Wednesday, April 22, 2009

LEGO Rock Band ... what?!

If there's two things there is too much of these days, it's music games, and LEGO games. That above screenshot, made large to make sure you're not imagining it, is the proof that things have just gone too far. Harmonix announced today that LEGO Rock Band will be co-developed with TT Games, and will play just like any other Rock Band title, but with a set list aimed at teens and younger players.

My question is, besides "what the @&%?!" is "Why LEGO?" At least games like LEGO Star Wars, LEGO Indiana Jones, and LEGO Batman make sense, because there are actual LEGO sets for such franchises, not to mention the constructable aspect of the toys works well for the beat'em up genre. But, here's a case where there's no actual Rock Band LEGOs (I can't see why there would be...) and there's nothing other than possibly gimmicky character construction that would implement the ideal aspect of the product. That's like making a Hot Wheels branded first person shooter, it makes no sense. And really, people of all ages like LEGO, but is the branding alone really going to make someone buy this over say ... Rock Band 2? Or even better, just a Rock Band title aimed at a younger audience, but without the LEGO branding?

Personally, I'd play Rock Band over Guitar Hero any day. And I have to commend Harmonix for making the upcoming The Beatles: Rock Band from the ground up, instead of taking the Activision approach of re-skinning Guitar Hero III and World Tour, and calling them Aerosmith and Metallica respectively. But with a concept like LEGO Rock Band, of all things ... I get the feeling that Rock Band will head down the road of Guitar Hero, with over five spin offs a year, and I'd rather not imagine such a nightmare.

What I really think it comes down to is that companies, and not just gaming now, have run out of creative trust. They're taking the approach of "Why try something new and innovative, when we can just take this and this franchise and promote the hell out of it?" And from a personal stand point, that sucks, because it says I'll never get work if I don't do the job like it's already been done before. I'm all up for a different approach to music games, but if you're just going to slap on an existing franchise, to the same gameplay we've known for years, then you can count me out. I know it may be too early to judge, but I can't say my hopes are high.

If there's any hope for this title, I hope they'll at least let you use your DLC or at least import these tracks into other Rock Band titles. LEGO Rock Band is set for Holiday 2009, and will be releasing on all major platforms (as far as I know)

1 comment:

Hampig said...

You know, it is a little whorish. But still, it's nowhere near approaching the pathetic mess that was the Guitar Hero Franchise. I still respect Harmonix, because no matter how many Rock band games they've been pumping out, they're all good. Those guys know what they're doing and I respect their skills. They put work into what they do, and they obviously love music.

But on to your real point. I totally agree. It seems like creativity has to be slaughtered and caged up for something to be acceptable on the mass market these days. But there will always be space for a little innovation and change. People are afraid of change, so of course they wont be too fast to adapt to something completely unfamiliar, but with time people accept, and innovation becomes standard. I don't think theirs much to worry about in that category. At least I hope not.