They want to make games, not edutainment.
That may very well be what's making this sting for some of us, I mean, besides losing our favorite instrument(s). Harmonix's catalog, along with statements from employees past and present, have given us the impression they want people to experience the joy of playing and even creating music. From Frequency
all the way up to Fantasia: Music Evolved
, they have created games that immersed people in music, and have given players at least a hint of what it takes to be able to say, "I did that!" and the reward that follows. RB3 to me was a natural step on that path. Now you really could play those songs and learn those instruments, and experience that joy for real, not just pretend.
Not everyone wanted to take that next step, though, and instead just wanted to keep playing games and pretending. And really, that's okay too. The problem of course was that RB3 wasn't as good of a social or role-playing-esque game as RB2. Even I have to admit that, and RB3 is by far my most favorite entry in the series. But, it could
have been. And RB4 could have fixed the gaming parts while keeping what some of us saw as Harmonix's commitment to music education, at least for those who wanted to be educated. But no, they apparently don't want that after all, at least not anymore. And that's disappointing.
Of course this simplifies a lot of things and glosses over issues like instrument availability and quality, audience demand, and how Harmonix's motivation has inevitably shifted now that they're a small independent developer and not part of a big media corporation. Still, it does capture the disappointment I feel even as I look forward to RB4: The game could be what RB3 should have been, but instead it sounds like it will be what RB2 mostly already was.