In 2008, amid the frenzy of attention and popularity for the Guitar Hero and Rock Band video games, Harmonix announced plans for Rock Band: Japan, obviously with the intention of capitalizing on an entirely new audience in Japanese gamers.

Since that announcement, though, the game…just never happened.

So why didn’t Harmonix ever come through with its promise and actualy make the game? A variety of reasons, apparently.

Responding to a question from Kotaku’s Brian Ashcraft at the Tokyo Game Show this week, Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos had this to say:

We were very much interested in bringing that experience in some form to the Japanese market,” he explained. “There were a couple of significant challenges.”

Beyond the whole “manufacturing and shipping hundreds of thousands more plastic peripherals to an island country” … thing, Rigopulos lamented issues with licensing Japanese music for the game, which he characterized as “very difficult in Japan, relative to other countries.” He also pointed to a rather obvious concern: space limitations in Japanese households. “Even for people who have the space, Japanese families tend to not make a lot of noise in their homes. They generally have a quieter lifestyle at home ’cause they’re living in closer quarters, and also Japanese families don’t entertain in their homes as much.”

So was Harmonix’s promise in 2008 a case of speaking out of turn, or had they just not anticipated the logistics of a game that, admittedly, take up a lot of living room space? Will they overcome the legal issues that go along with acquiring music licensing for Japanese music?

Read more about this saga at Joystiq.

Do you think Rock Band: Japan will ever come to reality?

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