Harmonix is bringing back Rock Band for a third installment, and they’re promising a whole slew of improvements to what’s already the undisputed leader of the genre.

USA Today (of all places) is the first to spill some info, and the biggest change? The game will now feature a seven player band! That’s guitar, bass, drums, vocals, two harmonies, and- wait for it- keyboards!



“With the introduction of keyboards, we get to bring a ton of amazing new music onto the platform, which will help feed the appetite for music for years to come,” says Alex Rigopulos, CEO of Harmonix. What songs would that be, sir? “It’s hard to pick a favorite, but for The Doors to be making an appearance on Rock Band finally with their classic Break On Through, I love that one. And Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody is endlessly fun.”
 
Oh good god! I just made a joke about Bohemian Rhapsody being unplayable in that new Guitar Hero game, but with three vocals and keyboards? That’s going to be a party favorite here.

The new keyboard controller will feature five different colored keys, but it will contain 25 keys and the two harmonies that you’d expect from a fully functioning midi keyboard- which it is. The notes will correspond with the actual notes, so you’ll actually learn how to play the songs for real on the harder difficulties.
 


 

But that’s not all- Harmonix wants to teach you guitar. Fans of the game can stick with their old controllers and play the game as normal but there will be a new guitar controller from Fender, a full-sized six-string Squier Stratocaster from Fender that can tell where
your fingers are. Yes, you’ll really be playing a guitar! Mad Catz is also releasing a controller that has smaller buttons corresponding to strings on each fret, which allows you to perform power and bar codes, if you so choose.
 
This comes on top of the new music learning mode called Rock Band Pro that will actually give you guitar tabs rather than colored notes, and actually teach you how to play the songs. Sort of quells the whole “Why don’t you just pick up a real guitar?” gripe that musicians like Prince have had, no?
 
For drums, three new cymbals have been added to the drums. “It really immerses you more. You feel more like a drummer,” senior designers Sylvain Dubrofsky says. “It’s not only for expert levels. You can come in on easy and actually play Pro drums. We have all the different levels established. It’s actually really fun. You are playing up on the high hat or down on the snare, and it feels more like a kit than ever before.”

As for the game, the single player will have an expanded story mode that makes you feel like you’re a real band, with hundreds of achievement-style goals to earn along the way.They’ve also changed the multiplayer a bit, adding the drop-in drop-out mode that was popular in the new Guitar Hero titles. Another useful addition for multiplayer is the inclusion of even more song filters, which is awesome since the library is expected to grow to 2,000 songs by the end of the year.

Here are the songs confirmed so far, of the game’s 83 tracks-

Dio – “Rainbow in the Dark”
Huey Lewis and the News  – “The Power of Love”
Ida Maria – “Oh My God”
Jane’s Addiction – “Been Caught Stealing”    
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts – “I Love Rock and Roll”
Juanes – “Me Enamora”
Metric – “Combat Baby”
Night Ranger – “Sister Christian”    
Ozzy Osbourne – “Crazy Train” 
Phoenix – “Lasso”
Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody”    
Rilo Kiley – “Portions for Foxes”
Smash Mouth – “Walkin’ on the Sun”
Spacehog – “In the Meantime”
Stone Temple Pilots – “Plush”
The Cure – “Just Like Heaven”
The Doors  – “Break on Through (To the Other Side)”
The Jimi Hendrix Experience – “Crosstown Traffic”    
The Vines – “Get Free”
The White Stripes – “The Hardest Button to Button”
Them Crooked Vultures – “Dead End Friends”
Whitesnake – “Here I Go Again”
 
Rock Band 3 hits all major consoles this winter. Let’s just see how much all this stuff is going to cost us…