Developers improve music-making games

Stars and Stripes Writes: "MTV Games and Harmonix turned up the volume for "Rock Band 2." And while Activision didn't participate in E3, its "Guitar Hero World Tour" got some exposure during the Microsoft press briefing. However, the upstart Komani popped up to prove these weren't the only games in town. Finally, Nintendo gave a new spin to the whole band idea.

During a later demonstration, Harmonix reps said the company's plans for "Rock Band" called for innovating and then perfecting. "RB2" represents a big step toward perfection.

In their efforts to improve the equipment, developers listened to gamers - especially concerning the drums. Major improvements include making the drums wireless and sturdier. The drum pads are softer, quieter and can sense the intensity of the impact. On the guitars, buttons are softer - meaning there will be less "click-clacking" - and more responsive.

Wannabe rock stars also can shell out extra cash to buy full-size Fender guitar and bass controllers and an Ion drum kit, which can be turned into a real electronic drum set. For a truly over-the-top experience, you can even get a "Rock Band" fog machine.

Since Activision wasn't really active at E3, details on "Guitar Hero World Tour" were relatively sparse.

However, during the Microsoft briefing, Kai Huang of Red Octane described how "World Tour" will be the first title in the incredibly successful "Guitar Hero" franchise to offer wireless drums and a mic. The song list will contain 85 tracks, including work by Metallica, Van Halen and the Eagles."

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