The Rift-exclusive Rock Band VR is due to launch on March 23rd, with a game + guitar bundle priced at $70. The game takes a wildly different approach to musical gameplay than its predecessors, but also has a classic mode that fans will instantly recognize.

Announced way back in December, 2015, the much anticipated Rock Band VR is now due to ship on March 23rd, according to the official Harmonix blog. A bundle including a Rock Band Fender Stratocaster wireless guitar controller for Xbox One or PS4 and the game can be pre-ordered today for $70 via Amazon. Rock Band VR also requires Oculus Touch, which comes with an adapter to attach to and track the guitar in the game.

For those who already own their own guitars, Harmonix has confirmed to Road to VR that Rock Band VR will support all Rock Band 4 guitars. For the PS4 version, you’ll need bluetooth to be able to connect while the Xbox One version will connect to the Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows (the same dongle that comes in the box with the Oculus Rift and connects the included gamepad). The Harmonix blog post also somewhat confusingly says the game is also compatible with “most other Rock Band controllers;” we’ve reached out to the developers for clarification.

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Harmonix hasn’t announced Rock Band VR’s standalone price (if you BYOG), but our guess is $20 or $30, given that the Fender Stratocaster guitar peripheral runs about $42 alone.

Although the Rock Band games are known for gameplay that ranges across guitar, drums, bass, and keyboard, Rock Band VR only allows players to fill the guitar role.

Harmonix has revealed the first bits of the Rock Band VR setlist, which will include Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way”, “When You Were Young”by The Killers, and
“Ain’t It Fun” by Paramore. The company promises the following from the game:

• Performance Gameplay: Experiment with different chords, notes and strum speeds to develop your signature sound and make each song your own.
• Classic Mode: Demonstrate your technical prowess on the game’s Classic Mode, featuring the Rock Band note highway and scoring that you all know and love.
• Worldwide Leaderboards: Cement your rock god status by chaining together combos, earning stars and topping the global Rock Band VR leaderboards.
• High-energy Soundtrack: With more than 60 songs from legendary artists and up-and-coming acts, there’s truly something for everyone.
• Rock Band VR DLC: Rock Band VR will support its own catalog of DLC to accompany your rock experience. Stay tuned for more DLC details in March.

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  • GamerFirst1

    So far the only title I miss by being on Vive. Hopefully someone will figure out how to make it work with Vive.

    • dextrovix

      Depending how the neck controller is used apart from position will dictate the success- you’d need to get the duct tape out to attach it of course! I can’t see it working by any hacking around myself- let’s just hope it is a time exclusive so official support may come in future. I’m lucky to have both Vive and Rift, but I’d personally love the choice so I could buy from Steam rather than Oculus Home.

      • Justos

        could work with the new vive trackers!

        • dextrovix

          But aren’t the proposed new trackers simplified versions to make them cheaper, and they don’t do anything extra that the originals can’t already? I know peripheral-wise there are proposals for lots of different configurations, but that would mean more expense than using a controller as designed now, with a few buttons and nothing else to track actual movement if you did want to learn how to play.

    • J.C.

      Eventually, Oculus will have to open its doors and support non-Rift headsets. Right NOW, that only means “support Vive”, but soon enough it will mean “support 7+ other headsets”.
      When one store supports EVERY headset, and another store only supports ONE, where do you think people will buy their games, especially when there isn’t cross-platform multiplayer? The goal, for Oculus, is the STORE’s success, not neccessarily the hardware. They want to be the Steam of VR, which would be perfectly fine if they didn’t insist on ALSO trying to be Apple with hardware exclusivity. They don’t have the religion-level customer loyalty, nor Apple’s “it’s just easier” design. Their headset currently is a little more comfortable than the Vive, and their controllers are good, and that’s the only advantages they have. Both are likely to be eclipsed within a year.

      • MasterElwood

        no. Its NOT Oculus goal to be the “Steam of VR”. Not even close. They want to be the “Apple of VR” – and they WILL be. No question about that. It doesnt LOOK like it right NOW – but trust me: they are going to be. If you leave alle the fanboy/fanhates hats off – you HAVE to agree.

  • Foreign Devil

    This would be great if it actually taught you how to play a real guitar.

    • dextrovix

      But wouldn’t tracking your hand across all six strings and the position up the neck be unworkable with current technology? If it was, the guitar with that amount of sensors and software would not be $70. Also, if you ignore having a realistic guitar for you to hold, then your fingers in VR would not match your own sense of touch if the software tried to teach you realistically.

      • Mike

        It’s already existed for years – it’s called “Rocksmith”.

        • dextrovix

          For learning guitar sure. But as I said, in VR a lot more than just the software needs to be considered- it can’t be done with the hardware we currently have.

          • beestee

            Wouldn’t it just be a matter of attachment and calibrated alignment of the tracked controller since fret boards are generally the same spacing from guitar to guitar?

            Seeing a virtual representation of where and how your hand should be located might actually produce a better teaching experience than relying completely on the ‘note highway’ approach ala Frequency / Amplitude / Guitar Hero / Rock Band / Rocksmith.

          • dextrovix

            But how would the software know where your fingers actually are on the fret board? Because without that accurancy, how is it any different to watching learn guitar exercises on YouTube that VR is going to then offer something better?

          • beestee

            You are aware of Rocksmith? It uses software to determine if you are playing the correct notes on a real guitar that is either plugged into AUX or even through a microphone if you prefer instant aural feedback through an amp or acoustic guitar.

            And yes, I do think a first person view of what you should be seeing for hand placement would be a step up from watching YouTube videos, especially when coupled with software than can discern that you are playing the correct notes.

            I imagine there is probably a way to attach leap motion technology to a guitar and get live feedback for hand position.

      • Foreign Devil

        Yeah I suppose it would work a lot better with something like an electronic keyboard rather than guitar. . which could sense that you are hitting the right notes at the right time. I just like the idea of making learning keyboard or guitar more fun and gamified. I’m all about using VR to make learning more fun and easier.

        • dextrovix

          That is a very good idea. Clearly not very cheap to produce, but a decent way to make something in VR easier to interact with.

    • TheVillasurfer

      Yes, but if someone would rather learn guitar using a video game, then I’d question whether they really want to learn guitar, or just play a video game.

      A real guitar is great fun and I don’t understand needing something additional to enjoy it or remain motivated.

      I used to enjoy guitar hero, but it was completely separate to my actual guitar-playing. One was fun and a mess-around with a few crappy buttons, the other was fun and a serious hobby.

      It’s like playing Mario Kart to learn how to drive.

    • Mario-Galouzeau de Bocsa

      In VR, I don’t see how. Seems like a mission for AR though.

    • Patrick Ballou

      This would be more of an AR title. so you can see your hands in real live with an overlay of where they should be, notes on how you are doing, and what to play.

  • Lewis Smith

    I really hope this will be compatible with my Guitar Hero WT guitars. I already have enough plastic instruments!