I am Alex Rigopulos, co-founder and CEO of Harmonix, the video game studio best known as the developer of Rock Band, Dance Central, and the first two Guitar Hero titles.

We’re currently working on Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved, and we're now Kickstarting a reboot of our classic PS2 game Amplitude for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3.

(A bunch of people have asked for me to include the Kickstarter link, so here it is: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/harmonix/amplitude )

FINAL UPDATE: Hey gang, I'm signing off. Thank you all SO MUCH for the great questions, and for all of your support over the years! Hopefully I'll be back some day soon for another round!

Proof: http://imgur.com/el4H37Y

Comments: 358 • Responses: 32  • Date: 

thaiexchangestudent69 karma

I've been gaming for over 30 years, and I can honestly say no game has ever come close to capturing my imagination as the Rockband series. I have few memories of gaming that are as visceral and emotive as the ones I got from working my way through the most basic of beats on the drums (cursing the entire time at my limbs' unwillingness to work independently), to eventually FC'ing numerous tracks on expert--I'm sad to admit I held #1 on PS3 on a few tracks for a time.

Rockband exposed me to music I wouldn't have normally have listened to, increased my love of playing music, and I credit the series for encouraging me to pick up my real guitar for the first time in over a decade of misuse and avoidance.

TLDR: thanks--I backed Amplitude the minute I heard about it.

Question: From a personal level, were you sad to see the music genre of games slowly dwindle into the realm reserved for only the hardcore fans, or do you think this was always the trajectory of the genre? Did RB's success and longevity surprise you?

alexrigopulos55 karma

Hey, thanks thaiexchangestudent.

Of course I was sad when Rock Band passed its (first!) peak, but one way or another, it will be back. Also, music games need to evolve just like every aspect of pop culture. The band game boom was followed by a dance game boom, which will be followed by some other manifestation of music games--hopefully some of the new stuff Harmonix is working on! Music is a permanent aspect of the human experience, and so is gameplay. It's Harmonix's job to figure out new ways for music and gameplay to amplify each other's emotional power. Stand by!

Melodywish64 karma

If you are interested in backing the Amplitude Kickstarter make sure you do it soon!

alexrigopulos37 karma


StefanGagne35 karma

As a disabled gamer, controls are sometimes a serious issue when playing console games. Depending on your disability it may be difficult to access face buttons, bumpers, or triggers. In my case it's bumpers and triggers, which can be very rough indeed.

The best possible way to deal with this is for developers to allow FULL remapping of the controls -- not just picking between "Type A" and "Type B" but to remap any function in the game to any button of the user's choosing. Will this be an option on Amplitude?

Similarly, are any considerations being made to support color blind gamers, given the emphasis on visuals in the Amplitude franchise?


alexrigopulos35 karma

Hey Stefan, thanks for asking about this. We'll definitely think about a comprehensive remapping system for Amplitude! Game accessibility is pretty important to me personally, which is why I've donated to the Able Gamers Foundation for years (http://www.ablegamers.com/), and it's something that the team at Harmonix often thinks about. For example, the upcoming Fantasia game is a full-body motion control game, but we also made sure that it was playable from a wheelchair.

EgocentricPlasticSam28 karma

Is there any future for Rock Band? More DLC or a new game using the instruments we already own?

alexrigopulos49 karma

Mr. EgocentricPlasticSam, the Rock Band series is dear to our hearts at Harmonix (to put it lightly). We are determined to bring it back when the time is right!

yakityyakblah28 karma

This is a serious question and not a joke. What happened with Muse? It doesn't seem that hard to get their music in every other game, so just what happened? The integrity of this ama depends on whether you're willing to answer this.

alexrigopulos36 karma

Hey yakityyakblah, we requested a ton of their music, repeatedly, and for whatever reason (not well understood...), we just couldn't get it cleared. Believe me, it bummed us out as much as it did our/their fans!

NetPhantom26 karma

While I really want to believe and am still hoping for the best, does the Amplitude goal falling so short at the moment portend what you might've feared all along? The the games are well loved but just don't have the wide appeal? Like Freq and Amp selling "mouse nuts."

There any chance of seeing the game another way, or if the KS fails are my hopes dashed?

