Rock Band 4 has been officially announced by developer Harmonix. It will be coming to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later this year.

The series has been on a 5 year hiatus since its last installment, Rock Band 3, which released in October 2010. If you’ve kept all your old instruments in storage since then, you’re in luck – Harmonix is working closely with gaming accessory manufacturer Mad Catz to allow hardware compatibility with all legacy instruments, although Mad Catz will be creating new ones as well.

What’s more, taking a cue from Dance Central Spotlight, which released in September of last year, Rock Band 4 will allow players to import all of their purchased DLC tracks from the previous PS3/360 games to this next generation version as they are made available. Rock Band 4 will therefore support over 2,000 tracks released since 2007.

A Q&A was published over at the Harmonix forums:

Q: When is RB4 coming out?!
A: Rock Band will be out this year. Stay tuned for more specifics in the coming months.

Q: What consoles is RB4 coming out for?
A: Rock Band 4 will be released for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

Q: Why not Wii / Wii U / PC?
A: Due to shifting production priorities and capabilities of the studio, we don’t currently have plans to release RB4 on the Wii / Wii U / PC simultaneously with Xbox One and PS4. While we genuinely appreciate the support of Wii Rock band users over the years, and the increased interest from PC gamers, the truth is that we had to prioritize opportunities on other platforms with historically larger RB audiences.

Q: Will my old DLC work on the next gen console of the same type, i.e. PS3 -> PS4?
A: Yes! Content purchased from the store or exported from a disc will transfer over to the new generation of consoles at not addition cost as we make that content available.

Q: Will my old DLC work if I bought a different next gen console, i.e. Xbox 360 -> PS4?
A: Cross platform DLC compatibility is not entirely within our control, as DLC ownership is managed by the 1st parties.

Q: Will my old hardware work?
A: We’re already working closely with Mad Catz, Sony, and Microsoft on solutions for letting you use legacy hardware on new consoles. This is a challenge on both the software side and hardware side, but something we’d love to happen. We’ll have more information on this in the coming months.

Q: Will you be making new hardware?
A: Yes we will! You can preorder a new PAX East exclusive guitar if you come by the Harmonix booth! We’re working with Mad Catz, who has a lot of history with RB gear, and we’re excited to get more instruments back into the world.

Q: Will there be any new instruments, i.e. a tuba, accordion, mouth harp, etc?
A: We’re concentrating on the core band that people are most familiar with (guitar, bass, drums, and mic) rather than expanding on the types of playable instruments in RB4.

Q: What will the new Rock Band cost?
A: Sorry, but we’re not talking about pricing at this time.

Q: What instruments will be playable? Wiill RB4 have Pro guitar and keys?
A: Rock Band 4 will focus on the core experience and the roots of the franchise – guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. There will be no Pro Guitar or key support in Rock Band 4. We will continue to support “Pro” mode for Drums.

Q: What are the new features?
A: We’re not quite ready to reveal the evolutionary features of Rock Band 4, but we’re excited to show you in the coming months how we’re expanding the core gameplay you love.

Q: Will you be bringing back [Random Feature X]?
A: We’re not quite ready to reveal the feature set of Rock Band 4 yet, but keep posted for more info!

Q: Will you have songs by [Random Band X]?
A: We’re not talking about the disc soundtrack just yet, but you can bet it’ll be awesome. Over 2000 songs spanning over 500 artists already exist in Rock Band catalog and we’re committed to expanding that and supporting the game post-launch with DLC, and we’re always looking for new bands and sounds, so keep the suggestions coming! Let us know what you want at RockBand.com/request

Q: When will you have more news about RB4?
A: Soon! Keep posted to our social channels and the Harmonix forums for updates.

Q: When can I preorder RB4?
A: You can sign up for preorder notifications right now at RockBand.com/preorder!

Harmonix have also released the following video on their YouTube page:

So what do you think? Are you excited for a new Rock Band game? We’ll be bringing you more news about Rock Band 4 as it is made available to us, so keep reading!

Author’s Note: Rock Band 4 was near impossible to avoid in its heyday. Everyone knew about it, and everyone was playing it. I can’t help but question, however, just how many people still have their old instruments and how many others have simply been turned off from having ‘plastic toys’ clutter up their homes. Time will tell, I suppose, although there is no denying that Rock Band still has its supporters. Finally, I also hope Harmonix can stick to a tighter track release schedule than they have for Dance Central Spotlight – owning all this past DLC means nothing if it takes ages to get up on the store.

  • Sam Fredericks Mat Lauricella