The sequel to Ubisoft's guitar music video game, Rocksmith, has received so many changes from the original that Rocksmith 2014 is a "completely different game" from its predecessor, according to creative director Paul Cross.
Speaking to Polygon, Cross said the original Rocksmith "was quite good, but it wasn't perfect." Having now had time to listen to the game's players, take on feedback and analyze player data, Cross said the studio overhauled the game so that the sequel, Rocksmith 2014, would feature what players really want.
"...People get bored as hell on easy, but they can't play medium."
Among the changes is a revamped user interface. The menus are now straightforward, lessons are clearly labeled and nothing is hidden from the user. Cross said that in the first Rocksmith, many players thought that content was locked or inaccessible because it was hidden under a convoluted menu system. This has all been changed — players can now easily scroll through the all the music tracks as well as access all 85 lessons, which range from how to hold a pick to performing double hand taps.
Within the lessons, the game now features high-quality videos of a teacher performing the action, filmed in close-up, so players can see what they're meant to do. The teacher AI is also more responsive.
"In Rocksmith, it was good at telling you when you were doing stuff wrong, but it didn't tell you what you were doing wrong," Cross said. "So now it looks at what you're doing wrong. So if you play the right note but you didn't do a bend, it will tell you that. It will tell you if you're not sliding far enough, or if you need to play faster. It's really, really helpful, and it's a huge improvement on the first game."
Every lesson is also put into context. So if a player has learned how to perform bends, the game will play a snippet of music that features the skill they just learned so they can understand where and why such a technique would be used.
The game has also embraced the 3D plane and introduced dynamic difficulty to every song, which allows players to alter the difficulty of tracks using sliders. The track and its difficulty are then visualized for the player to see.
"The reason we added dynamic difficulty is because people get bored as hell on easy, but they can't play medium," Cross said. "They need all the bits in between, and for them to go choose a difficulty from a list, it's never going to work.
"So we let them see the changes they're making to a song's difficulty and see what they're being asked to do. It's huge for us."