Thanks for all the amazing games over the years!

alexrigopulos42 karma

Hey NetPhantom, great question! Actually, I don't think our struggle to fund Amplitude is evidence that the game doesn't have wide appeal. In our experience, Amplitude has incredibly broad appeal--once people actually play it! The challenge is that it's hard game for people to get their heads around based on just a description or a screen shot. They need to play it to understand what's so powerful about it. This made it impossibly difficult to market Amplitude back in 2003, when downloadable game demos on consoles were not a thing yet, and social media was not a thing yet. But the world is really different 2014. People can download and try out console games for free. And they can shout from the rooftops through FB/twitter about games that are awesome. If we can get this game made, we're convinced it will find an audience this time around. There is powerful chemistry in Amplitude--it is hypnotic and fiendishly addictive, so we're dying to find a way to bring it back in glorious HD.

(If the KS fails, we don't currently see a path to getting the project funded. It's a tough pitch to traditional publishers, because the first title wasn't a commercial success.)

UncleJock24 karma

A great many people hold the view that the death of the peripheral-based music game genre was entirely the fault of Activision: who bled the Guitar Hero series bone dry with, at one point, FIVE GH releases in a single twelve month period.

Do you agree with this opinion? And did you play any of those games? If so, what did you think of them?

alexrigopulos38 karma

I think there's probably some truth to the notion that Activision "over-published" Guitar Hero. But I wouldn't agree that the decline of the genre was "entirely the fault of Activision". Reality is always more complicated than this. For example, it didn't help that GH and RB were the most expensive video games on the market during a brutal recession. I also don't think that either GH or RB delivered enough (or the right kind of) evolution of the experience in the years that followed the initial releases--something we hope to address at some point in the next outing.

RyanWest22 karma

How weird is it that you're a character in Broken Age? Just kind of weird, or all the way weird?

alexrigopulos27 karma

43% weird.

kevinturnermovie21 karma

Will the new Amplitude have an intro video on the level of the original Frequency? If yes, will you reprise your role as DumpLord420?

alexrigopulos29 karma

I am the DumpLord.

alexrigopulos17 karma

But srsly, whether there's an intro video depends on funding level. You can be sure that the game will be slick as all hell, though.

brainloading016 karma

Hi Alex! 2 part question from me.

What do you think of the Rock Band Custom DLC community? Is it inspiring to see people carrying on the legacy of weekly DLC.

Where is the best place for me to find Rock Band instruments...garage sales never have them and craigslist is overpriced!

alexrigopulos13 karma

Of course it's AMAZING to watch the devoted RB community carry on with DLC production!

As for buying new RB instruments, I wish I had a good answer for you. If we had any inventory left, we'd be selling them...

Joaster15 karma

Hi Alex! Huge fan of both FreQuency and Amplitude. Played them both to the point of obsession.

As a huge fan of the series, I've been waiting for a sequel/reboot/anything and here it is. I've backed you guys already on Kickstarter, but I'm fearing the worst. What will happen should you guys not reach the Kickstarter goal? Does the project just get shelved and all the work you guys have already done trashed?

I hope not. This is one game I've been patiently waiting over a decade for.

Thank you again for making such a great game, and good luck on the Kickstarter!

alexrigopulos17 karma

Hey Joaster, as I said in my answer above, if the KS fails, right now we don't see a path to getting this game funded. We are DYING to make it, however, so I sure would be grateful if you'd ask your 1000 closest friends to consider backing it. :)

Vocalkiller15 karma

It'd be super awesome if you guys could make a new Rock Band game. And make the 1000+ songs I have in my Rock Band 3 library transferable over to this new title I'm wishing for.

Yeah, that'd be super. Thanks

alexrigopulos26 karma

Hey Vocalkiller, thanks so much for having bought so many RB songs! You can be sure that if/when we bring back RB on the 8th-gen consoles, we'll do everything we possibly can to make it possible to migrate your DLC forward. It's not directly within our control, but it's hugely important to us that we preserve the investments that our most committed fans made in their RB collections.

FallenAngelEyes13 karma

Hi Alex, I'm a big fan of the work Harmonix has done throughout the years. I discovered Amplitude in the electronics section of the retail store I worked at back when it released and would sometimes spend my entire lunch break playing! I immediately supported Guitar Hero because of the experience I had playing Frequency and Amplitude and I've supported Rock Band throughout the years as well (the number of plastic instruments in my apartment is uh, quite large for its size). Playing bass in RB actually inspired me to want to start playing an actual bass guitar and I bought one the same year I picked up Rock Band 3. The game also opened me up to a bunch of new musicians and artists I may not have listened to otherwise, so thank you for that.

