'Rock Band VR' Will Debut March 23

Oculus released its Touch motion controllers with a robust lineup of 50 compatible titles, but there was one notable absence: Rock Band VR. Harmonix was supposed to release the virtual reality (VR) followup to the popular play-along rhythm game series in 2016, but the company didn't meet that goal, and quietly let the release window slide without a hint of when the game might see the light of day. Now the developer has finally broken its silence.

Harmonix released a new mixed reality trailer for Rock Band VR that reveals three songs from the game's track list. You'll take the stage with Steven Tyler to perform Aerosmith's "Walk This way," rock out with The Killers in "When You Were Young," and lighten things up a bit with Hayley Williams in Paramore's "Ain't It Fun." Harmonix said the game would launch with 60 songs to choose from and that there's "something for everyone" in the library. (Oculus first announced Rock Band VR in December 2015 with a promo trailer featuring Dragonforce and its song "Through The Fire And The Flames." We can only assume that song is in the game alongside the three tracks revealed today.)

Rock Band VR is a change of pace from the rest of the Rock Band franchise. The game emphasizes stage presence. You can interact with virtual band mates and objects on stage, use pedals to change your guitar's sound, and even hit the drum kit's cymbals with your guitar. Harmonix said your performance will be scored, and leaderboards will let people know how they compare to other players, or if they've mastered new game mechanics.

Rock Band VR will hit Oculus Home on March 23. Harmonix is offering two bundles on Amazon: one with a PS4 guitar and the other with an Xbox One guitar, both of which can hook up to a PC via USB and cost $70. Oculus Touch controllers are required to play game game; the bracket that holds the Touch in the Rock Band guitar is included in the Touch's package. It's unclear whether or not Rock Band VR will be available as a standalone game.

 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years. 

  • jossrik
    I love VR and while this looks interesting, being on stage in front of a crowd may be better without the added stress of not knowing where to put your hands cause you can't look down at the guitar... Once you're proficient at guitar hero, then ya, maybe, but I can't see people who just got into VR replaying this. I remember when guitar hero came out and it was just as much fun to watch everything going on in the background that you can't pay attention to unless you memorize the song for that difficulty.
  • Xenophage
    Anybody know if this will be Vive compatible?
  • bit_user
    Should be Rock Band AR. I'm sure many musicians can play without ever looking at their instruments, but most gamers probably cannot.