Air Guitar Rhythm Game ‘Unplugged’ Launches on Quest October 21st, on PC VR Later This Year

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Unplugged is an upcoming VR rhythm game which makes use of full finger-tracking for a Rock Band-like experience, but with an ‘air guitar’ instead of a plastic peripheral. Today developer Anotherway announced the game’s release date for October 21st on Oculus Quest, and affirmed that a PC VR version will launch later this year.

As far as controllerless hand-tracking games on Quest go, the vast majority are using the tech for simple pinch and poke interactions (though we’ve seen some really cool ideas out there). Unplugged, on the other hand, is using hand-tracking in a creative way which promises to finally make your air guitar a reality.

The game definitely builds on the vibes of classic instrument-based rhythm games like Rock Band and Guitar Hero, but this time without the plastic guitar.

Today developer Anotherway announced that the Unplugged release date is set for October 21st on Quest.

Later this year the game will also come to PC VR, though it will only support hardware with full finger-tracking, which primarily means any headset using Index controllers (unfortunately Oculus hasn’t brought Quest’s hand-tracking to Rift S).

The studio seems to indicate that other finger-tracking hardware could be supported, but it isn’t entirely clear which they are be referring to. HTC Vive headsets technically support controllerless finger-tracking, though it’s rare to see it implemented. Many Pimax headsets include controllerless finger-tracking from Ultraleap, but it isn’t clear if they will be supported either. We’ve reached out to the studio for clarity.

The studio also announced a partial song list for Unplugged featuring some well known rock songs:

  • Bumblefoot – Overloaded
  • Freak Kitchen – My New Haircut
  • Louis and The Shakes – On One
  • Lynch Mob – Wicked Sensation
  • Ozzy Osbourne – Flying High Again
  • The Electric Alley – Searching For The Truth
  • The Offspring – The Kids Aren’t Alright
  • The YeahTones – Lightning
  • Weezer – Say It Ain’t So

More songs are expected to be announced prior to launch.

The studio has also recruited Steel Panther guitarist Russ “Satchel” Parrish to be the in-game mentor to guide players through the experience.

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You might be wondering to yourself, “why not just do the real Rock Band in VR?” Well, actually that already exists. Harmonix, the studio behind the series, was actually an early adopter of VR and released Rock Band VR back in 2017 on Rift; though you needed one of the series’ guitar controllers to play (and an adapter to connect your VR controller to the guitar to track it).

Unfortunately the game wasn’t exactly a hit, perhaps because of the hardware requirements and a lack of any kind of multiplayer functionality (which has been core to Rock Band’s DNA). Unplugged may not have multiplayer, but at least it doesn’t require any extra peripherals. With Quest’s pick-up-and-play nature, it’ll be interesting to see how well it fares on that headset.

Harmonix went on to find more success with Audica (2019), a more abstract VR rhythm game built around target shooting.

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    It would be interesting if this supported leap, but I’m very glad they’re supporting the knuckles. Rocking Legend does that already but more games is good and while that one has things like support for rock band maps and regular controllers and rb peripherals, this one seems like it has a better campaign. With rocking legend I realized these kinds of games are actually really difficult compared to something like beat saber.

    Worth noting that the Vive hand tracking SDK actually works with the vive, vive pro, and index. It’s not great, so I would be surprised if it worked well with this. Leap’s Gemini is supposed to be hardware agnostic but I don’t think there’s any plan to provide support for PC headsets or RGB cameras.

  • Marcus

    Because you don’t need to plug-in that plastic guitar?