number indicates which fret to hold, and the color is meant to be an assist in letting the player know what finger should be used for that fret. It's essentially similar to what's actually used in the real world, so skills should be easily transferable to more practical scenarios.
There are proper difficulty levels in BandFuse, and in a nice touch, one can switch the difficulty on the fly, mid-track. Make no mistake: even experienced rhythm gamers will have extreme trouble on the real thing assuming no prior experience, so Realta included an expansive tutorial mode...though, since the real point of the game is to learn guitar, one could argue what is and is not an actual tutorial. The player can progress along a dizzying tree of lessons, but interestingly, the game will attempt to dissect a player's performance and automatically suggest exercises to shore up those weaknesses. If your fret work is rough, they'll suggest playing at a decreased speed; if your rhythm is weaker, they'll add a metronome as a backing track. It's a remarkable feature if it ends up working well, and could be used as a marvelous learning tool.
For creators, BandPass includes an in-depth studio mode, replete with options and pre-built jam tracks on which to base a song. In addition, they'll include social elements: you can upload your guitar track to the servers, and a friend can download that track and add their own bassline. When everything is ready, the game will auto-publish the song to either Facebook or YouTube. It looks to be an excellent tool for budding producers, or anyone who simply enjoys making music.
For release, Realta is planning sixty songs, and of course, more down the line with DLC. All tracks are unlocked from the very start...even though there's a robust career mode, nothing is initially barred from use. We've only scratched the surface of the content: videos and interviews with rockstars, scoring systems, and other mechanics abound. BandFuse is only currently announced for the XBox 360 ("currently", stressed the producer), and is targeting a January 2013 release.