Epic has aquired the developer behind Rock Band and Dance Central, Harmonix, with the studio set to bring “musical journeys and gameplay” to the companies juggernaut franchise Fortnite. Epic announced this news via a post on their official blog, stating that they planned to work closely with the studio on reimagining “how music is experienced, created, and distributed.”
A big part of this acquisition seems to be aimed at the studio bringing their way with music to the Fortnite series, that doesn’t mean that the studio will stop development on Rock Band 4 DLC or from putting on new Fuser events.
Fortnite has already made music a big part of its platform as it evolves beyond just simply a Battle Royale game. Several artists, such as Marshmello, Travis Scott, and Ariana Grande have all put on performances in the game. During the Covid-19 pandemic, these events even offered a vital way for players to socialize with friends while the world was locked down. Discussing this in their blog post, Epic stated:
Music is already bringing millions of people together in Fortnite, from our emotes to global concerts and events. Together with the Harmonix team we will transform how players experience music, going from passive listeners to active participants.
Harmonix was founded in Bosten, Massecussets in 1995 as an independent studio that deals with music-centric games. Later it would be bought by Viacom, the parent company of MTV. Harmonix became a household name with their game Guitar Hero, which used a plastic guitar peripheral set to a rhythm color-coded rhythm game. They would later expand on this idea in their franchise Rock Band, allowing one player to assume the role of a guitarist, bass guitarist, drummer, or lead singer all with matching peripherals that could hook up to your system.