Rock Band designer Dan Teasdale talked guitar glitches, artist signing and character creation with MTV.
MTV’s Multiplayer game blog recently ran into Harmonix Senior Designer Dan Teasdale and discussed some of the more popular problems players have complained about concerning their newest sensation Rock Band. Teasdale candidly talks about the difficulties of signing superstar artists and repairing launch guitars, despite Harmonix and the Multiplayer blog belonging to the same parent company.
MTV: There were manufacturing flaws in the guitars, which Harmonix has said it identified and fixed. Are they already through with that batch? Or are guitars with the flaw still potentially being sold?
Teasdale: The flaws with some of the early guitars were limited to that initial day one batch. Since Rock Band sells out in huge chunks of the U.S. on the same day as we ship stock in, it’s a small-to-none chance that these guitars are still on shelves. Naturally, if you have any problems with your instruments, you should contact EA who will replace it free of charge in 60 days.
MTV: Why can’t you have one avatar play multiple instruments?
Teasdale: A lot of this falls into how we create and track progress with our characters in Rock Band – allowing your drummer’s progress to affect your guitar profile starts getting messy when you’re worried about stuff like difficulty curves, and having drummers wear clothes that might be too bulky for someone sitting behind a big drum kit and animating wildly is a problem too. We do hear that people want to be able to have their character play all instruments, and surmounting these hurdles is something we’re looking into.
MTV: Why is there no online for the Band World Tour mode? If you can link up with your friends for a four-player quickplay session online, then why not for a series of four-player World Tour sessions?
Teasdale: The big thing stopping us from shipping Band World Tour Online on the disc was dealing with persistent bands, and it was a heartbreaking thing to have to hold off on. It’s one thing to play a quickplay game online, but it’s another whole layer of complexity to have campaign data synchronized between multiple players, have multiple people’s progress stay in sync with Rockband.com when people are missing, kicking people out of a band when they’re not on the same console and not online – I could go on, but it’s a massive minefield to get working right. Having said that, it is something we’re very actively looking into.
MTV: Why aren’t there any songs from Led Zeppelin or AC/DC or Pink Floyd or The Beatles? Can we expect them in the future? (Pretty please?)
Teasdale: You’re preaching to the converted here! I’m from Australia, so it’s part of my citizenship requirements to get as much Acca Dacca into the game as possible. We’d love to get these kinds of mega-famous bands into Rock Band. but securing licensing and such makes this something that takes a lot longer than other artists.