Rock Band 4 Will Have a Pretty Smooth Transition to Next-Gen

Rock Band 4 Will Have a Pretty Smooth Transition to Next-Gen

If you're still all-in for those plastic instruments, backward compatibility is coming day one.

The late 2000s heyday of Rock Band and Guitar Hero may never be topped, but for the folks out there still shredding on plastic axes and thwacking away at rubber drum pads, Harmonix has some good news about next-gen. Rock Band 4 will work with the new Xboxes and PlayStation 5 on day one in backward compatibility, and it seems like it should be a pretty seamless transition across generations this time around.

Over at Harmonix's website, Community Manager Katie Farmanian runs down a list of all the big questions and compatibility concerns one could have about playing Rock Band 4 on the new consoles. While the devs haven't tested every plastic instrument under the sun (namely, third-party controllers and those associated with Guitar Hero), it seems like most of the controllers that worked with Rock Band 4 on PS4 or Xbox One will still work on the newer consoles in much the same way. On top of that, DLC transfers should be a breeze.

"All DLC currently available for download will also work on new consoles," Farmanian says. "No messy generation transition this time, it's the same DLC!"

That's welcome news for long-time Rock Band players. Transitioning over the libraries from Rock Band 1, 2, and 3 plus their associated DLC into Rock Band 4 is, to put it lightly, a complicated process, so hearing that all you have to do is either redownload or transition the songs over on a hard drive is great news. Save data will also migrate either by way of cloud transfers on both console families or with a hard drive transfer from PS4 to PS5.

As for the benefits of moving over to next-gen, Harmonix has found "a pretty sizable performance increase" in loading, even with large libraries of DLC. "Both the new Xbox and PlayStation consoles are on par with each other when it comes to load times," Farmanian says. "Impressive across the board."

The cherry on top is that online multiplayer will function cross-generationally within console families, so if you're the only person in your online supergroup who's planning on getting a new Xbox or PS5, you'll still be able to play with your fellow Xbox One or PS4 bandmates.

Harmonix is also launching its new rhythm franchise on the same day the next-gen Xboxes come out next month. Fuser, a peripheral-less DJing game, will debut on Nov. 10 for the PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Switch—as for next-gen consoles, it should also be backward compatible like Rock Band 4 is.

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Mathew Olson


Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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