Rock Band VR will let fans play to virtual crowds on Oculus Rift in 2016

Harmonix and Oculus announced Rock Band VR, a virtual reality adaptation of Harmonix’ Rock Band music game series, during the 2015 Game Awards Thursday night.

The announcement comes after Oculus CEO Palmer Luckey teased he would make a “special announcement” during the ceremony earlier this week. Oculus announced they were working with Harmonix on an undisclosed project at E3 in June.

The game was revealed with a short, introductory video, which showed that the game operates from a first-person perspective with players standing on stage facing with virtual bandmates on playing to their audience on a floating Rock Band-style guitar with color-coded button flashing, presumably to match players’ button presses. Unlike past Rock Band games, there was no river of notes gliding down screen. There’s no word yet as to whether the game will support the other instruments, such as vocals and drums, which have been playable in past installments.

The video also featured a short appearance from DragonForce, a band Rock Band fans may know best for their song “Through the Fire and Flames,” one of the most difficult songs to play in the series.

After the reveal, Luckey had some short remarks about the experience of developing and playing Rock Band in the virtual world.

“We’ve been working with Harmonix on Rock Band VR for a really long time and I’ve played a lot of hours of it,” Luckey said, “and it’s really amazing to feel like you’re standing on stage looking out a crowd cheering for you. [holds for applause] And looking over; seeing your drummer on left, seeing a guitarist on your right wailing out on a guitar solo, and looking out at the crowd and feeling like you really are a rock star.”

The consumer version of the Oculus Rift is currently set to launch in the first quarter of 2016. Rock Band VR will come to the platform some time next year.

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