Drum it up with A-Band (Interview with Flammable Games)
A-Band is a music game based on the Xbox drum kit peripheral. The Arcade mode features 12 of the most promising indie rock bands from around the world from places such as the U.S., Spain, Germany, Japan, Australia or Brazil in 3 different difficulty levels. Jam Session mode allows the player to use the drum kit as a real electronic kit, 100% configurable. Whereas in the Record Studio the player can save and playback his/her own creations. The most innovative mode is the School of Rock, which presents a way of learning real drumming by memorizing and rehearsing common beats (rock, punk or metal beats, drum fills and more…) all organized by difficulty level. A balanced learning curve makes A-Band enjoyable for both pros and beginners. All this wrapped in a film-noir comic style makes A-Band a competitive game bringing new and fresh ideas to the music genre.
The Bands in A-Band
- The Rebels (Spain)
- Bedford (Austalia)
- Noiseaux (Germany)
- Ten Year Vamp (United States)
- Just Dave (United Kingdom)
- Red Velvet Line (Italy)
- The Jaywalker (South Korea)
- Imari Tones (Japan)
- Hello Donna (Germany)
- Sananda (Brazil)
- Faye (South Africa)
- Los Rockers (Chile)
As a music lover and a rhythm game lover, I got excited when I first heard of A-Band. A-Band may look like your typical rhythm game, but let’s let Flammable Games answer those questions on how their game differs from your typical Rock Band or Guitar Hero Games. So let’s drop the guitar and grab our sticks and drum up this interview shall we?
VVGtv: Thanks Flammable Games for taking this opportunity to answer some of our questions about your now available title “A-Band” on the Xbox Live Indie Games.
FG: We are delighted to collaborate with the XBLIG community. We have met very nice people during the development process, especially in the last months when we unveiled the project. Playtest and Peer Review has been fun, and I enjoy reviewing other games and discussing them with the developers as well, it’s a nice way to share knowledge.
VVGtv: Give us a brief history of your team.
FG: We are a very small team: 1 programmer and 1 graphic designer, who shared as well roles in production, game design, PR and any other aspects of the game development. Fortunately we have counted with the help of musicians, like Andy and Pablo that recorded the loops which are available in the Jam Session. In addition, the bands have been very collaborative in both cross-promotion and production aspects. As a curiosity, I have learned a lot about music and specially about drumming with this project which I didn’t expect.
VVGtv: There is already Rock Band and Guitar Hero out there now. What makes your game different and what can players expect from A-Band?
FG: Since the very beginning we knew about our difficulties: music genre is believed to be dead, over saturated market… But we were committed to create something fresh and appealing to the (still) huge amount of game music fans. The game has a very cool composition: merging comic and sci-fi and vintage styles. It presents an overwhelming number of small details across menus, gameplay and sounds that creates a unique atmosphere. But most importantly and what differs us from the competition is the spirit of the game: a bet for indie bands instead of mainstream ones, the School of Rock mode where the player can learn real drumming, the possibility to record ones jamming… The game is challenging and fun at the same time for both pros and beginners.
VVGtv: I hear A-Band has a wide array of Indie Rock Bands, tell us how you picked each one and why?
FG: Choosing the bands was definitely one of the key points of the project. We wanted A-Band to feature indie rock bands from around the world, that was our main goal. Five continents mean very different styles which give A-Band an exotic touch. We used mainly social networks like MySpace, ReverbNation or Gogoyoko to contact them. It’s a shame that we could only choose 12 bands among all the candidates, but we are a small team so we had tight limitations.
VVGtv: What instruments and controls will be playable within A-Band?
FG: A-Band focuses exclusively on the drums. We think that the Xbox drum kit feels way more real than the guitar controller. The Pro level in the Arcade mode is around 95% accurate to the real song. This means that if you learn to play it correctly you learn to play the real rock song. In addition, in the School of Rock the player can learn real beats, which is a good starting point for beginners or a different way for experienced drummers to rehearse. We wanted A-Band to be as accurate as possible to the real world.
VVGtv: Tell us, what is your favorite retro game character and why?
FG: It´s always hard to choose just one. When I was a kid I was a Sega Master System fan. I have grown up with Sonic and Alex Kidd, for me they were the best at the time. After them, Duke Nukem 3D came and changed the video game history. However my personal Oscar goes to the most unforgettable pirate: Guybrush Threepwood.
VVGtv: I would like to thank you again Flammable Games for answering our burning questions, even if it itches a little down there.
FG: Thanks for your support to small indie studios and especially to the XNA community, it is very important for all of us. I would like to take this opportunity to encourage all the music lovers to plug their drum kits and play, jam, record, learn and rock with A-Band! If you like what you get, record yourself and send us a link and we will gladly post it on our website.