Fun fact: I made a transatlantic move soon after I started getting into GH. GH2 guitar boxes were juuuuust barely small enough to count as a "carry on item" on the flight I took from the US to the Netherlands. :D I and my boyfriend each had one on the flight. We may have gotten some funny looks as we stowed them in the overhead luggage compartment.

I've backed the Kickstarter and I'm desperately hoping for it to succeed. As I'm also a PC gamer, I'm incredibly excited about the composers you've just announced who will be contributing if it succeeds, as I'm familiar with a lot of their work.

Okay, sorry for the fangirling, now for the actual questions!

  • You stated on the blog and in the Amplitude Kickstarter FAQ that the reason the Kickstarter was so short is that the developers will need to be assigned to other development projects if the KS doesn't succeed. However, if the KS does succeed (and I hope it does), doesn't that mean that the projects they would've been assigned to will still have fewer development resources attached? One assumes that wouldn't cause an issue if you are indeed willing to commit those devs to Amplitude, but doesn't that also mean that those devs/resources aren't necessarily critical to the other projects? If the date was so important, why wasn't the KS started 12 days earlier, or why can't the date be extended? Basically, I'm trying to convince as many people as I can to back this, but these are the questions my friends are asking, and I'm wondering if you could address this. If you can't due to contractual/professional reasons, I understand, but I was hoping you could shed some light on it for us laypeople who aren't as familiar with developer resource management.

  • Would it be possible for you to do a funding breakdown for the Kickstarter, as in X amount is going to salary, Y amount is going to music license rights, etc.? Many potential backers appreciate that kind of transparency on KS, and it would be awesome if you have enough information for that to be made public.

  • Considering that Amplitude's rights are still held by Sony and thus the game is limited to their consoles, would it have been possible to do a "spiritual successor" that was available on more platforms, such as PC, without having the game tied to Sony's IP rights? The reach (both financially and audience-wise) could've been larger that way and possibly have more people willing to back the KS.

  • Did you ever anticipate that Guitar Hero would become the massive cultural phenomenon that it did? What are your thoughts about the trajectory the franchise took (if you want to discuss it) after Activision acquired the rights? I'm personally rather bitter about the way they handled it, the latest kick in the teeth being the fact that EA made an announcement that they were taking down the DLC for GH/Band Hero/DJ Hero merely a week and a half before they permanently did so. I greatly appreciate the quarterly DLC announcements that RB makes to give us enough warning. It really shows that you appreciate your fans and their support.

  • Can you comment at all on how Chroma is going to do monetization? The site says "Free to play but not pay to win" but there's not much detail, though I do realize it's still in alpha. Will there be, for example, DLC songs to add to your "arsenal"? Would other people be able to hear those if they don't have those themselves or would they have to, like you had to to play together online with friends in RB?

I apologize for the wordiness. Thank you in advance if you actually decide to go through my essay of questions and answer them. I love Harmonix and music/rhythm games in general and I'm really hoping the KS will make it.

alexrigopulos21 karma

Hey FallenAngelEyes! Look at all those words! :P

1) On timing, we needed to get permissions in order to launch this Kickstarter (Sony-owned IP), which took time, and we have other projects we'll need to commit to if Amplitude doesn't get funded. Hence the relatively short window. But the 4 remaining days is PLENTY of time for all of your friends to back us!

2) In terms of use of the funding, 100% of the money is going to pay the salaries of the team that would be working on the game. (And the total $775k is actually just a fraction of what we're planning to spend on the game--well under half.)

3) Regarding a "spiritual successor" for PC, it's certainly something we've considered, but the intellectual property issues are really complex, enough so that we opted to focus on a true sequel.

4) No we never anticipated that GH and RB would become as huge as they did (it would have been insane to expect that), but we certainly were hopeful that they would find big audiences, just because of how pervasive the appeal of rock music performance is.

5) Re: Chroma monetization, it's too early to say, but the short version would be that there are a bunch of ways to monetize on content (not just background songs, but also weapon audio content). We want to keep monetization in this domain so that it doesn't warp gameplay.

