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Music/rhythm gameplay can still evolve, says LoPiccolo

When it comes to the music/rhythm genre, Harmonix' Greg LoPiccolo doesn't think developers will be limited to releasing new songs every year but can continue to evolve the gameplay.

"Our problem is more like choosing between the different opportunities that we want to pursue," he told GamesIndustry.biz. "There are a couple of specific directions that we'd like to go."

One of the directions LoPiccolo spoke of was the ability for users to create their own music.

"We would like to make it possible for people to introduce their own music into the Rock Band ecosystem, which is a pretty complicated topic.

"It isn't easy to achieve - there are IP issues, ratings issues, and so forth. So there are a lot of things to work through to get that to work, but that seems like a natural direction for the franchise to move.

"We'd love to have it be a vehicle for people to be able to express themselves in terms of creating their own music and bringing it to a wider audience."

LoPiccolo is also interested in providing more personal self-expression within the constraints of the Rock Band game.

"Right now, the game does a really good job in bonding players together. That emotional feeling you get if you are in a band and you are succeeding is really powerful and we're very pleased that it worked as well as it did," he explained.

"But we think there is a lot more potential for personal self-expression within that envelope. You can see just little bits and pieces of it - there are drum fills, rock endings.

"There are ways for people to play distinctive roles and express themselves, but only a tiny fraction of the overall experience. We see a lot of potential for expanding that."

The VP of product development for Harmonix thinks that the music selection will evolve into a spectrum of purchasing opportunities over time - similar to the way consumers purchase songs via iTunes or entire CDs at retail.

LoPiccolo also acknowledged that they have been getting a lot of requests for expanding the instruments to include a keyboard.

"Who knows? It may happen one day. It is actually conceptually pretty difficult to build in.

"Most consoles are set up for four peripherals, not five, which means you have to drop something. Which means that the song offering is more complicated.

"You know, it is a big commitment. And then the question is, are there enough rock songs with compelling keyboard parts to make it worthwhile? And maybe the answer is yes, but we've been pretty busy and we haven't really gotten there yet."

The complete interview with Greg LoPiccolo can be read here.

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