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Joystiq interviews Rock Band 2's Dan Teasdale


In the madness of E3, we got 10 minutes with Rock Band 2's Senior Designer Dan Teasdale. We rattled off a bunch of questions and jotted down his basic answers. Full quotes? We don't have time for full quotes! Check out the rapid-fire Q&A after the break.

To reiterate, these are not quotes, they are merely the basic information we received while jotting down info really, really fast:

Joystiq: What songs from RB1 are not going to be transferable to RB2?
Teasdale's general response: We're still working out the details -- licensing. We're going to be updating Rock Band 1 with the release of Rock Band 2.

Why aren't all the songs going to be transferable?
Licensing issues.

The Ion Premium Set also doubles as an electronic drum set. Will there be a way to use the electronic drum set with Rock Band?
Pretty much the same thing. That's like our drum trainer. You can shut that off.

Update: We should clarify this a bit more. The Ion drums are a special set for Rock Band 2, which can also be used as a real drum kit. There is an option inside the game to learn and play the drums called "Drum Trainer." The Ion drums can be used to freestyle inside the game there.

Will Rock Band 2 drums be compatible with Guitar Hero IV?
We don't have access -- We're keeping our open standard, we want people to have a choice.

How do velocity-sensitive pads fit in with the game? Will it affect score? Is it optional (e.g. can we turn off the volume differences)? Will RB1 songs be compatible with velocity sensitive system?
It's a total style thing -- doesn't affect gameplay. No answer on the RB1.

Will people who are unable to use their legs be able to shut off the foot pedal?
They can shut off failing a song in the menu. There is no way to shut off just the foot pedal.

Do you perceive Guitar Hero now as more of a threat with its full band set up? Care to give your opinion?
It's not really our focus. We have to make good musical experiences. Perfecting on what we're working out.

How long can you keep up Rock Band weekly? Is it difficult securing weekly content?
We're going to ramp up more songs. By holiday we'll have 500 songs. "We'll have some legendary milestone albums."

Will full-album downloads continue to be on a consistent, once-a-month schedule?
We don't have a set schedule.

Can we count on Rock Band 2 as an annual franchise now, a la Madden? What is Harmonix going to do improve the game fundamentally with each iteration?
I don't think you can. We innovate and then perfect. Then in our next game we'll go and innovate again.

With other "full band" franchises hitting the market -- one in particular with dominating mainstream music game mind share -- what are you doing to grow the Rock Band brand?
We're the only place you can go through and grow a library of game.

Does the company foresee a point when DLC will be made exclusive to the latest version?
Not for Rock Band 2. We made it very clear that we want this to be a platform.

RB 2's main strength seems to be a new set list; any worry that World Tour's song creation feature could make that obsolete?
Not really. We've had experience with music generated content. We want people to make sure they can sing our songs.

Rock Band 1's profile management was a mess, what's different now?
Rock Band 2, we don't have band leaders, characters can play any instrument. Greatly simplified.

While the ability to use existing instruments on RB2 is great, was effort put towards making new peripherals more durable, or have a lower failure rate this time out?
We've definitely learned a lot. Sturdier guitar strums. Solid metal plate on kick pedal, softer drum pads. Ability to customize drums. The calibration lens built into the guitar.

After missing the Wii window of opportunity with Rock Band 1 and focusing on the PS3 and Xbox 360, Harmonix released a Wii version last month that is essentially a port of the PS2 Rock Band. Why isn't the hugely popular Wii being prioritized this time? Will any eventual Wii release be closer to the Xbox 360 and PS3 version in terms of features?
We'd like to get Rock Band 2 on all relevant platforms by the end of the year.

What bands do you want songs from that won't let you have 'em? Why?
For a long time it was AC/DC. I'm running out of bands I want songs from.

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