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Rock Band 4 to be co-published by controller maker Mad Catz

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Mad Catz, already working with Harmonix to create controllers for the return of Rock Band, will co-publish Rock Band 4, the peripheral maker announced today.

The deal means Mad Catz is in charge of retail sales, promotion and distribution, worldwide, for Rock Band 4. Harmonix still is in control of digital sales of the game and any additional downloadable content, such as songs.

The two were already working together when Rock Band 4 was announced in early March; this new deal extends their relationship beyond just the controller-making.

Harmonix said back in March that it was working "aggressively" with Sony and Microsoft to make existing Rock Band instruments backward compatible with the new game. A Mad Catz rep added that they would "do everything in our power to try and ensure compatibility wherever possible."

In the blog post announcing the partnership, Alex Verrey Mad Catz's public relations director, said the company was "working so hard to improve all the controllers in so many ways, we think you'll notice the difference immediately and love what we deliver."

"We've been thrilled by the positive response to our announcement earlier this past March," Daniel Sussman, product manager for Harmonix said in a statement. "It's proof of what we've known all along: music games are alive and well and there's a huge appetite for a game that can deliver a great experience on guitar, bass, drums and vocals, either solo or as a band."

Rock Band and Guitar Hero, which defined the rhythm game phenomenon for much of the latter half of the past decade, went quiet after 2011 before resurfacing to announce new games over the past month.

Activision's Guitar Hero franchise will return as Guitar Hero Live, the publisher announced last week, but legacy controllers from that series will not be compatible with its newest game, coming to PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Wii U, Xbox 360 and Xbox One this fall.

Rock Band 4 will come to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One later this year; songs downloaded on PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 will be compatible on their successor consoles.

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