Harmonix busy with plans for Rock Band games

, Staff

Harmonix has been a hot topic of discussion among the video game and music industry as they continue to reveal plans for the wildly popular Rock Band franchise. The Cambridge-based company has announced the release date for the Green Day: Rock Band game, confirmed that they are working on Rock Band 3 in time for a Holiday season release and also launched the Rock Band Network Music Store, which gives bands the ability to upload and sell their own playable tracks.

Green Day: Rock Band will hit stores on Tuesday, June 8. The game, which is only the second standalone game for a unique band after The Beatles, will be available on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Nintendo Wii gaming systems. Players will be able to take on the role of Green Day members Billie Joe Armstrong, Mike Dirnt, and Tre Cool as they progress through the band’s history and rise to fame. Fans will also be able to access to various unlockable media in the game, including over 100 collectible images and 40 minutes of video featuring Green Day interviews, outtakes, and performances.

The game will feature 47 tracks and comprise tracks from the band’s seven studio albums. In addition, the six Green Day tracks already available in the Rock Band Music Store as downloadable content can be played in Green Day: Rock Band with new visuals. All songs can also be exported to other Rock Band games on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 systems for a $9.99 fee (export feature is not available for the Wii). Green Day: Rock Band will also feature the three-part vocal harmony technology that Harmonix introduced with The Beatles: Rock Band.

Green Day: Rock Band will be sold in two formats: a standalone game, priced at $59.99 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 or $49.99 for the Nintendo Wii, and a plus edition for $69.99, which will not be available for the Wii. The plus edition will include special packaging, the export feature (players will not pay to add Green Day: Rock Band tracks to other Rock Band games), and the six Green Day tracks that are already available through the Rock Band Music Store.

Fans who are looking for more new game play beyond Green Day will be happy to hear that Harmonix has also confirmed that they are hard at work on a third installment of the Rock Band franchise. Rock Band 3 is expected to be released sometime during the 2010 holiday season. Hamronix will “innovate and revolutionize the music genre once again” according to a statement on the game’s Facebook page. No other information about the game has been revealed.

And lastly, for fans looking for more tunes with a local feel, Rock Band recently launched the Rock Band Network Music Store. The Rock Band Network gives musicians, publishers and record labels the ability to author their original recordings into game play files to promote and sell their music as playable Rock Band tracks. Artists who submit songs for the Rock Band Network Music Store are able to choose from multiple pricing tiers for individual tracks and receive a royalty of 30 percent of the retail selling price (excluding tax) for every track purchased through the store. There are currently more than 100 songs available for purchase in the Rock Band Network Music Store from national artists such as The Shins and The Hold Steady, as well as local favorites including The Main Drag, Bang Camaro, The Slip and The Cold Goodnight. Harmonix claims that there are more than 300 artists in the network pipeline.

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