Bemani titles weren't the original music games, but they revolutionized their genre in Japanese arcades. The most famous sub-series, Dance Dance Revolution, spread like wildfire throughout the world and has a respectable following to this day. Its brethren were Beatmania, Drum Mania, Guitar Freaks -- by now, you get the picture. So do plenty of the Rock Band and Guitar Hero fans who have read about Konami's newest multi-platform game, Rock Revolution.
The interface is classic Bemani, and they're aiming for the most realistic instruments yet constructed for such a title, though no prototype photos yet exist. They're including a song editor, too, which Konami – unlike Neversoft – has done before. There's one obvious problem with the whole package, though, and that's the timing. It's true that Bemani was the brand everyone went to for music games, but that went out of style when the first Guitar Hero released. Konami never fought to keep their musical throne and hasn't made a worthwhile effort at reclaiming it since.
[Providing cover songs will] allow Konami the financial freedom to release more songs than their competition, if Rock Revolution succeeds.
If you're living in a tiny place or with a tight budget, fear these three words: additional proprietary peripherals. If you have Rock Band and consider a Guitar Hero IV purchase, you'll already have two sets of instruments cluttering your home. Forking out for a third batch of space wasters doesn't sound appealing. Maybe Konami's title will be backward compatible with those instruments which came before it, but it's doubtful.
Interestingly, they're taking the same path the original Guitar Hero did in providing cover songs. Among the announced tracks are "Sk8er Boi" by Avril Lavigne, "Dr. Feelgood" by Motley Crue, "Cum On Feel the Noize" by Quiet Riot, and more. Personally, I applaud this route, considering the cumbersome cost and effort involved in licensing real artists' music. I'd rather have a lot of great, well-known songs from a cover singer than tons of "authentic," two-bit B-sides from artists I don't even care about. It'll allow Konami the financial freedom to release more songs than their competition, if Rock Revolution succeeds.
That success can't be predicted, but in this crowded landscape, it doesn't seem probable. As a longtime Bemani fan (and a former Dance Dance Revolution competition entrant), I must admit that my skepticism is based more on familiarity with the genre than anything else; I'd love to see Konami return to power and to do it with style. What can I say? I'm a sucker for Japanese songs in my music games. Now, if they don't put any in...