To “create musical journeys and gameplay for Fortnite”.
Harmonix was founded in 1995 and began carving a rhythm-action niche for itself with the 2001 release of celebrated PS2-exclusive Frequency and its much-loved sequel Amplitude. 2005 saw the studio release Guitar Hero, arguably its most impactful game to date, which would go on to spawn a steady succession of sequels – although the developer would soon leave the series behind to expand on Guitar Hero’s plastic instrument premise with 2007’s Rock Band.
Since then, Harmonix has continued to focus on music games, releasing the likes of Dance Central, 2016’s Amplitude revival, the VR-focussed Audica and, most recently, Fuser – all of which brings us to today and the announcement of the studio’s acquisition by Fortnite and Unreal Engine developer Epic Games.
“Over the last 26 years we have pushed ourselves to redefine how people experience and interact with music,” Harmonix wrote in a post announcing the acquisition. “Now, we’ll be working with Epic to once again challenge expectations as we bring our unique brand of musical gaming experiences to the Metaverse, and we couldn’t be more excited.”
Harmonix’s announcement concludes with a FAQ confirming it will continue releasing DLC for Rock Band, will push ahead with Season 25 of Rock Band Rivals, and will continue its current plans for Fuser events. Additionally, it says it won’t be changing the way it supports its older games, meaning the acquisition won’t result in any game servers being taken offline or existing titles being removed from Steam and consoles.
As for the future away from its current games, Harmonix says it will be be working with Epic to create “musical journeys and gameplay for Fortnite”, which will presumably feed into the kind of grandiose mega-budget marketing opportunities that have seen the likes of Ariana Grande promote themselves in Fortnite using elaborate digital shows.
Whether that’ll be Harmonix’s soul focus beyond support for its existing titles remains to be seen, but the developer says to “stay tuned” for the first fruits of its new partnership with Epic.