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Harmonix Bringing Amplitude Back, With The Help of Kickstarter


RHGSniperFox

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A rhythm-action music game for PlayStation®4 & PlayStation®3 based on Amplitude™, the 2003 cult classic by Harmonix!

tl;dr - Amplitude is an awesome game. We want to make a successor for modern consoles (PlayStation®3 and PlayStation®4) but we NEED YOUR HELP!

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In the early 2000s, Harmonix created FreQuency and Amplitude  - two rhythm action games that defined the PlayStation®2 era of interactive music. Published by Sony, these games became legendary for their unique soundtracks, their snappy, frenetic action and the zen-like "flow states" that players entered into when they got into the groove. 

84fdc609810a61946e20269a0a6b8647_large.jOriginal game screen and box cover art. The Amplitude logo is a trademark of Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC.

Both fans and reviewers REALLY liked the game. Some select quotes from back in the day:

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In the 11 years since Amplitude’s release, Harmonix has gone on to create true pop culture phenomena with the original Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and Dance Central. Still, there was a quiet clawing in the back of our minds. Pleas from Amplitude fans, strangers on the street, and veterans of the studio - we needed to revisit this era of gaming and update it for the modern age! 

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With the advancements in technology and the huge creative leaps forward our studio has taken, we believe we can rebuild Amplitude for current consoles and make it an even more amazing experience than before. We're aiming to deliver an updated soundtrack, incredible visuals, and fine-tuned controls. These improvements will be layered on top of the core mechanics and hallmark difficulty that made both FreQuency and Amplitude such amazing experiences when they first debuted. We’re confident that we can make a game that will do its predecessors justice!

 

0acb4b49d3d3799664319ab35d579b93_large.jEarly Crippler concept - Purple player launched a debilitating power-up on the green player.

During Rock Band, we perfected our methodology for “beatmatching”, which we intend to apply to this new title. We’ll also be moving the game into the new proprietary engine Harmonix has developed over the past 10 years. In addition to better control over timing windows, this will also allow us to run at 60 frames per second and smoothly port the existing mechanics to PS3 and PS4.

The game, as designed for this Kickstarter, focuses on the core Amplitude experience. Single player and local multiplayer are included in the design, as are leaderboards for online bragging rights. The Beat Blaster (the ship), music notes, tracks and FX will all be modernized and gorgeous. The cyberworld around the tracks will be designed by artists and crafted by coders so that every pixel on screen can be driven by the underlying music. Even as we work through our plans for this Kickstarter, the game is beginning to take shape – an HD reinvisioning of the cult classic, smartly updated for today on every axis. We believe this is the game that fans of Amplitude have been asking for and a game that can only come from Harmonix.

1295c8893caa71bcf94c2b7a8c15be01_large.jEarly Beat Blaster concepts
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Music is at the heart of Amplitude. The all-new soundtrack will focus on songs with an electronic-based feel, with tones spanning dark and moody to bright and bouncing. 

Our award-winning audio team is uniquely capable of composing amazing music with ideal GAMEPLAY in mind. All the amazing patterns and runs that made Amplitude's gameplay so fun need sick music crafted to match perfectly. For this game, we plan to focus our efforts on music that is custom-created for the game. This has the best chance of creating KILLER gameplay feel and a well-balanced list of songs. And you can help us pick which tracks make it into the final shipping tracklist! Take a look at our backer rewards for more details on how you can make your voice heard, contribute tracks to the game, or get your hands on a limited edition vinyl soundtrack!

46c37439beeb754338ad4b193aaf96d7_large.jLimited edition colored vinyl (mockup)
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At its higher difficulty levels, Amplitude was hard as hell. We’re talking “Dark Souls” hard, but with music. We know that fans of the original will be expecting that same level of challenge in this new version, and we won’t disappoint. The game will still feature its hallmark difficulty as you progress.

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In the years since Amplitude, Harmonix developers have become masters at making rhythm games fun for everybody. While we’re focused on designing this project to appeal to a “hardcore” base, we intend for fans of more recent Harmonix products to feel right at home with this new game as well, if they’re willing to put in the practice and hone their skills!

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8a1c9b38bd50f9803c59a0306f6e6820_large.jOriginal Amplitude team members still rocking it at Harmonix

Many of the original developers who made this game a classic are still here at Harmonix, and psyched to update the experience for all players.

These veteran developers will be joined by the best rhythm game devs in the industry, folks who’ve shipped dozens of AAA titles. We’re ready to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience that players can pick up and enjoy. This is a game only Harmonix can make, on time and on budget. But we know that we can't do it without your help.

