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Rock Band 4's future updates set to deliver features fans have been requesting

Samit Sarkar (he/him) is Polygon’s deputy managing editor. He has more than 15 years of experience covering video games, movies, television, and technology.

Rock Band 4's content updates are coming on a monthly basis, and last week's patch delivered some major features. Developer Harmonix still has big plans for future updates, whether for bringing back elements of previous games or bringing in features new to the franchise, the studio announced today.

Harmonix's December patch for Rock Band 4 added the ability to import songs from Rock Band 3, plus a bunch of items geared toward the competitive set, like Brutal Mode and variable breakneck speed. Next month's update will be a relatively modest one with a "focus on stability and performance," said Daniel Sussman, product manager on Rock Band 4, in a blog post today. But Harmonix is also making song imports from other games a priority, and is currently aiming to deliver songs from the original Rock Band in January, followed later by Rock Band 2 and Lego Rock Band.

Sussman explained that today's post is part of an effort at Harmonix to "increase the transparency between our development process and our community and include you directly in the dialog about what happens next." To that end, Sussman said that both practice mode and setlists — two highly requested features that were available in previous Rock Band titles — are coming "as soon as possible" in 2016.

Online multiplayer support is a more complicated issue, according to Sussman, who said that "adding this functionality is very much on the table but we're not yet sure where it fits in our roadmap." Because of all the possible combinations of instruments and difficulty settings, the feature would require "a ton of testing [...] and technical back end work." Sussman added that in bringing back online multiplayer — and indeed, any feature from an older Rock Band game — Harmonix wants to try to "improve and refine" the previous implementation if possible. The studio will soon send out a survey asking players about online multiplayer.

As for other fan-requested features, Sussman said Harmonix is "actively working on" items like support for the Ion drum kit on Xbox One; the console doesn't currently support any wired Xbox 360 controllers. But keyboard support is "never coming back to Rock Band," said Harmonix in a Reddit AMA today.

"For context, Rock Band 3 was the result of five years of development for that console generation, always iterating on previous titles," said Sussman. "Rock Band 4 will eventually have the same benefit of multiple iterations and updates."

For more on Rock Band 4read our review.

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