Rock Band series developer Harmonix showcased a new version of its in-development virtual reality experience Rock Band VR this week, revealing that the finished product will be compatible with legacy guitar peripherals when it ships later this year.
Harmonix notes that a Rock Band VR-specific accessory will be bundled with Oculus Touch controllers, allowing players to upgrade their existing guitar peripherals with motion-sensing functionality.
Announced last year, Rock Band VR is a first-person rhythm game for Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets. The game simulates a live musical performance, with players taking control of a lead guitarist showboating in front of an adoring crowd.
Rock Band VR‘s gameplay evolved dramatically in the months since it was initially unveiled, and Harmonix recently swapped out its series-standard beat-matching mechanics in favor of a new system that rewards player improvisation. The current version of Rock Band VR only requires players to strum a handful of chords at specific moments, and additional points are awarded for activating effects pedals, setting off pyrotechnics, and interacting with VR bandmates throughout each song.
Rock Band VR also removes much of the difficulty associated with past Rock Band games, according to a recent Verge report. Songs can’t be failed, even if players perform badly, and — snowflake alert — simulated crowds will no longer boo players for missing cues.
In order to accurately reflect guitar positioning during gameplay, Rock Band VR relies on the Oculus Touch controller, a motion-sensing accessory that works in conjunction with the Oculus Rift headset. Players can attach the Oculus Touch to legacy guitar peripherals using a bolt-on mount that will be included as part of the Oculus Touch retail package.
Once players secure the Oculus Touch to a guitar peripheral’s headstock, Rock Band VR reads the device’s gyroscopic positioning in order to simulate guitar movement throughout each song. The resulting simulation allows players to perform in-game stunts using their guitar controllers in order to win over crowds.
Rock Band VR is due to launch for Oculus Rift headsets by the end of 2016.
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