The newly announced Rock Band Blitz dumps the brand's expensive instrument controllers while retaining its back catalog of songs.
Unveiled as a download for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, Rock Band Blitz has as much if not more in common with the arcade-style Frequency and Amplitude, music games from the early noughties, or later re-invention Audiosurf, than it does with the Rock Band name.
True, Rock Band Blitz comes with 25 tunes and is compatible with tracks from other Rock Band games (a hefty 3,500-worth), but players use a standard game pad, navigating a winding track that heads further into a busy cityscape, rather than churning out the karaoke-style performances of old.
It's a clever way to remedy the afflictions of Rock Band and Guitar Hero, franchises which enjoyed an intensely successful few years in the late-noughties limelight but became victims of their genre's own success.
A glut of games combined with a trend for expensive instrument-shaped controllers -- drums, guitars, keyboards and microphones -- suffocated the market, and falling sales led to parent company Viacom dropping Rock Band studio Harmonix in 2010, and Activision shelving rival brand Guitar Hero early in 2011.
Harmonix turned to dance games, with the well-received Dance Central 1 & 2 joining Just Dance's exploration of the craze.
However, Rock Band Blitz could mark a return to the music genre, albiet in different form -- a genre that the App Store's Tap Tap Revenge has kept happily chugging along in the meantime.