About this project
In the early 2000s, Harmonix created FreQuency and Amplitude - two rhythm action games that defined the PlayStation®2 era of interactive music. Published by Sony, these games became legendary for their unique soundtracks, their snappy, frenetic action and the zen-like "flow states" that players entered into when they got into the groove.
Both fans and reviewers REALLY liked the game. Some select quotes from back in the day:
In the 11 years since Amplitude’s release, Harmonix has gone on to create true pop culture phenomena with the original Guitar Hero, Rock Band, and Dance Central. Still, there was a quiet clawing in the back of our minds. Pleas from Amplitude fans, strangers on the street, and veterans of the studio - we needed to revisit this era of gaming and update it for the modern age!
With the advancements in technology and the huge creative leaps forward our studio has taken, we believe we can rebuild Amplitude for current consoles and make it an even more amazing experience than before. We're aiming to deliver an updated soundtrack, incredible visuals, and fine-tuned controls. These improvements will be layered on top of the core mechanics and hallmark difficulty that made both FreQuency and Amplitude such amazing experiences when they first debuted. We’re confident that we can make a game that will do its predecessors justice!
During Rock Band, we perfected our methodology for “beatmatching”, which we intend to apply to this new title. We’ll also be moving the game into the new proprietary engine Harmonix has developed over the past 10 years. In addition to better control over timing windows, this will also allow us to run at 60 frames per second and smoothly port the existing mechanics to PS3 and PS4.
The game, as designed for this Kickstarter, focuses on the core Amplitude experience. Single player and local multiplayer are included in the design, as are leaderboards for online bragging rights. The Beat Blaster (the ship), music notes, tracks and FX will all be modernized and gorgeous. The cyberworld around the tracks will be designed by artists and crafted by coders so that every pixel on screen can be driven by the underlying music. Even as we work through our plans for this Kickstarter, the game is beginning to take shape – an HD reinvisioning of the cult classic, smartly updated for today on every axis. We believe this is the game that fans of Amplitude have been asking for and a game that can only come from Harmonix.
Music is at the heart of Amplitude. The all-new soundtrack will focus on songs with an electronic-based feel, with tones spanning dark and moody to bright and bouncing.
Our award-winning audio team is uniquely capable of composing amazing music with ideal GAMEPLAY in mind. All the amazing patterns and runs that made Amplitude's gameplay so fun need sick music crafted to match perfectly. For this game, we plan to focus our efforts on music that is custom-created for the game. This has the best chance of creating KILLER gameplay feel and a well-balanced list of songs. And you can help us pick which tracks make it into the final shipping tracklist! Take a look at our backer rewards for more details on how you can make your voice heard, contribute tracks to the game, or get your hands on a limited edition vinyl soundtrack!
At its higher difficulty levels, Amplitude was hard as hell. We’re talking “Dark Souls” hard, but with music. We know that fans of the original will be expecting that same level of challenge in this new version, and we won’t disappoint. The game will still feature its hallmark difficulty as you progress.
In the years since Amplitude, Harmonix developers have become masters at making rhythm games fun for everybody. While we’re focused on designing this project to appeal to a “hardcore” base, we intend for fans of more recent Harmonix products to feel right at home with this new game as well, if they’re willing to put in the practice and hone their skills!
Many of the original developers who made this game a classic are still here at Harmonix, and psyched to update the experience for all players.
These veteran developers will be joined by the best rhythm game devs in the industry, folks who’ve shipped dozens of AAA titles. We’re ready to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience that players can pick up and enjoy. This is a game only Harmonix can make, on time and on budget. But we know that we can't do it without your help.
Our aim with this Kickstarter is to be humble in our expectations. The current goal is to make a faithful Amplitude "HD" - the core experience from PS2® re-developed for modern gaming devices. We certainly have LOTS of crazy ideas that could blow this concept out. Your contribution, feedback, and community input will decide where this project will land and how many crazy ideas we can incorporate!
This project is intended to be a love letter to old-school PS2® fans, but we need to know that this is something you actually want. This is the project WE desperately want to make, but we can’t do it without your interest and support. Help us prove that there is a place for challenging, high-polished rhythm-action games in the modern age!
Risks and challenges
We haven't shipped a game on PlayStation®4. New platforms always come with some minor learning curves, BUT we have great producers and partners at Sony and we're confident we'll be able to overcome any obstacles
TIMELINE AND TECHNOLOGY ROADMAP:
There are technical limitations to overcome in order to get the game running at 60 fps (a requirement to make all musical timing feel snappy). We have a strong plan about how to adapt our proprietary engine for these purposes, especially on PS4, but it is a risk.
