After seven full games, one downloadable game and tens of millions of copies sold, it seems the end may be near for our beloved Rock Band franchise. Every week for the past five years, developers Harmonix have churned out a selection of extra songs to expand which you could download to expand your game, from full AC/DC albums, to songs from Green Day to The Who, amassing a downloadable store which to date has surpassed some four thousand tracks. But sadly, it looks like the store will never get the chance to break the five thousand mark, as the last ever tracks will be added on the 2nd of April, according to a recent forum post by developer Aaron Trites.
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Marking the end of an era,the decision to discontinue the shop updates is a result of the team responsible shifting over to "other projects" - plural - although quite what the projects are remains to be seen. What they aren't, however, is new Rock Band games, with the company already having confirmed that they "don't have any Rock Band titles in active development at the moment" - so you can colour us disappointed. But while we may just be being hopeful, "no new Rock Band games" doesn't necessarily mean "no new Rock Band-style games". After all, the next generation of consoles has begun, with the Wii U already out and the next Xbox and Playstation 4 both on the horizon - so perhaps we'll be looking at some exciting announcements for the new consoles from Harmonix in the coming weeks.
Looking on the bright side, there are, however, releases lined up till April, with the remaining tracks from Rock Band Blitz, several Pro Guitar upgrades for existing songs and a few brand new artists on the way. The Xbox 360 Rock Band Network store, where bands can make and release their own tracks (and which has seen Everybody Plays' official favourite band, the Poets of the Fall, finally get their music on a Rock Band game) will still be in operation for the foreseeable future, but due to technical constraints the Playstation 3 equivalent will receive no more updates from the beginning of April either. As a way of saying thanks to the fans of the series, the big half price sale on over a thousand songs announced last September will still be online - with no finishing date announced, so perhaps it's more correct to think of it as a permanent price drop on all their old stuff. Either way, it's a bargain way to bolster your library.
Hopefully we'll learn more about the future of the Rock Band franchise in the coming months, but we can't be alone in hoping we haven't seen the last of the series. It's also worth noting that Harmonix haven't completely written off the possibility of occasional, sporadic song releases either, though, so it may not be worth hanging up your guitars quite yet.