Epic Games to pull the plug on Rock Band's online servers, but the show's not over yet

Rock Band 4
(Image credit: Harmonix)

All good things must come to an end. The same can be said for Epic Games as it gears up to close down online servers for some of its legacy titles – including many Rock Band games – and completely remove some others

Fans of several key titles in the Rock Band series will see their online services disabled next month. For most of the games listed in Epic Games’ official announcement, you’ll still be able to play them in offline mode after the servers go offline. 

That means if you prefer gathering your bandmates in the living room for some local multiplayer musical shenanigans, you’re safe. The same can’t be said for Rock Band Blitz players, however, as the game will be pulled from the Epic Games store entirely.

You have until January 24, 2023, to say a fond farewell to your online servers for the majority of Rock Band titles, including the original Rock Band trilogy, Green Day: Rock Band, and Beatles: Rock Band. The only exception is reserved for its fourth installment. When that day comes, perhaps after all this time you’ve spent owning those poor internet strangers in rock n ’roll gaming combat, you’ll consider actually learning to play guitar for real. (Yeah, right.)

Although five of its titles are set to go fully offline, Rock Band isn’t the only gaming series that’s being clamped down upon by the Epic Games team. The complete list of games that will see the removal of online servers is as follows:

  • Rock Band
  • Rock Band 2
  • Rock Band 3
  • The Beatles: Rock Band
  • Green Day: Rock Band
  • 1000 Tiny Claws
  • Dance Central 1-3 (VR online multiplayer will remain available)
  • Monsters (Probably) Stole My Princess
  • Supersonic Acrobatic Rocket-Powered Battle-Cars
  • Unreal Gold
  • Unreal II: The Awakening
  • Unreal Tournament 2003
  • Unreal Tournament 2004

Finally, Epic has also confirmed some titles that will be going into the ground for good. “Unreal Tournament (Alpha), Rock Band Blitz, Rock Band Companion app and SingSpace will be shut down and no longer accessible to players on January 24,” finishes Epic’s announcement.

Triple player co-op in Rock Band 4

(Image credit: Harmonix Music Systems)

Welcome to a new kind of tension

Anyone who knew anyone with a games console in the mid to late 2000s will have known the sheer, unbridled joy (or shame) of picking up a guitar-shaped console remote to channel your inner Slash and jam with your friends to the genre’s greatest hits. By tapping the colorful on-screen notes and strumming your guitar at the same time anyone could become Randy Rhoads in the blink of an eye. From Judas Priest to Paramore, Rock Band really came through with the goods when it burst onto the scene in 2007 to bust up Guitar Hero’s party of one.

Created by the developers of the first two Guitar Hero games over at Harmonix Music Systems, Rock Band was released just one month after Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock. So began the push and pull between the two game franchises, with Activision’s Guitar Hero fighting to retain its player base.

A singer crooning on stage in Rock Band 4

(Image credit: Harmonix Music Systems)

Until the launch of Guitar Hero: World Tour, rival supergroup simulator Rock Band was the only way to kit your band out with instruments other than bass, rhythm, or lead guitars. Neversoft (among others) seemed to scramble to create World Tour, which came out the following year in 2008, and also offered other playable instruments, such as microphones and drums for the full band experience.

The two franchises later branched out to the Nintendo DS family in 2009. Guitar Hero: On Tour released in June, upping the ante with an innovative guitar grip that could be inserted into the Gameboy Advance cartridge slot (RIP my teenage wrist), and Rock Band 3’s November release of that same year saw the game debut on Xbox 360, PS3, and the DS combined.

Guitar Hero and Rock Band have been rivals to the bittersweet end. I won’t miss the days of blaming my terrible scores on my controller having sticky keys, or fighting with my sister for lead guitar over rhythm. That being said, as Rock Band follows Guitar Hero’s example by getting rid of its online servers for all games bar one, I wish to send a very special middle finger to the one song that still puts a chill up every 90s baby’s scoliotic spine. The one song that ruined many a MySpace Top 5 and caused far too many cases of early-onset ragequitting.

That’s right, Dragonforce; I’m talking squarely to you.

Jasmine is a freelance writer and podcaster based in the UK. Whether it's a Sims 4 lore deep-dive or a guide to securing kills in Dead By Daylight, her work is featured on TheGamer as well as the door of her mother's fridge. When she's not aggressively championing the Oxford comma on Twitter, you can find her scoping out the local music scene or buying gaudy Halloween decorations all year round.