Studio: Harmonix, Backbone Entertainment
Publisher: MTV Games, Electronic Arts
A single-player handheld title, Rock Band Unplugged was developed off-site by a third-party studio. This called for a very different approach to design and evaluation.
Creative vision on this project was driven by Harmonix's Boston studio, but primary development was handled by Backbone Entertainment in California. This required tight communication between teams to keep design goals synchronized.
I worked with production teams on both sides to determine a schedule of iteration and ensure that features and mechanics could be evaluated and revised as they came in. From there, cooperation with QA allowed us to knock down critical bugs and identify our best build candidate as each playtest approached.
In addition, many of the elements that had defined Rock Band— friends, loud music, physical activity— were absent from the PSP game. Numerous mechanics were prototyped to capture the spirit of the console experience on a new platform. The final gameplay involved a player 'spinning plates'— alternating between each instrument and trying to keep up.
My contributions included...
Typical design questions