Hailz_12 karma

Hi Alex!

Long time fan of Rock Band, Guitar Hero & HMX. I'm sure you remember ScoreHero, I used to pretty much live there back in the day playing plastic guitars all day.

Do you have any plans to release any Rock Band-like rhythm games for next gen consoles? I was surprised to see no upcoming announcements for another Dance Central on Xbox One (Fantasia looks pretty cool though!). I'm sure many other rhythm gaming fans will be picking up a PS4 or XB1 the minute a new Rock Band or something similar is announced!

BTW I backed your Kickstarter, I really hope to see Amplitude made! I definitely have an embarrassingly high number of hours in Rock Band Blitz.

alexrigopulos11 karma

Thanks, Hailz. Of course I remember ScoreHero! As you can see from my comments above, Harmonix would definitely like to bring RB storming back when the time is right. Ditto for DC.

Schles12 karma

Seriously, what's with the Awesomeness Detection in Rock Band 2?

alexrigopulos35 karma

I am reluctant to reveal this long-kept secret, but after 6 years, I think it's finally time:

Awesomeness Detection does...nothing. Absolutely nothing. One of our designers threw that in there for fun, basically just to make people speculate wildly forever about what it is.

ThatsGooodJason10 karma

How will Amplitude HD differentiate itself from other attempts by your studio to modernize controller beatmatching gameplay such as Rock Band Blitz, Rock Band Unplugged, and the DS Rock Bands?

alexrigopulos16 karma

RB Blitz and RB Unplugged were all fine for what they were, but really, we had to make a ton of material game design compromises vis-a-vis the original Amplitude in order to make those games appropriate for the Rock Band IP, the platforms they were released on, etc., and the result is that they weren't nearly as fun (i.m.o.). The beauty of Amplitude HD is that we won't have to make any of those compromises. In fact, the HD consoles will enable the new Amplitude to be better than the original in every respect.

ThatsGooodJason5 karma

Could you perhaps be more specific? As someone who hasn't played FreQuency or Amplitude (I never owned a PS2) and watching videos of them online, I'm not seeing much different between these and the Rock Band ones outside of aesthetic changes.

Also as a side note since people are also taking about their RB experiences, does anyone have footage of the guy at PAX East playing Piano Man on Pro Keys + Vocals? That was me, and I'd like to see it again because getting applause for it afterwards was euphoric.

alexrigopulos10 karma

Hey ThatsGoodJason, the deviations were many. There were some mechanical differences, largely related to the specifics of the power-up systems and subtleties of how the streak/combo mechanics were structured. But some of the biggest differences were related to the underlying music content. Electronic music (Freq/Amp) lends itself well to tracks turning on and off at arbitrary points, and to having an arbitrarily large number of active tracks. Rock music is far less versatile as it relates to when it sounds good to having tracks turn on and off, and we were also restricted to working with the number of instrumental tracks present in the original recordings. This led to several changes in the way that the sonic model worked. The multitrack RB games--while certainly fun!--never quite produced the sort of addictive "hypnotic flow state" that Freq/Amp did.

Also, if you somehow fund our Kickstarter at the "Harmonix Throws You a Party" level, you're gonna have to bust out that Piano Man performance at the party! :D

clearNV10 karma

I have easily spent over a grand in Rock Band and Dance Central. Great games that allowed my non gaming friends and family to join in on the fun at gatherings. Just wanted to ask, Why did we only get 1 Muse song?

alexrigopulos10 karma

That's all they would give us! We asked for a LOT more than that!!

bantuwind10 karma

Alex, you changed my life when I saw you guys on stage demoing Rock Band for the first time back in 2007. I want to say thank you for creating one of the most engaging and rewarding games I've ever played. I don't want to know how much time (or money) I've spent on it but the time I've spent showing it to others and watching their faces as they reach that "aha!" moment and move up to medium for the first time has been so worth it.

Also regardless of what people think of the song choices and the gameplay, I think The Beatles: Rock Band had some of the coolest art direction in a game. The details of the stages and the "dreamscapes" were so damn exhaustive and I would purposefully play vocals on easy and just hum so I could watch the background. Even the menus were a work of art.

Fantasia: Music Evolved seems to be headed the same way and I can't wait. I love Disney, I love Fantasia and I love the work you guys do so I'm incredibly excited to wave my arms stupidly in front of my tv for hours on end.

