The Xbox community has always been a great supporter Rock Band, representing our biggest, most active group of players. So, we wanted to fill you in on a major update coming to the Rock Band 4 platform that brings new features and a big change to Rivals mode.
Before we get into specifics, I want to take a moment to talk about the evolution of Rock Band 4 since its launch in October, 2015. In the past year we added several new modes and launched the Rock Band Rivals expansion pack that brought online play in multiple forms as well as a new campaign. Already this year we’ve added over 20 new, free songs and new character customization options to the Rock Shop. Our plan has always been to support our loyal, music-loving community with regular updates and content designed to keep the Rock Band experience fresh and interesting.
Since those updates, we’re seeing great pick up of Online Quickplay, the synchronous online mode we introduced to Rivals players back in January of this year. Online Quickplay works hand-in-hand with Xbox Clubs and Groups, which hook up like-minded Rock Band fans with thousands of members — it’s a great way to connect and meet new Rock Band friends.
Our other form of online play is the most popular: Rivals mode. The Rivals mode twist is that we asynchronously pit groups of Rock Band players (a.k.a. Crews) against other Crews. Each week, tens of thousands of Rock Band players compete over the course of a themed weekly challenge. At the end of the challenge, Crews can be promoted to the next tier, which increases the competition level and the stakes.
Our themes are deliberately chosen to highlight interesting collections of songs from a certain area (we did Seattle bands a few weeks back), a certain genre (for example, songs from the 90s, which was super fun; we’ve also done a bunch of metal challenges), and also some more… extemporaneous themes: songs that feature a family member in the title, one word songs, community picks (which is a great reason to pay attention to the Rock Band social channels), and that kind of thing. It’s a fun way to comb through your music library and rediscover songs that you may not have played in a while.
With this upcoming update, we’re adding a Missions system that sets up a fun musical scavenger hunt through the giant Rock Band song catalog. For example, one Mission may task you with hitting 250 notes in Overdrive in a single song, or getting at least three Unison Bonuses in 10 different songs. Each Mission will reward new badges that you can show off on your Online Quickplay introduction or you can reminisce over your badge collection.
The big feature for Rivals mode is Rivals Seasons, eight-week long collections of challenges with unique rewards for top-performing Crews. At the start of each season we level the playing field and place all Crews back at the same level so they can begin their climb up the leaderboard again.
In anticipation of the start of Season 1, we’ve kicked off a competition that is taking place over the next two weeks. We’ve had one of our artists create exclusive Rock Shop t-shirts which will be distributed based on the tier that your crew ends up in at the end of the last weekly challenge before Season 1 (currently scheduled June 8 through 13). These shirts are a one-time only thing and only available to Crews who are competing before the start of the new season. So, if you aren’t in a Crew yet, get in one; if you are, bring your best game!
Also, to prepare for Season 1, we’ve made a major update to the Rock Band Rivals Companion App – it is a must-have for competitive Rivals Crews, with chat functionality, song search features, leaderboard access and more.
So, mark your calendars: the first eight-week season will start June 15, at which point we crack a cold one and reset all crews back to Bronze.
If you’re new to Rock Band 4, you can pick up the digital bundle, which includes Rock Band 4 and Rivals and gets you everything you need to perform your favorite songs, join a crew, compete in challenges, and play online. If you’re still playing Rock Band 4, this is an excellent time to upgrade to Rivals.
Thanks for reading and pay attention to the Rock Band social channels for more info!