So, what has Harmonix been up to recently? After Rock Band slowly died out, it looked like they were fated to forever produce sequel after sequel to Dance Central. However, they have thrown us all for a loop by announcing Chroma, a brand new FPS that uses music, believe it or not, as its key mechanic.
Chroma will be a free to play shooter, a lot like Team Fortress 2. In fact, it’s going to be very arcade-y and action driven like Team Fortress 2 as well. It’s been described as an “arena” shooter, a shooter more Unreal Tournament than Call of Duty. The weapons in the game will all be triggered by the background music of the stage. Machine-guns will fire to the beat, while grenades will explode to the downbeat. Dual pistols are fired by navigating a note highway with your two button mouse, and homing weapons require you to keep time with the music in order to keep your missiles aimed at your opponents.
Each class will have access to different weapons, which each operate differently depending on what song is playing on the background. If the level features a dubstep track, you probably want to use a railgun that pulses with the bass. If you have a high tempo techno track playing, then utilize a high rate of fire machine-gun that pops off a shot with every drum beat. Have something a little bit more soft and melodic playing? Choose a medic and set up shields that protect your team.
It’s not just the guns that are affected by music. Your movement is affected by the beat of the music as well. You can extend your jumps by timing them to the beat. This allows you to get to much higher ground, allowing you to safely take pot shots at your opponent from above. Your dashes are also extended by timing them to the beat. This allows you to run circles around your opponents, as long as it’s done as a rhythmic dance.
Currently it is unclear whether or not you or Harmonix will be controlling the music playing in the background of the game, but the game’s engine is set to work with a variety of different music types. Harmonix is developing the musical end of things, while Hidden Path Entertainment, the team behind Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, will be working on the shooting mechanics. Harmonix admits that they don’t have the experience to build a shooter engine from the ground up, considering they have been in the music business for so long.
Chroma is going into alpha this month and will likely go into public beta sometime later this year. If you want to be at the top of the list for beta access, or even stand a chance at playing the alpha version of the game, head on over to the official Chroma website and sign up.
Senior Contributing Writer