I guess since this is an AMA, I'll ask you a question or two. What has been your favorite moment in your career as Harmonix CEO? Also, what's your favorite Disney movie and why?

Thanks again, Alex! If you ever think about doing a Rock Band 4 in the future, let me know. My Beatles: Rock Band drums are on their last leg.

alexrigopulos9 karma

Thanks, bantuwind!

It's pretty hard to pick on "favorite moment", since I've been at this for 19 years now, and there have been many amazing moments along the way. Certainly, demoing a prototype of The Beatles Rock Band for the first time to Paul McCartney (and seeing him respond positively) was a high point! Also, having The Who play the Harmonix party at E3 in summer of 2008 was one of those "can this actually be happening??" moments. But honestly, my true favorite moments have always been the times just after we've released a game I'm really proud of, where I've gotten to watch the first reviews come in, or, better yet, where I've gotten to see people experiencing our games for the first time "in the wild". I know it's kind of cheesy, but I get choked up every time this happens. Seeing players in the world smiling and enjoying something we've labored so hard on is like "soul food" for me and the team here.

As for my favorite Disney movie, I would have to say it's The Straight Story. They had me at "Walt Disney presents a film by David Lynch". :) It's an incredibly heartwarming tale, masterfully rendered. Strongly recommend to any of you who hasn't seen it!

SharkSocks9 karma

Is there any chance of you guys returning to the Dance Central series? I loved it so much with the characters, songs, general cheeziness, and fun choreography. It's what got me to buy a 360, and I'm sure it could be a system seller for the Xbone too.

Also, I'd like to say thank you for putting Anamanaguchi in Amplitude. They're one of my favorite bands, and I knew from the start they'd be perfect for it. I hopped on that Kickstarter and snagged the cheap game copy tier since Rock Band Blitz showed me the fun I could have with my music without a controller.

Also thanks for RB: Blitz, too. It served as a great swan song for the series. It came out right as I started college, so I was able to bring Rock Band with me when I couldn't bring the instruments, and it's exactly what I needed.

alexrigopulos11 karma

Yes, there is a chance. ;-)

pantaloon889 karma

I've noticed that for the past few years, you've been favoring Xbox over Playstation. Can you explain why?

alexrigopulos15 karma

Actually, Harmonix loves both the PlayStation and the Xbox--both platforms have a ton to offer, and we play both of them to death. We haven't intentionally favored the Xbox over the PlayStation, it's actually sort of been the other way around, meaning, Microsoft has gone out of their way to reach out to Harmonix for projects/partnerships of one kind or another, which has led to us doing a lot on the Xbox (particularly with Kinect). But we're eager to support the PlayStation as well (and the Amplitude project is one example of that). We have a long and positive history with Sony (they were our first publisher, after all), so we hope to be back on PlayStation soon!

UncleJock8 karma

Is Chroma going to be coming to consoles?

alexrigopulos11 karma

Hey UncleJock, I certainly hope so!

HopSkipAndAThrowaway7 karma

What was your favorite instrument on rock band? And favorite song for each instrument?

For the longest time Rock Band was my favorite game. I play all genres, but you made such an amazing experience. Thanks so much.

alexrigopulos3 karma

Well, I'm a (hack) drummer, so I guess I would have to say that drums were my favorite instrument on Rock Band. (Except for the fact then when I've had too much to drink, drums require too much concentration, so maybe guitar/bass is my favorite instrument for Drunk Rock Band...) Impossible to pick any one favorite song, because I bought over a thousand of them and love just rotating through the collection!

butlerbm7 karma

Hi Alex, I am a HUGE FAN of Rock Band. I have one question though that I would like to ask you.

The Beatles: Rock Band was my favorite Rock Band game because of the fact it included my favorite fab-four and their music. Then DLC came out where Sgt Pepper, Abbey Road, and Rubber Soul came out in its entirety. I know that there were tons of people hoping there were more albums that would be released. Do you know what the reason was behind not continuing the DLC albums/songs?

alexrigopulos11 karma

We would have loved to keep going. (In particular, I was really hoping for Revolver.) But as you might guess, that content in particular was quite expensive to license, and the DLC revenue just wasn't sufficient to cover the ongoing costs, sadly.

