Ever since its on October 06th, 2015, Rock Band 4 has kept musical gaming enthusiasts on its toes with shiny, new, and unexpected updates. From encouraging improvisation such as “freestyle solos” on the guitar and “freeform melodies” on vocals, to backwards compatibility with content and hardware from all previous versions of Rock Band within the same console family, and finally the addition of support for synchronous online play this past January, the good folks at Harmonix and Mad Catz know how to keep rock from going stale.
One beloved caveat of Rock Band 4 is the addition of new songs being added to the DLC catalogue on a weekly basis. This ensues that players will never run out of songs to play, nor will the game become dated with no-longer-hip music.
This week, the Kenny Loggins mega-hit “Danger Zone” is making its way into Rock Band’s DLC Music Library, and with that revelation the team at Harmonix got their wheels turning. Danger Zone? Where have we heard that before?
And this is how Sterling Archer became a playable character in Rock Band 4.
For those unfamiliar with his eponymous show, Sterling Archer is a secret agent and private eye from FXX’s hit show Archer. With its eighth season beginning on April 05th, Archer features Sterling, his boss/mother Malory, love interest Lana, and many hilarious fellow co-workers who get themselves locked into numerous hijinks while dealing with global espionage.
There are many standard catchphrases that have spawned from the show, but none are more prominent than Archer’s love of the phrase “Danger Zone”. This led to Harmonix reaching out to the executives at FXX and Floyd County Productions to inquire about a potential Sterling Archer cameo inside of Rock Band 4, and FXX jumped on the opportunity.
Commitment from all three companies was heavily needed for this task, due to the unique art style that has made Archer stand out from its competitors. Archer featured cel-shaded, 2-D animation with prominent outlining. Meanwhile Rock Band has always been known for its realistic 3-D style of graphics, so juxtaposing the two was initial a huge concern.
Harmonix experimented with a few different versions of how Sterling Archer should appear within Rock Band 4, from leaving him to look exactly as he appears in the show to converting him into Rock Band’s signature 3-D style. Unfortunately, both of these versions did not appear true to the game and the show. Ultimately, Harmonix created a custom cel-shader for Rock Band 4, solely to keep Sterling looking as close to his true form as possible without detracting from the game’s feel and style.
Archer’s appearance in Rock Band 4 will be tied to his show’s upcoming eighth season, titled Archer: Dreamland. You can download and install the playable Archer character for free on both Xbox One and PlayStation 4, but Kenny Loggins’s DLC “Danger Zone” track will cost $1.99 for players and enthusiasts.
In addition to jamming with Sterling Archer, today’s update also includes new punk outfits and a playable Normandy bass from Mass Effect, so there is something fun for all! The update is currently available for installation, so take a deep breath and head deep into the “Danger Zone”. Your fellow spies will be following closely behind.