In that sense do you feel like Harmonix has met its vision?
No, I think it’s a waystation. I think we’ve made some significant strides. People feel like they are musicians, and they are deriving a lot of entertainment and emotional satisfaction out of it. That’s a big deal. The thing that they’re not doing that we would love for them to do is actually make musical decisions with musical consequences and gameplay consequences.
So you’ve been pushing on this concept of interactive music?
Yes, we envision a musical vocabulary where you’re not playing along to someone else’s music, you’re actually authoring it. All the senior folks at Harmonix are mesmerised by that goal, but we also have a realistic sense of how difficult it will be to achieve. We’ve had a couple cracks at it from different angles. But the answer is no, we have a long way to go. Beat-matching is not the be-all, end-all of music gaming. We would like to do some other things, and we also hope that other people will do some other things. It’s exciting that music games are getting green-lit. We’re hoping that other cool stuff will come out of other people’s minds, stuff that we wouldn’t have thought of.
Yes, this is flame bait for all the crazy people who argue that playing a glorified Simon Says (Guitar Hero/Rock Band) is a deeper experience (I didn't say game) than Wii Music. GH/RB provides the necessary structure that gamers expect to be measured against for validation of performance but does not provide a real sense of authorship or actually being a part of the creative experience. GHWT's new studio mode doesn't even really count, since you're still only creating a note chart to repeat note-for-note.
I don't argue that GH/RB aren't more immediately enjoyable. It certainly helps that you are presented with a definite course of action. It's sort of the same reason I don't enjoy going to the Mongolian Barbeque: Because I'm not a chef, I don't know how to properly select my ingredients and their quantity. The enjoyment of my food rests entirely on my shoulders, and it becomes simple to fail.
I haven't played Wii Music yet, but judging from Nintendo's new direction, being a "game" in the traditional "conquer a challenge" sense of the word is not their intention. But in being a tool for simplified musical expression, it seems that Harmonix could be jealous for being beat to the punch.
Edited by dafunkk12, 20 October 2008 - 06:43 PM.
added Mongolian BBQ anecdote