Music has played an important role in video games for decades. A quality soundtrack can do wonders for a game by helping to immerse players in a virtual world and adding greater emphasis to the storyline but truth be told, it’s traditionally been little more than an experience enhancement.

The latest project from Rock Band developer Harmonix looks to completely reimagine the classic arena first-person shooter formula by moving music from the background and using it as a key gameplay element. In Chroma, gamers will need to use music as their weapon and sound as their arsenal – but what exactly does that mean?

In teaming with Hidden Path Entertainment of Counter-Strike: Global Offensive fame, Harmonix is building Chroma to have a central focus on music. The title will feature a standard array of shooter classes with a twist.

Sneak class characters are fast-moving snipers. They must fire their weapons at strategic points during the music for maximum effectiveness. For example, a perfectly-timed shot will score a one-hit kill while it could take multiple shots to get the kill if not timed perfectly. Similar music-themed requirements are also true of every other character class.

Even the terrain is affected by the music. “Change Ups” at major musical moments are said to drastically alter the landscape of the battlefield in real time by adding sniper towers, providing additional cover and more – all in sync with the music.

According to John Drake, director of publishing and PR at Harmonix, they wanted to make a game that shooter fans could play right away even if they aren’t musical. At the same time, they hope that music fans who aren’t hardcore shooter players will pick it up and become good in a different way.

Despite the fact that this will be a free-to-play game, Harmonix is quick to point out that it won't be pay-to-win. Instead, all items that can be purchased will be purely cosmetic in nature.

Harmonix is planning to launch a closed alpha for the game later this month. Interested parties can sign up to participate over at the game’s official website.