Rocksmith Answers Questions on Facebook!

As you may have noticed there has been a little bit of attention on The Hero Feed given to Ubisoft’s upcoming “real guitar romp” Rocksmith.

The game is being met with much skepticism in the rhythm community mostly due to previous financial failings of games like Rock Revolution and Powergig. Ubisoft however, seems to really be showing us that this game isn’t to be “slept on” and disregarded as a bargain bin title.

Last week Ubisoft revealed the cord for Rocksmith which is 11.25′ long and comes bundled with the game for $79.99. We’ve also been told that this is no ordinary USB -> 1/4 inch cord as it contains “special technology that allows it to be compatible with next gen consoles.” Which in this case refers to Xbox360, Playstation3, and PC.

Today a note was posted on Rocksmith’s Facebook Page which allowed people who “Liked” it to ask questions to the developers. Here are some of the things we have learned as a result:

Let’s get right down to it. Will there be a “free play mode” where I could play my guitar through my Xbox like an amp? Kind of like Amplitude for PC?

Rocksmith features an Amp Mode where you can play whatever you like, customize your tone (save the setups for quick recall during songs play) switch the guitar you’re using in game and tune your guitar.

Many newcomers to guitar do not even know how to tune one properly, will this be built into the game?

The game will step you through the tuning process and then periodically check to make sure your guitar is in tune (as sometimes they slip out as you play).

Can I play it with an acoustic guitar?

You can use an acoustic guitar that has a pickup with the game – our goal was to ensure that the game works with any 6-string electric guitar, so it has to have a pickup…

Will I be able to use my own effects/distortion pedals, or will there be virtual pedals in the game? If so, how can you activate pedals that are built into the game?

We don’t recommend plugging in your own effects as well because the game has them built in.  You can map up to 3 custom tones onto the buttons on your controller (X, Y, B on X360) + the default tone of the song – you switch by tapping the button at any time during gameplay.

Will some songs have a different tunings?

The songlist will contain E-Standard and Drop-D songs.  We spent a long time looking at the complexities of making a game that asks beginners to tune and figured that for on disk, these would work the best… the Rocksmith Shop will likely contain DLC songs in other tunings in the future.

Will there be a Career Mode?

There is a career mode that will adapt to what you are playing and what songs you own.  This is completely customizable and if you decide you just want to play songs, you can… it’s really important to us to let you play how you want to play – sounds cheesy, but our team is made up of all sorts of level of players – some just want to learn chords, some just want  to play single notes, some want to play exactly what Kurt Cobain played, some just want to learn the solo… Rocksmith will make recommendations based on your skill, but you can always practice or perform any song you want.

What songs are on the setlist? What if I don’t like the setlist?

Well, you could buy more from the store and if you don’t like them… well, I don’t have great solution for that… on a brighter note, if the game suggests an event for you with a song in it you don’t like and you kill that song, Rocksmith remembers and won’t suggest that song for a long time. Hopefully that feature won’t be needed tho… I guess you’ll get a better idea come June 1st.

Will there be a possibility to manually turn on Hard/Expert modes instead of the auto-adjust difficulty?

Rocksmith remembers everything you do, starting songs at progressively harder difficulty levels in line with your skill.  Everyone starts at 1, but then their performance determines how quickly they move to the highest levels.  So, no, you can’t just set it to hard/expert modes – you will reach them as you play.

Given that Harmonix tried to use sound interpretative technology and ran into problems, how did you overcome the hurdles of notes not registering correctly for your game?

The technology behind Rocksmith has been in development for over 5 years with a singular goal of creating algorithms that precisely detects notes played on a guitar.  A guitar does not produce a pure tone, there are lots of garbage noises in the waveform and that was a big hurdle to overcome, but once we figured out a way to do that the rest was relatively straight forward.  Lots of data collection on the different issues, calibration, types of pickups, extremes of tuning, new guitars, old guitars, different picks, everything we could think of that would make it sound different.  Now we have something where you really can plug in any electric guitar and have it recognized accurately.

Will different guitars sound different in the game? Will it effect the game if a guitar is not tuned?

Yes, the game shows you how to tune and makes sure you’re always in tune.  Plugging in different guitars or even switching the pickup used on the guitar does change the tone, just like when you’re plugged into a traditional amp.

Lot’s of interesting info there! Talk of DLC, Different tones for your guitar, and hints at what the setlist may be comprised of!

Of course they aren’t done answering questions yet, so expect this post to be updated in the near future.

Thanks to the Rocksmith team for answering everyone’s questions:

Paul Cross– Creative Director (@CrossieRS)

Nao Higo– Producer

Shane Bierwith– Brand Manager

Ryan Yount– Community Development

Ed Casey– Community Development