Where there's smoke, there's fire – and there's been a Victorian-style smog wafting out of Massachusetts-based developer Harmonix of late. It's no surprise, then, that it's announced that Rock Band 4 is in production for the PlayStation 4, and is set to release later this year. It'll feature all of the tracks from previous versions, and, if you invested heavily in the PlayStation 3 release, all of your songs will carry across.

The developer's not saying an enormous amount about the game right now – although you can, of course, get pre-order notifications if you want to – but it's working with Sony to make old peripherals compatible, as well as concocting some new ones in conjunction with Mad Catz. It's also viewing the release as a long-tail type thing, with no immediate successor planned; expect post-release updates to add new features, rather than annual sequels.

As for the game itself, a Eurogamer.net interview alludes to more team-based play, but it's unclear how that will work. The developer wants to encourage a greater sense of unity between band members; the drummer will be able to riff on things that the bass player is doing, for example. Keyboards and pro-guitar support are off the agenda, however – the studio's going back to basics with this next-gen outing.

The previous entry in this once popular property launched five years ago, so a sequel is certainly long overdue. It's interesting timing, as there are also rumours that Activision's planning to bring the Guitar Hero brand out of retirement, too. Are you prepared for another plastic instrument onslaught, though? Shred your way into the comments section below.

[source eurogamer.net, via neogaf.com]