Harmonix's history has been a roller coaster. From its early indie beginnings with games like Frequency, through the incredible success of Guitar Hero and Rock Band, its purchase and sale by Viacom and its associated lawsuits, and into its resurgence developing Dance Central for the Xbox 360 Kinect, Harmonix has come a long way. Now Harmonix is moving into its next chapter. The company announced on Tuesday that it had been acquired by Epic Games.
A statement released from Harmonix confirmed that the music game company would be joining the Epic Games family. The statement reaffirms Harmonix's dedication to continued support for Rock Band's planned DLC and future Rivals Seasons. However, it also makes clear this doesn't mean a return to classic Harmonix or the release of new Rock Band games. Harmonix explains that as part of Epic, it will be a supplementary developer for Fortnite. Harmonix will "create musical journeys and gameplay" for the battle royale.
In an official press release from Epic Games, Harmonix co-founder and chairman Alex Rigopulos says that the two companies will "push the creative boundaries of what's possible and invent new ways for our players to make, perform and share music." Epic Games VP of game development Alain Tascan reiterates Rigopulos' sentiment, saying that Harmonix and Epic will "transform how players experience music" by shifting passive listeners to "active participants."
Musical experiences have been very popular in Fortnite's history. Musical performances by Marshmello, Diplo, Kenshi Yonezu, and Ariana Grande have captivated players. The Ariana Grande event, in particular, came together in a uniquely interactive style of spectacle. The concert featured some massive environments filled with color for players to race through or bounce around. It's easy to see how a full development team could be dedicated to the creation of similar musical experiences.
In other words, Epic acquiring Harmonix to focus on musical experience could lead to new and more frequent musical experiences the size of the Ariana Grande concert of even bigger. Harmonix could, of course, also work on entirely new ways for players to experience music in Fortnite. Given Harmonix's capability for innovation and the opportunities a massive platform like Fortnite can provide, hopes will be high for this new chapters of the music game company's story.
What bears repeating, however, is that Harmonix has no current plans to do more Rock Band or other new projects. Epic is acquiring the company with a very specific purpose. Harmonix will continue to support Rock Band, Fuser, and Rivals Seasons, but otherwise, fans hoping for more Rock Band or other Harmonix original creations best keep their expectations managed.
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