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1115ce22ead74e8e123741ed5e5ff302_large.jThe levels are dark and quiet on entry, but jump to life as players release the musical notes.

Our aim with this Kickstarter is to be humble in our expectations. The current goal is to make a faithful Amplitude "HD" - the core experience from PS2® re-developed for modern gaming devices. We certainly have LOTS of crazy ideas that could blow this concept out. Your contribution, feedback, and community input will decide where this project will land and how many crazy ideas we can incorporate!

eea239c29d46c7e9407491acb6d91e30_large.jEarly Beat Blaster sketches
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This project is intended to be a love letter to old-school PS2® fans, but we need to know that this is something you actually want. This is the project WE desperately want to make, but we can’t do it without your interest and support. Help us prove that there is a place for challenging, high-polished rhythm-action games in the modern age!

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Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

NEW PLATFORMS!

We haven't shipped a game on PlayStation®4. New platforms always come with some minor learning curves, BUT we have great producers and partners at Sony and we're confident we'll be able to overcome any obstacles

TIMELINE AND TECHNOLOGY ROADMAP:

There are technical limitations to overcome in order to get the game running at 60 fps (a requirement to make all musical timing feel snappy). We have a strong plan about how to adapt our proprietary engine for these purposes, especially on PS4, but it is a risk.

MUSIC LICENSING AND SOUNDTRACK COMPOSITION

We want to have the right balance between great electronic songs you know and the type of amazing original compositional work we did in the original PS2® games. This creative work can take time, become more costly than expected, and generally turn into a headache. That said, we have a LOT of experience in this area and we're confident we can make it work. Our current plan to fill this game with original compositions, custom for Amplitude. If we end up with a significant amount of over-funding, we can pursue licensed tracks from popular artists!

 

Link to the Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/harmonix/amplitude

 

So, yeah. After years of waiting, Harmonix are finally trying to bring back Amplitude to PS3/4. I, for one, am extremely happy to see this happening - even pledged to the campaign myself, the first time I've ever done so.

 

FreQuency and Amplitude were quite possibly my 2 favorite PS2 games. Yes - even more so than MGS2/3 :P

 

If ever a game deserved to be backed - it's this one.

 

Also, if they manage to hit their funding before the end - Vita support would be one of the stretch goals.

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Why does the 15$ version seem better than the 20$ version O_o

They're both the same, but the $15 one was limited - the first 1,000 backers only.

 

No real difference, just a limit. Basically a "Hey, thanks for being so awesome and jumping on so soon, here's $5 off the game."

Edited by Kool-Aid
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I absolutely loved Amplitude, but there's no way in hell I'm going to support this. There's absolutely no reason why a company with so many successful(and profitable) games would need crowdfunding to make a game in the genre they essentially created. I mean, it'd be like if Infinity Ward made a Kickstarter to make a WWII shooter. There's just no reason they wouldn't be able to get funding for this kind of game. If Harmonix said they needed funding for a platformer, a racing game, or anything other than a music game, I'd be more likely to buy that they needed funding, because it's not the genre that they built their name on and it would be harder to get a publisher to invest in it. However, they've made enough money to be able to fund whatever they feel like. Also, the game engine looks like it's completely done already, which means they've gotten funding already to start developing the game. This game could have, and more than likely would have, been made without any help from crowdfunding. They're simply milking the fanbase so that they can make a game with little developmental cost so they can maximize their profits. Harmonix has never exactly been a noble company, so it's not like it's very far fetched. I mean, they released overpriced DLC weekly for 5 years straight. So much so, that there's more DLC songs than on disc songs. It's not like did this kind of thing with just Rock Band too, they continued on and did the same with another incredibly successful franchise, Dance Central. These people are not hurting for money by any stretch of the imagination and they're just abusing their fanbase by doing this.

