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Harmonix rolls out the goods, announces new Rock Bands

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If you own a previous Rock Band set, you’re in luck. Game creators Harmonix plans to roll out some genuine treats this year, starting as early as June. As we previously reported, CoS Band of the Decade/Lolla ’10 headliner Green Day will follow The Beatles in what will surely be a collection of Rock Band incarnations. However, instead of waiting ’til the autumn season, the game arrives just in time for those lazy summer days.

As Billboard reports, Green Day: Rock Band hits stores June 8th, and will feature “47 Green Day tracks spanning the group’s entire career, along with 100 unlockable images and 40 minutes of rare and unreleased video from interviews, outtakes and performances.” But unlike The Fab Four, the Oakland trio won’t be receiving its own branded instruments, as Harmonix wants to focus on the game software, instead. There will be two versions. The standard version — priced at $60 for the Xbox 360 and PS3, $50 for the Wii — and a premium version at $70 that sports different packaging and an online voucher to snag the six Green Day tracks already released in the Rock Band store.

But that’s not all. For those of you not interested in a Green Day incarnation (basically everyone commenting on our Lollapalooza section of the Festival Outlook), there’s something else up the creators’ sleeve. Again, Billboard is on the beat, reporting that the long awaited sequel Rock Band 3 will be one of the hot Christmas items this year. It gets better, though. The game will revolutionize the way we pretend to be rock stars by using the Microsoft-developed Natal motion capture camera/controller. What the hell does that do?

It allows gamers to use gestures to control games—essentially turning their bodies into a controller. The Natal camera is expected to hit retail shelves this holiday season as well, and sources tell Billboard that a number of game developers are already preparing games to take advantage of the new functionality by that time, including MTV. It seems more likely that MTV and others would create a separate game dedicated to the Natal device, however.

If you use your imagination, this could really open up the possibilities. Could you imagine having to binge drink on whiskey as you sing [The Doors’] “Roadhouse Blues” or holding your stomach in pain as you belt out [Nirvana’s] “Rape Me”? Sigh, at this technological rate, we’ll be able to develop addictions like most of our past legends, too. Dibs on the painkiller addiction!

All joking aside, these two releases should make many gamers happy. But don’t you worry, we’ll keep you in the “know”, in terms of tracklisting and especially the latter game’s release date.

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