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Eran Egozy, Alex Rigopulos, Greg LoPiccolo, Helen McWillams

Published on .

Harmonix' Rigopulos
Harmonix' Rigopulos
From its very inception, the team at Cambridge, MA-based Harmonix has sought to bring its own love of music to gamers.While Harmonix' Guitar Hero was an excellent foray into the potential mass market appeal of a game that blended real rock music with replica plastic guitar controllers, Rock Band is the realization of the ever-expanding team's dream of seamlessly melding music and games.With backing from MTV, Harmonix unleashed Rock Band in November. The game is built around the cooperative four-player experience and the real relationships that evolve as a group of friends (or in the case of online gameplay, strangers) meet up with virtual avatars and tour the game's global venues. Beyond the never-ending assortment of licensed rock songs (thanks to online song downloads), Rock Band allows four players to experience the thrill of working their way from dank, beer-stained clubs to huge outdoor stadiums. It's the experience, as much as the music, that drives this game. And the illusion that players really are part of a band, even if they're strumming plastic guitars or pounding on drum-shaped controllers. The confluence of music, interactivity and camaraderie was molded from many real-world rock experiences of many of Harmonix' employees. There are dozens upon dozens of former and current real band members,musicians and assorted artists who have lived a life of music before entering game development.

LoPiccolo, on the Band experience: "Really it was all about creating an ideal rock'n'roll world that we were excited to be a part of. Instruments, clothing, stage moves, lighting design, all kinds of style issues were directly impacted by our own live-performance experiences. Most importantly, we had this overarching goal of trying to reproduce the buzz of playing together with other musicians in front of a live audience. That is the buzz that keeps bands together in the face of a lot of hassles and hardships, and it has been incredibly exciting for the team to watch our fans grab onto that as they experience the game. If we didn't know what it really feels like to play live, we couldn't have built the game."

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