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I absolutely loved Amplitude, but there's no way in hell I'm going to support this. There's absolutely no reason why a company with so many successful(and profitable) games would need crowdfunding to make a game in the genre they essentially created. I mean, it'd be like if Infinity Ward made a Kickstarter to make a WWII shooter. There's just no reason they wouldn't be able to get funding for this kind of game. If Harmonix said they needed funding for a platformer, a racing game, or anything other than a music game, I'd be more likely to buy that they needed funding, because it's not the genre that they built their name on and it would be harder to get a publisher to invest in it. However, they've made enough money to be able to fund whatever they feel like. Also, the game engine looks like it's completely done already, which means they've gotten funding already to start developing the game. This game could have, and more than likely would have, been made without any help from crowdfunding. They're simply milking the fanbase so that they can make a game with little developmental cost so they can maximize their profits. Harmonix has never exactly been a noble company, so it's not like it's very far fetched. I mean, they released overpriced DLC weekly for 5 years straight. So much so, that there's more DLC songs than on disc songs. It's not like did this kind of thing with just Rock Band too, they continued on and did the same with another incredibly successful franchise, Dance Central. These people are not hurting for money by any stretch of the imagination and they're just abusing their fanbase by doing this.

 

No, they aren't.

Harmonix is a small team, and independant. They currently have other projects they're working on, like Chroma and Fantasia, that split their resources. They want to make this game, but can't without pulling resources from another project.

 

Harmonix doesn't have as much money as you think, and you also need to consider how much it costs to license things like music to use in something like a game. Not to mention the fact that Amplitude wasn't exactly "successful" - it'd be a risk in Sony's eyes. Sony supports them doing this, but they aren't putting anything behind it.

 

Check here, around the 54/55 minute mark: http://www.twitch.tv/harmonixmusic/b/526182100 You might change your tune.

 

Also $2/song is overpriced? For all the hours they have to put in making sure the songs play properly, the money they have to pay to actually GET the song in the game - paying for licensing of the original master copy of a song most of the time - $2 is too much to pay for that?

 

You pay $1 just to download a song on iTunes and the like.

 

AND - releasing DLC for their games, for 5 years, that worked almost entirely across ALL of their titles is somehow shady?

 

Yeah, a publisher could fund it - but then you have to realize that the publisher screws with things. They force decisions that don't help the game because all the pub cares about is getting their investment back. I highly doubt Harmonix wants to deal with that either. They are also actually going to be putting some of their money into the game - the $775K, as mentioned on the stream, isn't the entire budget - it's just enough to get it started ( The entire point of Kickstarter ).

 

"The game engine looks like it's done already" - that's concept art, man, not an actual screenshot :facepalm:

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No, they aren't.

Harmonix is a small team, and independant. They currently have other projects they're working on, like Chroma and Fantasia, that split their resources. They want to make this game, but can't without pulling resources from another project.

 

Harmonix doesn't have as much money as you think, and you also need to consider how much it costs to license things like music to use in something like a game. Not to mention the fact that Amplitude wasn't exactly "successful" - it'd be a risk in Sony's eyes. Sony supports them doing this, but they aren't putting anything behind it.

 

Check here, around the 54/55 minute mark: http://www.twitch.tv/harmonixmusic/b/526182100 You might change your tune.

 

Also $2/song is overpriced? For all the hours they have to put in making sure the songs play properly, the money they have to pay to actually GET the song in the game - paying for licensing of the original master copy of a song most of the time - $2 is too much to pay for that?

 

You pay $1 just to download a song on iTunes and the like.

 

AND - releasing DLC for their games, for 5 years, that worked almost entirely across ALL of their titles is somehow shady?

 

Yeah, a publisher could fund it - but then you have to realize that the publisher screws with things. They force decisions that don't help the game because all the pub cares about is getting their investment back. I highly doubt Harmonix wants to deal with that either. They are also actually going to be putting some of their money into the game - the $775K, as mentioned on the stream, isn't the entire budget - it's just enough to get it started ( The entire point of Kickstarter ).

 

"The game engine looks like it's done already" - that's concept art, man, not an actual screenshot :facepalm:

 

Last summer they got paid $300 million from a lawsuit with their old parent company from way back from the original Rock Band, which made over $1 billion dollars in just 15 months btw, so you can imagine how much more it's made since then and how much has gone to Harmonix. That $300 million alone is more than enough money for them to make the game without the need for any investors, but I'll keep going. They've been an independent developer since the end of 2010, and in that time they've put out Dance Central, which sold approximately 3 million copies, Dance Central 2 which sold approximately 2 million, and Dance Central 3 which sold approximately 500k copies. Plus they had the revenue from the DLC from Rock Band as well as Dance Central. Since that time they haven't had to pay any fees or have to split profits with a parent company, only with the publisher. They have more than enough money. It also doesn't matter how popular Amplitude was. That was before they created a worldwide phenomenon and essentially an entire genre of game. Any game they put out now is going to get sales, just because of the name Harmonix.

