Harmonix, the studio behind the Rock Band franchise, created a VR music visualizer called Harmonix Music VR. The Sony Morpheus exclusive title shown at E3 this week takes you through a trippy on-rails experience that Harmonix says will get you listening to music again.
Harmonix Music VR’s Lead Designer Jon Carter says that their first intention was to familiarize themselves with VR as a medium. “We have a long history of making music games, but how much would we have to relearn to make quality VR?” Carter writes in a article at the official PlayStation blog.
According to Harmonix, the VR music visualizer project is as somewhat of an archaic revival by the studio, harkening back to a time when listening to music was a pursuit by itself, and not just a backdrop for other activities. Explosive geometry and endless hallways dancing to the beat (‘Hold my Hand‘ by James Landino is the song in the video) make for what looks like the beginning of something much more expansive.
Harmonix is leveraging its music analysis experience to make the virtual environments reactive in a way that Carter says “old-school music visualizers” can’t.
“With Harmonix Music VR, we have control over every aspect of your surroundings, using our internally-developed, amazingly effective song analysis voodoo. We still use real-time data, but we can also look at the entire song, break it into sections, identify specific drum hits, and even categorize the feel of song sections to drive the visual and environmental transformations,” he said.
The prototype experience shown at E3 features two worlds to choose from, however Carter says they’re currently building “a bunch of different worlds, each with its own vibe and level of intensity.” There is even some level of interaction planned, likely using the PS4 Move controller which was absent at the E3 demo. Carter calls it “just the tip of one big, trippy iceberg.”