Occulence6 karma

Alex - Harmonix has been such an influence on my life ever since I played Guitar Hero on a random school day like 8 years ago. I was introduced to so much new music via GH and RB, and became "The Rockband Guy" at my college because I had all the instruments and a lot of songs. I had a really shitty summer last year and drunk nights filled with rapping No Sleep Till Brooklyn (rip MCA) helped me get through. The Beatles are in my top five bands so having a game dedicated to them really made me smile, and Green Day is my absolute favorite, so I lost my shit when GD RB came out, especially because their music has helped me so much in life. Finally HMX and their community outreach PR from guys like John Drake got me to focus on looking at the video game industry as a potential job post grad school.

I have three questions. Also this is totally the first AMA Ive ever asked anything in, so be proud :)

1) Did the Rockband Forum Thread "Fake Steven Tyler wont stop singing with me!" ever make it to your attention? I started it and it blew up way more then I meant it to lol.

2) I am crazy excited for Fantasia: Music Evolved, do you think even though Microsoft isn't pushing Kinect as a 100% required peripheral that other devs like HMX will commit and take risks to make innovative, great Kinect titles?

3) And finally, ultimately what has been so dear to my heart - will we ever see a Rockband: Reunion on the Xbox One/PS4? In any capacity? Even if the dlc doesnt transfer over, I just hope one day I can comeback on stage for one final curtain call...

Until then Ill always have my 1800+ songs on my 360 ready for playing all the time.

Thanks for this, you and HMX are amazing.

alexrigopulos3 karma

Hey Occulence, many thanks for the kind words, so great to hear!

1) "Fake Steven Tyler..." never made it on my radar, but now I have to go digging and learn all about it! 2) Re: Kinect, I think the fact that Microsoft has unbundled the camera just gives consumers more choice (at a lower price point), which is always a good thing. Harmonix remains bullish about the potential for motion games over time. It's impossible for me to guess what other developers might be up to, but certainly Harmonix would love to see Kinect continue to flourish. 3) Re: Rock Band Next, keep the faith! As I said elsewhere, we're determined to bring RB back eventually, one way or another.

PunkAaron3 karma

I just wanted to thank you for making my free time in middle school/early high school not so boring. Competitive Rock Band was my life, so thank you guys for that.

Which Rock Band game was your favorite? Personally, I was fond of Rock Band 2's engine the most, but The Beatles Rock Band was absolutely beautiful.

alexrigopulos4 karma

I can't pick any one favorite! Each one was my favorite for a time--until the next one. :)

ShadowOfTheServer3 karma

Hey Alex! I've been a fan of Harmonix games ever since Amplitude.

Two questions:

  1. Why do a Kickstarter on Amplitude instead of making a spiritual successor in order to bypass potential Sony's copyright issues?

  2. Are there any songs that you wanted to be playable in Rock Band but you can't due to issues like copyright or whatever?


alexrigopulos6 karma

Hey ShadowOfTheServer, 1) Re: the "spiritual successor", please see my replies to an earlier question. (In short, we certainly considered it, but the intellectual property issues are complicated enough that it made sense for us to stick with a true sequel. It's also a great opportunity for us to do a PlayStation-focused project, which we haven't had a chance to do in a long while.) 2) I'd have to say that my "most wanted" artist that we never managed to get into RB was Led Zep.

mysario3 karma

CLICHE STORY APPROACHING: Alex, Mr. Rigopulos, Sire, whichever you prefer - I've been a big fan of Harmonix games, and music games in general, since I first laid eyes on Amplitude in a video rental store back in 2004. A year or so later, my friend ends up getting this game called "Guitar Hero" and we thought this was the craziest thing to come out since a game about Tony Hawk. We both end up getting "Guitar Hero 2" later when it comes out (he got the PS2 one and I become part of the 360 crew) and it was frankly, the bee's knees! Next year, some of my friends heard about this new game coming out called "Rock Band" and ended up getting it when it came out. I thought there was no way this could match with Guitar Hero, I was hero in this game! But Rock Band brought something brand new to the table: drums. Oh hot damn. So I begged my mom (cool kid alert) to get me Rock Band for Christmas so I could be cool and play the drums and learn to sing like Freddie Mercury all while shredding the guitar into pieces. I could be the greatest one man band ever.

