Harmonix continues to stick to their plan of providing continuous updates for Rock Band 4, and a slew of new announcements were just revealed at an official panel for the game at PAX East, confirming plans for numerous new and returning features throughout the year.
One random but fun announcement is the addition of Thorn and Miko, two characters from the new Gearbox title Battleborn, as playable band members. Rock Band 4 has certainly dipped its toes into other franchises before, with clothing inspired by Fallout and Psychonauts included in previous updates, but this marks the first time actual characters from another game will make full-fledged appearances in the series.
The other announcements generally revolved around features from earlier games being reintroduced. Though Rock Band 4 received a generally positive critical reception, the biggest issue reviewers and general audiences had tended to be how many existing modes and features had been removed, and Harmonix seems to finally be taking this to heart, as the option to create custom song playlists was recently reinstated.
Support for double drum pedals will also hit alongside the Battleborn characters in a May update, Practice Mode for individual songs will return in June, support for the special Ion drum peripheral will be added for Xbox One users in the fall, and perhaps the most requested omission, the ability to play online, will return towards the end of the year.
There will be a pause in distributing updates from July to sometime in the fall, but when the releases resume, Harmonix will consider that point to be the start of a “Chapter 2” for Rock Band 4, as the game will then receive some sort of expansion pack with still-unannounced major new features and more returning ones, like more song sorting and rating options.