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Epic Games buys Rock Band developer Harmonix, who will now work on Fortnite

Rock Band and Fuser aren’t going away, Harmonix says

Rock Band Rivals screenshot 1920 Image: Harmonix
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Fortnite and Unreal Engine developer Epic Games has acquired Harmonix, the studio behind the Rock Band and Dance Central series and last year’s Fuser, the companies announced in a joint statement on Tuesday. Harmonix says it will work with Epic “to create musical journeys and gameplay for Fortnite,” but says it won’t be abandoning its other music game projects.

Harmonix said in an FAQ that it will continue with its existing downloadable content plans for Rock Band 4 with “lots of great tracks coming as we wrap up 2021 and push into next year,” and will continue Rivals multiplayer seasons for its marquee music game. Fuser events will also continue for the foreseeable future, Harmonix said, and the move to Epic is not expected to impact the availability of its games on Steam and console.

The Rock Band studio says it will “be working with Epic to once again challenge expectations as we bring our unique brand of musical gaming experiences to the Metaverse.” Harmonix would seem to be a good fit for Epic’s metaverse ambitions, as Fortnite has previously played host to musical events and virtual concerts featuring Ariana Grande, Travis Scott, and Marshmello.

Epic took a more global approach to its in-Fortnite musical experiences earlier this fall, with the launch of its Soundwave Series. That series of musical events featured artists from around the world, with each show taking place in its own interactive in-game experience, and highlighted Egyptian musician Mohamed Hamaki, Australian singer-songwriter Tones And I, Brazilian rapper Emicida, Japanese pop artist Gen Hoshino, and French-Malian singer Aya Nakamura.

It’s been a busy year of acquisitions for Epic Games, which has bought out middleware developer RAD Game Tools, Fall Guys studio Mediatonic, digital art marketplaces ArtStation and Sketchfab, and a mall in 2021.

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