A few months back a Plastic Instrument Battle Royale was brewing, with Rock Band 2, Guitar Hero World Tour and Rock Revolution all due out around the same time (in America, at least). Back then it looked like all-out war, with frostiness between Harmonix and Activision over instrument compatibility forcing a choice between one game or the other (after entirely discounting Rock Revolution) for all but the most die-hard of plastic instrument fans. For the Wii, the Rock Band prospects were particularly bleak; no instrument compatibility, no downloadable content, and no sign of even the first game in Europe let alone a release date for the sequel. I know the true battleground is the XBox 360, and with plummeting prices I could pick one up for even less than a Wii now (the 60Gb model, let alone the hard-drive-less Arcade), but, plastic instrument based games apart, there’s nothing I’d rather play on a 360 than a PC, so I’ll stick with the Wii.
By the time Wii Rock Band was actually released over here (September), Guitar Hero World Tour had a release date (November) and for a UK Wii owner, Guitar Hero World Tour vs Rock Band is a no-brainer, really, with World Tour on the Wii having comparable features to the 360 and PS3 versions including downloadable content (with the option to use SD cards). Order placed!
Good news, though, everyone! Harmonix and Activision have since been playing nicely, and the Instrument Compatibility Matrix now shows a refreshing amount of green, most importantly for me in the last week including Guitar Hero III guitars being compatible with Rock Band 2 on the Wii (no word on the World Tour peripherals, but as the guitar uses the Wiimote as well it would seem likely, and if not never mind, least I can use the GHIII guitar). Wii Rock Band 2 will also support downloadable content, again via SD cards if needed, so once that actually makes it over here I’ll grab that as well, as it has a rather excellent song list. Maybe it’s not quite the Final Rock Battle after all, but a new era in cross-compatible fake plastic rock for all.