Fortnite Festival's New Season Makes The Game Even More Like Rock Band

Image: Epic Games
Image: Epic Games

On April 23, Fortnite Festival Season 3 launched, adding new music, skins, features, and tweaks to the popular rhythm game mode that lives inside Epic’s popular online battle royale. The big news is that players can now use plastic guitars while playing Fortnite Festival, making the mode just a bit more like Rock Band.

Released earlier today, Fortnite Festival Season 3 is themed around “Bad Guy” singer Billie Eilish, adding the popular artist to the game as a playable character that can be unlocked via the new Festival battle pass. As with Season 2—which added Lady Gaga to the game—this new season features songs from Eilish that can be played in Festival alone or with other players. And now, if you have a compatible plastic guitar sitting around in your basement, you can hook it up to your Xbox, PlayStation, or PC and play bass and lead using the controller.

In a blog post announcing the new season, Rock Band and Fortnite Festival developer Harmonix (now owned by Epic) explained that all songs—and all future songs added to the game—will support Pro Lead and Pro Bass options, letting you play the game using a guitar controller. These new song parts will feature hammer-on and pull-off notes, letting you play notes without strumming. Pro Lead and Pro Bass tracks also feature different colored notes on the in-game track lane, similar to how it worked in Rock Band and Guitar Hero.

In-game leaderboards will separate Pro Lead and Pro Bass scores, so you can see just how well you are doing compared to other guitar controller players. Sadly, the whammy bar doesn’t really do anything, at least not yet. Epic says hitting the bar—which in past games distorted the audio—only changes the visuals.

In January, Harmonix announced that after years of supporting Rock Band 4 with new DLC and updates, it was ending support for the game and would focus on expanding Fortnite Festival. At the time, it promised support for guitar controllers was coming, and now it’s here.

Players are now hoping that Harmonix and Epic add support for Rock Band drums and mics to Festival in a future season or update. In the blog post, the devs tease that they will have “more instrument controller news to announce in the future.” Is that a hint that drum support is coming? Should I dust off my Rock Band 3 keytar controller? We shall have to wait and see. For now, I’m grabbing my plastic Fender and playing some Fortnite Festival.


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