Harmonix Music Systems, the developer behind countless music games such as Amplitude, Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and Dance Central, has just released a new trailer showcasing their upcoming Music Festival game, Fuser. The idea behind Fuser is that they are putting you in control of the music at a virtual music festival. Take a look at the footage below for an idea of how the games plays.
You’re playing the role of a DJ booth, on stage at a festival. You’ll be mixing tracks up in realtime, able to adjust the pitch, tempo, and key of the song, as well as add or remove different instruments. Then you can pick which song to transition to next as you progress through the playlist. There are competitive DJ battles to engage in through online multiplayer, and a freestyle mode for low stakes experimentation with all the different styles of songs.
The game will ship with over 100 songs included on day one, with current hits from the likes of Lil Nas X, Billie Eilish, and Lizzo for the TikTok generation, and classics from Whitney Houston, Nelly, and The Clash for all the old heads out there. They’re also offering a trio of songs as preorder bonuses:
- Dua Lipa - New Rules
- DJ Khalid - Young, Dumb, & Broke
- The Killers - Mr. Brightside
As far as the footage is concerned, it kind of looks like the music video version of a festival to me, there’s no mud, there are no rubber boots, and the ESRB rating is still pending but there’s no sign of Alcohol Use so far. It’s a facade, but it’s a shiny and visually appealing facade.
I’m not exactly sure how appealing the idea of being a virtual DJ to a virtual crowd will be. In the past, Harmonix Games have either been buoyed by some kind of physical interactivity with a plastic instrument or using the Xbox Kinect camera. Or they’ve leaned a little more towards the abstract, focusing on images intended to stimulate synesthesia rather than simulate an equivalent to a real-life event. Still, with many music festivals delayed or even canceled, with no clear route to having them return, perhaps this will fill the gap for people upset about missing out this festival season.
There’s no price on the Steam page at the time of writing, but it’s currently listed as $59.99/£59.99 on the Epic Game Store, or $99.99/£99.99 for the “VIP Edition”, which includes the first 25 DLC songs plus some in-game virtual items. Seems to me that this is pretty steep, but I suppose all of those huge hit songs from massive international artists don’t come cheap. I feel like with some of their previous music games, Harmonix has offered a blend of big hits and songs from lesser-known artists. This time around it’s all big well-known songs, which might help them bring in the huge fanbases of some of these artists, but it’s a shame to see them switching from careful curation to just chasing something that’s popular. We’ll have to wait and see how it works out for them, but I am happy to see Smash Mouth getting a cheque however the game turns out.