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Konami's Matejka: Rock Revolution Innovation Is All About The Drums

Speaking to Gamasutra at a recent Konami event, Rock Revolution's Keith Matejka has been discussing the company's key entry into the Western music game canon, suggesting that its "focus of innovation" is going to be in the drum peripheral and gamep

June 13, 2008

3 Min Read

Author: by Christian Nutt, Chris Remo

Konami and Zoe Mode's upcoming peripheral-based rhythm game Rock Revolution has tough competition, going up against both the Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchises, the latter of which's iteration will feature the whole band experience as well. Speaking to Gamasutra at a recent Konami event, Rock Revolution associate producer Keith Matejka indicated that the main way Konami plans to compete is to put the brunt of its focus on the drum experience, which it believes can outstrip its competitors. Despite its many years of music game history, and even owning key patents used by Activision for the Guitar Hero franchise, thanks to inspiration from Japanese games such as Guitar Freaks, Konami is still the newcomer in this Western-focused rock music segment. Unlike its competitors, whose early offerings featured mainly cover tracks but who now almost exclusively rely on master recordings, Rock Revolution - which will ship for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS and Wii - is cover version-only. He claimed the game is not a reaction to the recent surge - rather, the game and its drum-centric approach have been in the works for some time: "To us, Rock Revolution is an obvious next step for the Revolution brand [as also shown in Dance Dance Revolution and Karaoke Revolution]. I think we are bringing the ultimate drum experience to the table. We're simulating playing rock drums to the highest level. That's kind of what our focus is. We've been working on Rock Revolution for a long time, well before anyone else was out. At the end of the day, we're focused on our game and going forward with that, and we're just not so concerned, I guess [with the crowded market]. We're always aware of what's happening, but we were like, 'Let's make a killer drum game.' And we were like, 'Hell yeah!' And that's the focus of the title, and I think it's been successful." Asked about the influence of the company's past experience DrumMania, Matejka gave a nod to that title, but indicated that even though DrumMania came to consoles, its arcade roots led Konami to start over from the ground up: "The console version of the DrumMania controller works, but there are a lot of areas that could be improved upon. We kind of threw that away and started from scratch, because really, with DrumMania, the arcade peripheral is what feels awesome, and the DrumMania interface is great. "We looked at that, and looked at what they did for the console version, and we kind of started a new list. Like, 'This is all the stuff we like. This is the stuff we don't like. Throw this stuff away, and really blow this stuff out.' We kind of started from scratch, to be honest, on how to set up a peripheral for the game. We took some influences for all that stuff, but we kind of forged our own path when it comes to the drum kit." Noting the game has the fullest drum set among the three titles (six pads plus foot pedal), Matejka put the drums at the top of the game's feature list - going so far as to downplay the extent to which the guitar and bass components will challenge the market: "That's the focus of the game, and we've guitar and bass as well, but I think that's where the focus of the innovation is going to be, is in the drum peripheral."

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