When It Comes to Characters, Rock Band 4 is Getting Weirder


It’s not unreasonable to say that Rock Band 4 released in a less-than-optimum state. Although the core gameplay worked as well as ever, the game was riddled with bugs and lacked features from previous entries, including online play. Harmonix has since updated Rock Band 4 numerous times, patching in older features like Practice mode and introducing newer ideas like Brutal Mode. They completely revamped the OS to coincide with the Rock Band Rivals expansion, which added the “Rockumentary” mode Beneath the Tuneage and the oft-requested online multiplayer.

However, for fans who delighted in treating their fictional rock band as dolls to decorate, they found a significantly inferior character creator, worse than the one that came with the first Rock Band. Pre-created faces replaced the more elaborate crafting system from Rock Band 3, and the clothing options plummeted. It has no option to adjust body height or weight, along with any tattooing. The keyword here is limited, frustratingly so.

Although Harmonix hasn’t touched the creator, they’ve gradually added new items to the Rock Shop. Some, like an assortment of baseball caps, are more mundane, while others is pretty weird, including a robot head and a gremlin thing. The additions don’t bring the available options anywhere close to previous titles, but they’re welcome nonetheless.

The strangest thing is the small, growing collection of Rock Shop items from other properties, beginning with the iconic blue-and-yellow Vault 111 jumpsuits from Fallout 4. (Random factoid: Boston, the setting of Fallout 4, is where Harmonix is located.) Raz’s helmet and Whispering Rock shirts, both from Psychonauts, were added a month later. The following April, Thorn and Miko from Battleborn were added as playable characters, replacing the usual humans. Then, for almost an entire year, we saw no similar partnerships.

Until today, that is.

The latest update adds Sterling Archer, the lead from the animated show Archer, as a special cel-shaded character, along with an N7 costume from the upcoming (and the internet’s current punching bag) Mass Effect: Andromeda. That second cameo includes a guitar and bass modeled after the Tempest and Normandy ships, respectively. The Archer character is a surprise because this is the first instance of a non-game property being something more than a logo on a shirt.

Without any idea of what or when future collaborations might bring, I present five possibilities that Harmonix may steal.


If Cloud can mingle alongside Mario, Pikachu, and Ryu, why can’t we toss him before an audience to sing Green Day’s “Basket Case”? Modify his iconic Buster Sword into a stupidly oversized guitar, and you’re in business. Of course, the main objective is to add familiar Final Fantasy tracks to Rock Band 4. Come on, how weirdly cool would it be to sing to “One Winged Angel”? Or better yet, “Aria di Mezzo Carattere”, the opera from Final Fantasy VI? (Don’t ask me how they’d chart that to instruments.)

Fire Emblem

Since Nintendo and Intelligent Systems wants to add as much Fire Emblem to the world as possible, why not look towards Rock Band 4? Okay, I’m joking with this one since Rock Band 4 hasn’t graced any Nintendo platforms, and you know that Nintendo would never allow the characters onto a competing platform, understandably.


Harmonix previously mixed their blocks with Lego, resulting in Lego Rock Band. I’d like to see that return, whether it’s adding the blocky stages for our human characters to rock in (character proportions might be weird, though) or allowing us to recreate our band as Lego minifigures. And let’s not forget that Lego-ized David Bowie, Queen, and Spinal Tap were included in Lego Rock Band and could make for fun new characters in Rock Band 4.


If we’re talking crazy, somebody get Marvel to share their iconic cast. Who wouldn’t want a rock band composed of Captain America, Thor, and Spider-Man with Iron Man singing to AC/DC? The internet would collectively go crazy, for a few reasons.


Shouldn’t be too hard, right?

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