Harmonix announces Chroma, a game that mixes music and shooters

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Source: Chroma trailer

Want an example of brilliant marketing? Harmonix — the people best known for Rock Band and Dance Central — have a new game, Chroma, to show us and they timed their press embargo to expire on President's Day here in the US when real news was pretty thin.

That meant they got coverage on a bunch of tech blogs like Engadget, The Verge, VentureBeat and Ars Technica as well as on the gaming blogs. Well played, Harmonix! [Pun intended.]

Harmonix showed off an early alpha of the game at D.I.C.E. Summit . I wasn't there so I'll refer you to one or more of the above links if you want an in-depth piece on gameplay. Briefly though, it's a first person shooter where your actions have more impact if you initiate them in time to music that's playing. So if you fire your gun on a beat, you'll do more damage. If you jump on a beat, you'll jump higher. And so forth.

It's an interesting idea, and more so to me because some friends and I were talking about the pacing of FPS after some time spent in the TitanFall beta. TitanFall is unapologetically hyperkinetic, particularly when you're out of your Titan. If you stop moving you're mostly likely going to die at an enemy's hands. It's fun, but my buddies and I wondered if we'd ever see a shooter where the pacing could be mixed up somehow. We were thinking more in terms of realism (staying in cover, flanking the bad guys and things like that) but it sounds like Chroma could impact the pacing of a game in a different way. It seems to me that changing the tempo of the music will change the pacing of the game. Of course I won't know if that's the case for sure until I get my grubby paws on it. I already signed up for a chance to get into alpha testing but even if I make it I'll be under NDA so won't be able to talk about it.

Anyway, here's a trailer for the game that'll at least give you an idea of the style they're going for:

Now speaking of TitanFall, as I mentioned last Friday a beta ran over the weekend (and runs until sometime tomorrow) and Respawn eventually opened the gates to all Xbox One owners and everyone who signed up for beta on the PC.

I didn't spend a huge amount of time in it, but I found it to be pretty fun, although my general ineptitude when it comes to competitive shooters eventually kicked in and I had to admit I'm too old and slow for the genre. I did capture part of one match though, and here it is:

I think my favorite moment is at about the 2:35 mark when an enemy Titan detonates and I just make it around the corner and avoid getting caught in the fireball. I had a pretty strong team in this match as they were able to pull off a victory in spite of having me as one of their members!

Also mentioned on Friday was the Left Behind DLC for The Last of Us. I played through that over the weekend as well, and sadly I didn't think it was as good as the main game. The idea was to introduce us to Ellie's friend Riley but she never really clicked with me. I think part of it was that her voice talent (Yaani King) sounded too mature for a 12 year old (I'm guessing) girl. As for the actual gameplay it was, for the most part, really easy once you got your "Last of Us" chops back. The experience was also pretty short (3-4 hours maybe?) for a $15 DLC pack.

It's not that it was bad, just that it wasn't as good as the main story. I'd wait for it to go on sale if you're interested in playing it.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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