 

I'm not going to watch a video, because I just don't care enough. After this post, I likely won't even respond, because dealing with fanboys is like trying walk through a brick wall. I also don't trust anything they say. I've seen how much money they've made from their games, and any good businessman is going to be great at lying to get what they want anyway.

 

Also, it's not difficult or all that time consuming to make a track for a game like Rock Band. Random people do it all the time in rhythm games like StepMania and can make synced tracks within a day, and they're not the ones doing it professionally. Charging $2 is ridiculous when you consider the time and effort put in, as well as how long the song actually is. Especially when compared to DLC from other games. You're paying $2 for a 2-3 minute DLC, if you're lucky, it's 4-5 minutes. So, you're paying about $1 a minute. If other publishers went to that standard, then those hour long DLC packs would be $60, and we all know that would be ridiculous. Also taking into account the install base of each of the games, they could have easily made songs $0.50 or a $1 and still sold more than enough to turn an immense profit, but they didn't. They made them overly expensive so that they could get as much money as possible. So yeah, I think their DLC was a ripoff because they were doing little work for an immense payoff without real regard to their install base. Also, the fact that the songs worked with each iteration of the game just shows how little effort they had to put into the sequels. It was also a business strategy because by making them play on later games they could get more people to continually buy them without having to do any more work.

 

As for the publisher statement, yes, sometimes publishers want things changed, but what would they change in a game like Amplitude? What would even get changed and why? That argument is perfectly valid for some games, but not a rhythm game. The only thing that could get changed is some of the songs to popular ones, but Harmonix had pop songs in the original, so it's not like that would really change anything.

 

They're playing the game in the video on the kickstarter page. That's definitely not concept art and it's obviously not the original game.

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Last summer they got paid $300 million from a lawsuit with their old parent company from way back from the original Rock Band, which made over $1 billion dollars in just 15 months btw, so you can imagine how much more it's made since then and how much has gone to Harmonix. That $300 million alone is more than enough money for them to make the game without the need for any investors, but I'll keep going. They've been an independent developer since the end of 2010, and in that time they've put out Dance Central, which sold approximately 3 million copies, Dance Central 2 which sold approximately 2 million, and Dance Central 3 which sold approximately 500k copies. Plus they had the revenue from the DLC from Rock Band as well as Dance Central. Since that time they haven't had to pay any fees or have to split profits with a parent company, only with the publisher. They have more than enough money. It also doesn't matter how popular Amplitude was. That was before they created a worldwide phenomenon and essentially an entire genre of game. Any game they put out now is going to get sales, just because of the name Harmonix.

Dude. They got paid back in 2008. They since released Rock Band 3, and a few other games.

All of them costing millions in licensing fees and development costs. You clearly know nothing about game design or licensing if you think $300 million dollars is a lot of money when it comes to making ANY kind of game, let alone one that requires the purchase of hundreds of song rights.

 

I'm not going to watch a video, because I just don't care enough. After this post, I likely won't even respond, because dealing with fanboys is like trying walk through a brick wall. I also don't trust anything they say. I've seen how much money they've made from their games, and any good businessman is going to be great at lying to get what they want anyway.

So you're just going to sit there and act like you know what you're talking about, without actually listening to their reason? Good to know you'd rather be an ignorant fool than actually try to listen to reason.

 

Also, it's not difficult or all that time consuming to make a track for a game like Rock Band. Random people do it all the time in rhythm games like StepMania and can make synced tracks within a day, and they're not the ones doing it professionally. Charging $2 is ridiculous when you consider the time and effort put in, as well as how long the song actually is. Especially when compared to DLC from other games.

Did that mess of words really just come from you? REALLY?

Have you ever made a song for a rhythm game? Do you know how long HARMONIX themselves put into making sure the song is actually PROPERLY synced? Every track separated, masters baked to actually get them playable again, timing the actual notes to the music? People making "synced" songs in a game like StepMania don't go through all of that. They take an MP3 and time notes/arrows to it.

They aren't going through and timing ghost notes to a drum track, or close to every individual pick of a guitar string on the rhythm guitar track. Take a look at actual Rock Band Network authors - you'll see their songs take days, even weeks to complete.

 

You're paying $2 for a 2-3 minute DLC, if you're lucky, it's 4-5 minutes. So, you're paying about $1 a minute. If other publishers went to that standard, then those hour long DLC packs would be $60, and we all know that would be ridiculous.

