A new trademark filing is the first sign of the next project to come from Harmonix.
As discovered by Siliconera, the U.S. trademark filing is for something called Vidrhythm. No further information is provided, but Harmonix did confirm the news with Joystiq, saying, “Nothing to add at this time, other than to confirm that it is a project we’re working on.”
Harmonix’s focus in recent years has been on Rock Band and Dance Central. It was the original developer of the Guitar Hero franchise, and before that it created cult classics like Frequency and Amplitude.
Judging by the sound of the new title’s name, it sounds like Harmonix will again be doing something in the music/rhythm genre, though the particulars are anyone’s guess.
Harmonix was sold by Viacom earlier this year. It revealed Dance Central 2 at E3 last month and is also working on a game for 3DS which, for all we know, might very well be Vidrhythm. While its motion control work has only been with Kinect this generation, it expressed earlier this year that it isn’t opposed to working with PlayStation Move or Wii, so either of those platforms (or perhaps Wii U) are all possibilities for the new project, too.
It’s unclear exactly where the Wii U should be placed in terms of it being “next generation.” Is it just catching up and/or somewhat exceeding the power of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3? Or is it the beginning of the next generation of systems because, by the time it hits the market, it will have been five to six years since the last batch of consoles hit? No matter what the case is, Sony says it doesn’t affect plans it has for its next gen system, the PlayStation 4.
Asked by Forbes about when Sony will start talking about the PS4, Sony’s Jack Tretton said, “PlayStation 3 is really just hitting its stride. And technologically, I don’t think it’s possible to provide any advancement beyond what we have. What we’ve seen from the competition is trying to add features that already exist in PlayStation 3. We invested heavily in that, we rolled a very heavy rock up a steep hill, through the launch period. But now I think that all pays off, and we’ve got a long run way behind it. So, I wouldn’t look for any discussion of a next generation PlayStation for quite some time.”
The suggestion that the PS3 is at the apex of technology is a questionable one, especially given how we saw last week that the console versions of Battlefield 3 won’t match the PC version from a technological standpoint. And, as Wired’s Chris Kohler points out, Tretton has been saying that PS3 is ‘hitting its stride’ for at least three years now.
Back to reflecting upon the Wii U’s announcement, Tretton said, “I think there’s ground to be carved out for everybody. But I didn’t see anything about Nintendo’s announcement that said ‘Oh, we’d better get working on rolling out a new PlayStation here pretty soon.’
“Our attitude is kind of ‘welcome to the party.’ If you’re looking at being a multimedia entertainment device, if you’re looking at high def gaming, that was 2006 for us.”
Sony consoles are known for having long tails. (Impressively, Tretton said six million PS2s will be sold this year, more than a decade after it first came out.) Looking at Japanese dates, there were six years between the release of the PS1, PS2, and PS3; PS4 most certainly isn’t expected next year, which would be six years after the PS3 launched.
The Wii U looks as if it’ll be the only new system launching next year (an exact date hasn’t been set, we just know it won’t come before April), as both Microsoft and Sony seem to be holding out for as long as they can before moving on to new hardware. There have been some rumors that a 360 successor could be announced in the next year, although a separate report said new Microsoft and Sony consoles aren’t expected until 2014, or 2013 at the earliest.