Witnessing a professional musician make attempts at rhythm games can be painful. Does Rush failing its own  Tom Sawyer on Rock Band  with an embarrassing 31% completion rate come to mind? That scenario won’t be repeated with Ubisoft’s latest title Rocksmith — at least that’s the hope, says producer Jason Schroeder.
No brightly coloured buttons here. Players can plug in any real guitar with a standard quarter-inch input jack and jam along to 50-song music library, including tunes from The Rolling Stones, The Black Keys and Nirvana, to name a few. (Full track list available here .)
“Everyone was wondering who was going to be the first to [create a game like this],” says Schroeder, who was on hand at the game’s launch event in Toronto.
The Rocksmith seed was planted around four years ago and several members of the development team at Ubisoft San Francisco didn’t know how to play the guitar, including Schroeder himself. (If you don’t count the few times he’s played in college.)
As for the tracklist, Schroeder says the selection is a combination of appropriate songs for beginner players that also feature guitar-heavy parts, naturally. Members of the music license team are based in Montreal along with some engineers from the city also had a hand in the game’s development.
For many beginners who don’t have guitars lying around at home, Ubisoft is launching a bundle edition ($199.99) that includes that game with an Epiphone Les Paul Junior guitar and the Rocksmith Real Tone Cable, a first-of-its-kind quarter-inch to USB cable developed exclusively for the game to turns the guitar’s signal from analog to digital. A standard edition of the game with the Real Tone Cable is available for $79.99, for those who already have a compatible guitar on hand.
But the game isn’t just for beginners. Rocksmith’s gameplay automatically adjusts to your skill level — maybe Alex Leifson may not be doomed to fail another rhythm game, after all.