I end up getting this game and buying as much DLC as I could (sorry about your credit card, Dad), even if I didn't know the songs. It really opened up my world to all kinds of different music and helped me find some of my favourite bands today. The game inspired me to pick up bass guitar (because who needs another guitarist?) and I've been playing for the past 6 years or so and loving every second of it. As the next year approached, my friends and I were ready to pick up the sequel "Rock Band 2" and have our minds blown by more rock. One of my friends ended up being part of the community and playing and meeting with a lot of people to FC songs and such while I tagged along, doing vocals because everyone was better at me with everything else. I'll skip a lot of the life story, but "The Beatles: Rock Band" was an amazingly beautiful game and I thoroughly enjoyed all the other games that came out too (Lego, Green Day, the 3rd, and I finally picked up Unplugged a year ago - even "Phase" and "VidRhythm" were a good time!)

Though the community was dying, I still supported and loved playing RB3 until the final song "American Pie" was released a year ago. I still play "Blitz" now and then whenever I want to kill time. I also picked up all of the "Dance Centrals" as I loved the idea of being more active and dancing, however, I learned the hard way that dancing is not easy and I am not as coordinated as I would like to be (but I did my best to power through it and now I'm somewhat coordinated and am less likely to trip on myself these days.)

What I wanted to say is I'm excited to see how "Fantasia" is and hope the new "Amplitude" comes out and re-ignites a rhythm revival (or at least the child in me.) Your games have helped me meet plenty of friends, get me started on playing bass and guitar and get me through some tough times - I wanted to say thank you for starting up this company and triggering a nice domino effect on my life along with plenty of others. And thank you for reading this!


For questions: is there any likely chance you can give a 20-year old boy (in some cultures, I would be considered a man) with nothing to do a job for this Summer? I live around 30 minutes off of Cambridge!

On a more serious (orange) note, how hard was it starting up the company at first? Seeing as you were opening up a brand new kind of market for American audiences, I'm sure it had to be hard going through uncharted territory.

alexrigopulos6 karma

Hey mysario, thanks for sharing this story. So great to hear tales like this! Re: a summer gig, I have no idea whether we have any openings for the summer. Drop a note to [email protected] to find out! Re: starting up a company, yeah, it was really hard at first. And after 19 years, IT'S STILL REALLY HARD. :)

xmoxyx2 karma

Thanks for doing this Alex!

What challenges/revelations has this Kickstarter campaign brought to Harmonix? Knowing that you have a LARGE Microsoft/Xbox following did you anticipate having a tougher time achieving funding?

Best of luck!

alexrigopulos3 karma

One challenge has been that the Kickstarter audience is pretty PC-focused (as you can see from this thread), so trying to Kickstart a console exclusive game through KS is a bit of a tough proposition.

Another challenge is that many people in the Kickstarter community have expressed a view that Harmonix is "too rich" or "too successful" to be Kickstarting a game. I can understand why people have that perception, given the success we had many years ago with Rock Band, but the fact of the matter is that these days, we are just another scrappy indie who has to find funding for the games we want to build, just like everyone else. So it has taken some effort to correct that misperception. The good news, though, is that the campaign has been picking up a ton of momentum these last few days, which is super heartening!

Pokevenger2 karma

Do you see Disney Fantasia: Music Evolved as a potential franchise or is it just a one and we're done thing?

alexrigopulos5 karma

We would LOVE it if the first release were successful enough to justify sequels!

pezking69832 karma

Hi Alex. I just want to say how much I love Harmonix's games! I started with Frequency. I pre-ordered Amplitude and took the day off of work to beat it in one day.

My best friend and I became obsessed with the scoring system in Amplitude. We brought a PS2 with an attached screen peripheral with Amplitude anywhere we went. We would bust off a few songs in Wendy's, the park and in school.

I also feel down an obsession with Guitar Hero and Rock Band. I've always loved music but never have the ambition to figure out how a real instrument works. All of your games have given me an insight into becoming a rock god, without the hard work.

I donated as much as I can to the Amplitude Kickstarter. I don't have a Sony platform anymore, but wish you the best of luck. Obviously I know it can't happen, but a PC port would have been awesome!

alexrigopulos2 karma

Thanks so much for your support, pezking. Really awesome of you to back despite not having a PlayStation...