When Harmonix responded to GHWT’s user-created content feature by saying they wanted to hold off until they could do it properly, they definitely weren’t kidding. Today they announced the Rock Band Network, which will be online later this year (on 360 only for the moment, because it seems they’re piggy-backing on the XNA Creator’s Club to handle the submission and billing). Rather than provide an in-game sequencer using samples like GHWT does, with RBN bands use their original master tracks, recorded using their usual software but presumably still split into the appropriate tracks, and gives them a set of tools (for PC I assume) to add the MIDI notes which will be translated into the instrument charts.
My wife and I were discussing last night what we thought Activision might call the increasingly inaccurately named ‘Guitar Hero IV’, given that it’s really not just about guitars anymore; ‘Rock Hero’ maybe? Rock Clone? Clone Band? Or perhaps they’ll just keep the GH4 name just in the interests of branding, and give it a lame subtitle to explain the inconsistency, probably slipping the word ‘Rock’ in there discretely somewhere. You probably saw the announcement recently of the drum kit, which has all the hallmarks of being required to ’take it to the next level’ by replacing one drumpad with two dedicated cymbal pads.