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Harmonix launches crowdfunding campaign for Rock Band on PC

Cambridge-based video game developer Harmonix has launched a crowdfunding campaign for a PC version of its multiplayer rhythm game Rock Band 4, revealing that it plans to resurrect the user content-driven Rock Band Network as part of the porting process.

Harmonix is soliciting pledges via Fig, a crowdfunding platform that allows users to invest in featured projects and share in potential post-release profits. The service previously hosted a successful funding campaign for Double Fine’s Psychonauts 2, and is currently collecting pledges for a Clerks spinoff game starring film director Kevin Smith’s Jay and Silent Bob characters.

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In addition to offering all of the content originally featured in its 2015 console release, the PC version of Rock Band 4 will support user-submitted songs via Steam Workshop. Harmonix plans to publicly release its in-house authoring tools and documentation in order to encourage the development of community-made tracks.

Rock Band 3‘s Rock Band Network offered a similar distribution platform for player-made content, but required users to pay annual membership fees and meet the demands of a rigorous peer review process. Steam Workshop submissions will have fewer restrictions in comparison, allowing Harmonix to reinstate its Rock Band Network “with no fees and less overhead.”

“Using Steam Workshop, you can submit [your own songs] to us,” Harmonix notes. “We’ll do a quick check to make sure they play properly and include music you own, and then put them into the game via the Rock Band 4 in-game store. Steam Workshop makes sure you get your cut of the revenues when they sell.”

Harmonix will contract OutRun 2006 and LittleBigPlanet 3 developer Sumo Digital to port Rock Band 4 to PCs, and revealed that the game will support a number of existing instrument peripherals. Along with its 65 included tracks, the PC version of Rock Band 4 will also offer more than 1,700 additional songs as paid downloadable content.

Harmonix seeks $1.5 million in backer pledges to fund the PC version of Rock Band 4, and plans to have a Steam release ready by this fall. The studio’s crowdfunding campaign will continue through April 5th.