Epic Games has acquired Harmonix, the developer of the Rock Band series, FUSER, Dance Central and a ton of other rhythm action games. With the purchase, it seems that their next job will be to bring their music gaming expertise and the experiences they can create to Fortnite.
Alex Rigopulos, Co-Founder and Chairman of Harmonix said, ‘Harmonix has always aspired to create the world’s most beloved interactive music experiences, and by joining Epic we will be able to do this at scale. Together we will push the creative boundaries of what’s possible and invent new ways for our players to make, perform and share music.”
Harmonix has published a brief FAQ for fans wondering what this means for Rock Band DLC, their games that are available on Steam and more:
What does this mean for Rock Band DLC?
Nothing. We’ll be continuing on with our existing DLC plans… and there are lots of great tracks coming as we wrap up 2021 and push into next year!
Will you keep doing Rivals Seasons?
Yup! We’ve got a fun Season 25 already planned and plenty of ideas for Season 26 and beyond.
What about FUSER events?
No change there either!
Does this mean more Rock Band instruments will be made?
This is not in our current plans.
Will FUSER and your other games still be available on Steam?
Yes, all our games will remain available on Steam and console.
What about the servers for [INSERT HARMONIX GAME HERE]? Will those be taken offline?
We aren’t planning to change the way we support any of our older games.
What will the Harmonix team work on next?
Our team will work with Epic to create musical journeys and gameplay for Fortnite. While we’re not ready to share any specifics, the whole team is incredibly excited to get started. Stay tuned!
Essentially, nothing that already exists is changing in how it’s being made available to players, but Harmonix is now being folded into Epic Games’ intention to build out Fortnite from being consider a game and into something more.
Fortnite has already been the host of numerous in-game events that aren’t about shooting each other with guns. There’s been gigs digitally attended by millions, there’s been movies shown, there’s been movie trailer releases, and show-stopping narrative events. With their musical background, Harmonix can certainly work to bring a more interactive element to music in the game.
In fact, that’s exactly the plan, with Alain Tascan, VP of Game Development at Epic Games saying, “Together with the Harmonix team we will transform how players experience music, going from passive listeners to active participants.”
Still, it’s time to pour one out for one of the last great masters of flogging expensive and very specialised video game peripheral. I doubt we’ll see Rock Band 5 or any similar attempts at selling hunks of plastic from Harmonix ever again.
This is far from the first and certainly not the last acquisition that Epic intends to make. Not long after the dramatic and lucrative success of Fortnite as a battle royale, they acquired Rocket League developer Psyonix. Then, when Fall Guys was one of the breakout hits of 2020, they snapped up Mediatonic to join their game development teams. Now with Harmonix under their wing, they will certainly be eyeing up other studios that can add something distinct to their repertoire.