PDP calls its new guitar the Riffmaster. The button arrangement will be very familiar to anyone who owned a Rock Band guitar back in the day. Five buttons at the top of the neck for standard play, and another five further down the neck for moments where you need to showboat and do a bit of widdly-widdly guitar wankery. It’s even assembled the same way –the neck slots into the guitar base to connect the circuit. D-pad, strum bar, system buttons, whammy bar and guitar strap anchors are all where you expect them to be.
One change, the Riffmaster does make is attacking a control stick to the back of the headstock. Though the stick seems to sit out of the way, I’d like to know how close it sits to the palm. The pickguard on the front of the guitar is also removable and replaceable, suggesting PDP could sell custom plates if the guitar does well when they make their way to market.
The shape, however, is obviously different. Where the original Rock Band guitars were based on Fender Stratocasters, no such licensing arrangement exists for PDP. Thus, the guitar is a basic black thing with an axe shape (geddit? Because it’s a guitar? Hoo boy).
The guitars will work wirelessly with Rock Band 4 right out of the box. Fortnite Festival, the rhythm game mode based on Rock Band created by Harmonix for Epic Games, still doesn’t formally support guitar controllers (though I have seem people using them). Once that controller support is implemented, the Riffmaster will be ready to go. It’ll come in PlayStation and Xbox variants, both of which will be compatible with PC.
PDP hasn’t announced pricing just yet. At the time of writing, we have no idea about Australian availability. Based on previous PDP devices, it’s safe to assume that it might be difficult to get hold of one when the time comes, prohibitively expensive, or both.
It certainly begs the question: does PDP intend to recreate other Rock Band instruments like the four-pad drum kit in the future? We’ll keep you posted.
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