If you hadn’t heard, Harmonix officially announced Rock Band 3 earlier today. And after plenty of deliberation, I decided it was a good time to rattle off a wishlist of gameplay elements I’d love to see make the cut in both Harmonix’s new game and the inevitable Guitar Hero 6. To me, tracklisting worries have become progressively less relevant as the music industry clamors to revitalize itself through these games. It’s more important to focus on the ease of use at this point. After all, a few seconds of menu fidgeting can bring down the buzz at a house party very quickly.
Although everyone’s casting a gloomy forecast for music and rhythm games in 2010, I’m looking forward to both efforts -- after all, it’s not like I played every band-branded Guitar Hero game -- and sincerely hope that we’ll see some of the following features implemented:
Personalized Playlists -- Look, my wife hates AC/DC. It’s claws on a blackboard to me when she wants to play The Cranberries. It’s only going to hurt more when Rock Band Network gives us new songs out the wazoo. Personalized playlists are a great workaround for this. I’m sick of yelling “shut up and sing, dammit” every time “War Pigs” randomly shows up during Career Mode in Rock Band 2. Yes, I’m a terrible husband, I admit it, but that's beside the point.
Not Just Custom Playlists, the Ability to Toggle Tracks -- I want the option to toggle songs on/off of playlists, but not my hard drive. I don’t want to delete songs, I just want more control over what a “random setlist” defines. (read: no Fallout Boy, ever). And yes, this ties into Career Mode, since it’s pretty annoying to randomly encounter some song that’s utterly repulsive or is “Say It Ain’t So.”
Support for Multiple Vocals -- Not every band has the pipes of the Beatles, but I’d love to see the next iterations of Rock Band and Guitar Hero boast support for multiple singers. Harmonix has set expectations for vocal harmonizing with The Beatles: Rock Band, and it’d be a pity to see it trimmed from future iterations. Between the likes of SingStar and Lips, there’s room for multiple mics. Unless you’re playing on Wii, but then, I have no easy solutions for that. A better USB hub, perhaps?
Universal Calibration Settings -- I’m glaring at you on this one, Guitar Hero. Amidst a year of market saturation that threatened to kill the genre, and none of those four major Guitar Hero SKUs share the same TV calibration? Insanity. Nothing kills Guitar Hero 5 and Band Hero’s awesome Party Mode feature like spending 20 minutes noodling around in menus.
Instant Calibration Feedback -- The only thing arguably more irritating than the lack of universal calibration is the inability to immediately test it out. Instead, I’ve got to backtrack through several menus, wait for the song to load, miss a litany of notes, and...derp. An option that lets me immediately tweak a song, then jump back in, is most desirable at this point.
Disc Swap -- SingStar’s been doing this for years. If Guitar Hero is going to restrict the amount of songs per-disc I can slap on my hard drive, why can’t GH6 recognize tracks from prior releases and load them up?
Nearly three years after Guitar Hero III and Rock Band, are there any major gameplay or interface tweaks you’d like to see make the experience go smoother?