RockBand.com

Just Came Back From E3

I made this post in response to this thread (it also appears there). http://www.rockband.com/forums/showthread.php? t=64804 :

Let me tell a story here if I may.

A long time ago we made music games. We've always made music games except when we made Epcot Center attractions (before we moved to video games) and tried our hand at Antigrav. It is what we do. It is what we're passionate about. At last count we were a company of over 200 that was over 70% musicians. We're weird as far as game companies go.

I arrived at HMX during the KR series as a direct result of being a huge fan of Amplitude and Frequency and ultimately having some friends who knew some people (thanks Maria) after trying very hard to come aboard. I believed in the company and what they were trying to do.

But most people didn't care. At the time the music game genre was very limited. Music games were niche only for the most hardcore and for importers. It wasn't a market here, and it was difficult to stay afloat even with our being just about the only competitor in the genre. Yes, there was DDR, but even that was seemingly pretty niche and not a lot like the stuff we were doing and wanted to continue doing. We didn't want you to react to the music - we wanted you to BE the music.

Then we were the developers on GH1. We worked really, really hard on it and thought it would kind of go the way of the rest of our games - a small group of passionate fans but no real mass appeal.

We were wrong. It turned out to be a big deal. One of the biggest games that year and certainly the most revolutionary as far as what it did to the industry. Suddenly a bunch of musicians were seeing their work inspire a whole generation of kids to pester their parents for a guitar. Some people criticized us but mainly they were wrong. We made something that made kids want to play music. Even better - it wasn't constrained to kids. Parents, grandparents, and other non-kid-bound adults were having the same reactions.

In summary - a bunch of (fairly rough-neck) local musicians put something together that ended up becoming a good pop-culture phenomenon. We couldn't have been more proud. In a sense, that was what it was always about. Making money? Sure... we have apartments and mortgages and families and always that ever-hungry desire for more gear for our projects. Making more musicians? That's it, right? Making more people know how awesome it is to play music.

We went on to develop GH2. Same reaction.

A bunch of stuff happened and then we moved on to Rock Band, a game which I hope will be as inspirational in creating a whole new generation of bands as when the Velvet Underground put out albums.

More amazing moments have happened to me since Rock Band began to development than I could possibly divulge in a single post. I've met celebrities. I've met musicians who have inspired whole sections of my life. I've been quoted, and I've forwarded those quotes to friends and family who have been tickled by the whole thing.

But, and I think I speak for a majority of HMX, the best part has been watching our games touch people in subtle ways that make them want to make the next leap to picking up real instruments because they liked the way our game made them feel.

The press, the internet, fanboys, lots of people, will make a big deal of some competition between all the music games coming out. That one of us is trying to destroy the others.

Me? I'm just stoked that the genre is even big enough to support multiple games in the first place. For a while there it was foggy whether it could even support just us.

We're musicians. We love what we do. We love what we make. We would never put out something that we thought was crappy just to "compete." Our focus is our game and always will be. Well, that and tricking more of you into being musicians.

Sorry for being long-winded. I feel very passionate about what we do. If I didn't I would work somewhere else.