That is single handedly the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

A song can't be compared to things like a map pack or expansion. It's a SONG. You're paying for the content, and for them to try and recoup whatever they had to pay for the rights TO said song. $2 is NOTHING in comparison to the thousands they pay to actually get the song in the game.

It's a whole dollar more than what you pay to hear the song on iTunes, like I pointed out - and you can do a whole hell of a lot more with it than just listening to it, and a hell of a lot more went into it than just getting the license to use it.

But please, keep talking like it's so easy.

 

Also taking into account the install base of each of the games, they could have easily made songs $0.50 or a $1 and still sold more than enough to turn an immense profit, but they didn't. They made them overly expensive so that they could get as much money as possible. So yeah, I think their DLC was a ripoff because they were doing little work for an immense payoff without real regard to their install base. Also, the fact that the songs worked with each iteration of the game just shows how little effort they had to put into the sequels. It was also a business strategy because by making them play on later games they could get more people to continually buy them without having to do any more work.

You seriously don't know anything about the process that goes into making DLC for Rock Band. http://www.rockband.com/blog/from-licensing-to-release-the-life-of-a-dlc-pack

Why don't you actually read up on the process, and quit spouting ignorant BS.

 

A month after locking the tracks in Anonymous Pack 01, the masters arrived in-house at Harmonix HQ. Our Audio Director parceled them out to the individual teams for charting and animation. Here’s a breakdown of the rough production timeline for each song:

Mixing – 2 days

Vocal authoring, lip sync, lights and cams – 3 days

Instrument authoring and peer review (including Pro upgrade) – 5 days

AQuA (Audio QA) – 5 days

Each instrument was handled by a different authoring team, authoring charts at the Expert level first and then working through the lower difficulties. The guitar team chose which track to chart the Pro upgrade for based on a combination of popularity, playability, and difficulty. Animation calls and Overdrive mapping were added and tracks were passed on to AQuA for testing.

Most, if not all, of the AQuA team are musicians in their own right and they work closely with the rest of the Audio team to refine both the playability and authenticity of our DLC. They made multiple passes on each instrument on each difficulty level on each track in Anonymous Pack 01, checking everything from multiplayer modes, Overdrive activation, drum fills, unison phrases, lip sync, instrument animations, and song lyrics. They also reviewed metadata (artist info, album and track info and song preview) for accuracy before assigning difficulty tiering based on group play-throughs.

Yeah - such a small amount of work has to go into it. That's why it "only" takes 6 months to get the songs out. They aren't going and getting the masters, authoring, and publishing the songs within the week they're announced. Your StepMania comparison is silly because most of the time, they aren't even getting the songs legally. If they were - it wouldn't take "a day".

 

As for the publisher statement, yes, sometimes publishers want things changed, but what would they change in a game like Amplitude? What would even get changed and why? That argument is perfectly valid for some games, but not a rhythm game. The only thing that could get changed is some of the songs to popular ones, but Harmonix had pop songs in the original, so it's not like that would really change anything.

The song list. The time frame to make the game. The actual amount of resources they get for the game - plenty of things that could affect the quality of it. Or do you not know how much a publisher actually controls either? Hell, the overall MARKETING of the game would be in the publisher's hands.

Most of the songs in the original were remixes of pop songs ( Not to mention Rock, as well as actual electronic music. You need to remember this was over 10 years ago..electronic music hadn't really taken off just yet. ) - most of them made in house by the team. The songs were chosen because they would be fun - not popular.

 

They're playing the game in the video on the kickstarter page. That's definitely not concept art and it's obviously not the original game.

No they aren't - the only thing even remotely close to anything regarding the new game is a 3D model they were making in a 3D modelling program. The ONLY game being played was the original Amplitude. Either you don't remember what the original game looked like - or you honestly think this is the new one. The only "footage" of the new game is a couple of stills that zoom in a little. The same stills posted on the actual Kickstarter page.

The only other "gameplay" shown is that of Chroma

 

 

After this post, I likely won't even respond, because dealing with fanboys is like trying walk through a brick wall.

I'd honestly be glad if you didn't - because while you try to call me a fanboy, you're the one being ignorant and talking out of your ass, while ignoring anything being presented to you to show what the case is.

Edited by Kool-Aid
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Rawrgna, if you think Fox is a fanboy you're obviously not familiar with him. Notice how he actually has facts to back up his statements? Fanboys don't bother with facts. Seriously, he is one of the most intelligent members of this site and even if you disagree with his opinion you look like a fool if you claim he is a fanboy. 

 

 

Parker 

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