‘Fortnite’ Creator Epic Games Is Buying Local ‘Rock Band’ Creator Harmonix

Together, the game studios hope to take musical gaming into the metaverse.

Written by Ellen Glover
Published on Nov. 24, 2021
‘Fortnite’ Creator Epic Games Is Buying Local ‘Rock Band’ Creator Harmonix
Epic Games is buying Boston-based 'Rock Band' Creator Harmonix
Image: Harmonix

Epic Games, the North Carolina-based game developer behind Fortnite, has announced that it is buying Harmonix, another game studio here in Boston best known for its creation of Guitar Hero and Rock Band. While Epic Games has made many acquisitions over the years, this is the first time it has purchased another AAA studio.

The financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed, but Epic Games said in a recent blog post that the two companies will “collaborate closely” to develop “musical journeys and gameplay” for Fortnite, while continuing to support existing titles like Rock Band 4. The post added that this merger will give them a chance to take musical gaming into the metaverse, too. 

“Music is already bringing millions of people together in Fortnite, from our emotes to global concerts and events,” Alain Tascan, Epic’s VP of game development, said in a statement. “Together with the Harmonix team we will transform how players experience music, going from passive listeners to active participants.”

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Of course, this is Harmonix’s bread and butter. Guitar Hero and Rock Band have become beloved classics in the gaming world, allowing even the most tone-deaf people to rock out to their favorite songs on plastic guitars and drums. And the company is continuing to push the boundaries.

Just last year, Harmonix made headlines when it unveiled its latest creation, Fuser, another music-based game that allows players to remix and transform the vocals, bass and instrumentation of popular songs with a virtual four-deck DJ controller. The company also created a game called Audica, a VR-based “rhythm shooter” that combines music gameplay with precision shooting mechanics.

“Harmonix has always aspired to create the world’s most beloved interactive music experiences, and by joining Epic we will be able to do this at scale,” Harmonix co-founder and chairman Alex Rigopulos said in a statement. “Together we will push the creative boundaries of what’s possible and invent new ways for our players to make, perform and share music.”

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