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The game developer behind Rock Band, one of the games of the last generation that filled our homes with plastic instruments, is working on a brand new project with a totally new sense of scope. Instead of playing songs to a beat with fake instruments, Harmonix has designed a new music game in the context of a first-person shooter.

Chroma, as they’re calling it, is a collaboration project on the part of Harmonix, who created Rock Band, and Hidden Path Entertainment, who co-developed Counter-Strike: Global Offensive with Valve, as well as smaller projects like the Defense Grid series.

Chroma will hit the PC (via Steam) as a free-to-play game sometime this year or next most likely, but will roll out in alpha form as early as this month for interested players. But what makes the game so interesting is its sheer focus on music, while staying true to the core mechanics of what make shooters so engaging.

“It’s not a game about human suffering,” a Harmonix rep told Kotaku when explaining the game.

“It’s a game about music.”

Chroma is a shooter. It has guns, it has levels, and it has players shooting each other with those guns in those levels. But what differentiates it from the pack is its musical core, and what’s more, its visual style. Almost Tron-esque, Chroma looks hyper-futuristic, with bleeding reds and sharp blues piercing each level’s pulsing landscape. And pulsing is the keyword here, as each level “can and will” change shape as the match continues and the background music plays.

Some more exhilarating parts of a song might cause a mountain to erupt from the playing field, or new cover to form from the ground for players. And shortly before an environmental change occurs, an outline of the shift will alert players, giving them enough time to plan and react.


The music affects the levels in other ways, such as changing the style of music heard from points on the map a team controls. This alerts you audibly, at least in concept, of how a map is being controlled. Players will partake in a class system, which can have you using machine guns, snipers, rocket launchers and dual pistols, all which function differently to the beat of the music, as does player movement.

You can learn more about Chroma and sign up for the alpha here.

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