The first thing they tell you when you start at Harmonix, after the sleepover at Eran’s house (pillowfights and s’mores!) and the “Rock-Face Off” with Alex, is never show up to a party on time. So by the time a whole lot of my fellow Harmonix-ers and I got to the Rockit Room in San Francisco, to check out the premiere of Green Day: Rock Band and the Lady Gaga DLC pack that came out this week, there was a line outside and a lot of noise coming from inside.
We slipped past the line (you can do that when you’re as cool as us, by which I mean when you’re the ones throwing the party) and headed upstairs. I know I said that we were late to this party, but as soon as we walked in we were greeted by John Drake and Alex Rigopolous firing up the Eric Cartman version of "Poker Face," so really we were precisely on time. Drake was amazing, giving it his all as if he were a tiny overweight cartoon himself, and the crowd ate it up. So much so that three out of the next four songs played were also Lady Gaga tracks. Usually bartenders at Rock Band Nights are the workhorses of our Rock Rebellion – stone serious, trying to get us ready to perform and meeting the demands of a huge group of developers and journalists at an open bar, they have no time to actually enjoy the event. But when "Just Dance" came on? They did JUST THAT.
Then came the big setlist – five Harmonix folk including Chris Foster and Caleb Epps (singing Harmonies) got up to play four Green Day: Rock Band songs, songs no one had heard in Rock Band, accompanied by the awesome new Green Day art that no one had seen yet. I was worried, as I am whenever there’s a big block of songs by a single artist, that the crowd wouldn’t get into it. But when the guitar riff in "Brain Stew" gave way to the rest of the song, Caleb jumped and so did we. Even when they failed (yes, even we fail sometimes and we get hell of booed for it) and then started over again, the crowd was still going nuts for it.
How did people think the game looked? Well, I didn’t get a chance to ask, but I will direct you to my press secretary, Mr. Photo of People Taking Video and Photos Of A Videogame. There were no fewer than seven people all holding up iPhones and cameras trying to get a shot of digital Billie Joe. Yes, ladies and gentleman, we have invented a new game – Papparazzi Band.
Mr. Photo of People Taking Video and Photos Of A Videogame
Our own party dude Chris Foster had this to say at the end of the night: “It was great to get to premiere Green Day: Rock Band to a room full of game developers and press tonight. People seemed to really dig the way we delivered the band's music (including Harmonies) and look via Rock Band, which makes me very happy. Now I am sleepy and will go to bed.”
It was an awesome night, with great games and great people. Now I’ve got to head back to GDC and rest up… after all, the Rock Band Network party is tonight, so I’ve got to do this all over again.