When last we heard from Rock Band studio Harmonix several years ago, it was working on a musical shooter called Chroma. That has apparently fallen by the wayside, however, as the studio announced today that its next project will be a VR "rhythm shooter" for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift called Audica—and it will be out on Steam Early Access in March.
Audica will equip players with "rhythm blasters" that they will use to shoot targets to the beat of popular electronic music, with scoring based on timing, accuracy, and form. "On expert difficulty, Audica gameplay is intense and exacting," Harmonix said. "If you want to claim a spot at the top of the leaderboards, you’ll need to practice until you and your blasters become one, performing a tightly choreographed ballet of beat-blasting brilliance."
The Early Access release will have a soundtrack of ten licensed songs with four difficulties each, one environment and one weapon set, and live leaderboards. The full release is planned to have at least 25 songs, a campaign and practice mode, more environments and weapons, an expanded leaderboard, and "possibly new gameplay mechanics."
"Audica started as a passion project for a small team of developers within Harmonix. We chose to launch Audica into Early Access because we believe we have a compelling core game that we can develop into the next must-play rhythm game with your help," Harmonix said. "One of the benefits of a small team is that we’re nimble and can quickly act on community feedback, making Audica an ideal fit for Early Access."
It look and sounds very similar to Beat Saber, and in fact the first message posted in the Steam forum asks whether it will support mods or enable players to use their own music, like Beat Saber does. I've reached out to Harmonix to ask and will update if I receive a reply.
Audica is expected to be ready for full release by the end of the year. Find out more at audicagame.com.