MUSIC LICENSING AND SOUNDTRACK COMPOSITION
We want to have the right balance between great electronic songs you know and the type of amazing original compositional work we did in the original PS2® games. This creative work can take time, become more costly than expected, and generally turn into a headache. That said, we have a LOT of experience in this area and we're confident we can make it work. Our current plan to fill this game with original compositions, custom for Amplitude. If we end up with a significant amount of over-funding, we can pursue licensed tracks from popular artists!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
Harmonix is an independently owned studio. We’re excited about the idea of making Amplitude but, to guarantee development resources, we need to ensure the audience exists and is as excited as we are.
Making games, especially ones that are “self-published” is always an expensive and risky proposition. If we’re funded, we’ll have the resources needed up front to develop a new Amplitude and bring it to modern consoles with a great team of experienced developers. If we’re not fully funded, this game simply won’t be made.
Simply stated, Amplitude is a passion project at Harmonix. Without your support, development resources will have to be dedicated to other fully-funded third party projects. Kickstarter and crowdfunding allow us to make this game a reality.
You've only announced releases for PlayStation®3 and PlayStation®4? Why not PC or other platforms (Xbox/Nintendo)?
Amplitude and FreQuency were originally funded and published by Sony for the PlayStation 2. Since Sony owns these properties, sequels are exclusive to the PlayStation platforms (PS3, PS4 and potentially PS Vita), as is the case for all other Sony-owned properties that we know of.
While we haven’t announced our stretch goals yet (as our current goal is simply to hit our funding ask) we can confirm that Vita is a stretch goal for this project, and we’d be excited to develop for it!
While our core plan for Kickstarter is built around an original Harmonix created soundtrack tailored toward the ideal gameplay experience, we will pursue licensed music for this release if we can secure enough funding.
It should be noted that licensed music is far more expensive and difficult to secure and to work into a natural gameplay flow than it may appear on the surface. That said, we do have a lot of experience in this area (shout out to Rock Band, Dance Central and Fantasia!) but our core emphasis is on creating an addictive musical gameplay in this title.
We can't speak for Sony, but our guess is that it's difficult for them to make a business case for funding the release of another Amplitude. The original games, while critically acclaimed and beloved by fans, weren't commercially successful.
That's ALSO a great question. If we had a third party partner who was willing to fund the game, we'd jump at that chance! But because this is a Sony-owned property, it is inherently a PlayStation platform exclusive, which makes it much harder to fund through traditional third parties - especially since the first titles weren't commercially successful enough to make this a slam dunk, from a sales standpoint.
In short, there isn't a clear path to getting a publisher to help us pay for the game. If we could have gotten this project funded elsewhere, we wouldn't have come to Kickstarter. We only decided to appeal to the fans when the choice became "ask fans for support or don't make another Amplitude."
While Harmonix is fortunate enough to have had some successes in the past, we’ve also had plenty of failures and false starts. The simple truth is we can’t afford to fund the entirety of this game’s budget by ourselves.
All of our noteworthy games from the past have had a publishing partner to help us fund. We’ll be funding most of the budget for Amplitude ourselves, but without additional funding, the game is just too expensive for us to take on alone. We won’t be able to make it without your help.
Games are expensive to make. We’re hoping to post a backer update soon going into detail about how this budget breaks down, but we can say now that 100% of the Kickstarter funding will go to the development cost of the game.
The project costs to make another Amplitude are well beyond $775,000 – Harmonix is going to shoulder the risk of whatever we can’t raise through a successfully funded Kickstarter, and that risk is substantial. That’s how much we believe in this game coming to be.
In reality, this is the minimum amount of funding that we need to make this possible – if we can’t raise this money, we can’t afford to make Amplitude.
Unfortunately, we don't see how that will be possible. There are no viable funding options available that would allow us to make Amplitude if we can't crowdfund this portion of the budget.
Our campaign end date was chosen based on a need to assign developers to projects shortly after the end of this Kickstarter.
Our Kickstarter will allow us to secure Amplitude development resources here at Harmonix that otherwise will be assigned elsewhere. That’s an important date we’re working with! We hope that backers get behind the project in the window we have!
Yes! Cross-Buy codes will be territory specific, however Sony has confirmed that we can provide territory specific codes without any issue. You will be asked about your region in a backer survey upon completed funding of the project.
Please note that while we’re excited for fans around the world to be able to back Amplitude, all travel and meal reward tiers are Continental US only due to the included nature of airfare and physical rewards will require an additional shipping charge.
If you have further questions, you can review reward tiers column for details, or ask us directly in the backer comments!
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