With Harmonix recently announcing the long-awaited Rock Band 4, Activision has finally delivered the answer for their own rival music game series, Guitar Hero. Today, Activision announced Guitar Hero Live, an attempt to re-invigorate the formerly stalled Guitar Hero series, which hasn’t had a new installment since 2010’s Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, which infamously suffered very poor sales due to market over-saturation.
Guitar Hero Live is being developed by FreeStyleGames, the developer behind Activision’s sibling series, DJ Hero. FreeStyleGames is revamping everything, including the necessary guitar peripheral. This officially cements that your worn old Guitar Hero controllers from the former games won’t function with Guitar Hero Live. The chief reason for this is that the new guitar controller peripheral for Guitar Hero Live has six input buttons, not five, and will eliminate the colour scheme of the old controller to simply have the buttons be monochromatic. This is apparently a way to eliminate finger strain by removing the need to use one’s pinky finger, allowing guitar aficionados to keep their fingers in the proper position, and making the experience more user-friendly for both beginners and experts.
The visual style of Guitar Hero is also being completely overhauled, ditching the more primitive cartoony graphics of prior installments. Instead, the game will render real-life actors as if the performances were being broadcast live on the screen, hence the game’s title. The crowd reactions will change depending on how well or poorly you are performing, and each song apparently has its own unique venue, band and performance.
The full tracklist hasn’t been revealed yet, naturally, but artists confirmed to be contributing to Guitar Hero Live include: The Black Keys, Fall Out Boy, My Chemical Romance, Gary Clark Jr., Green Day, Ed Sheeran, The War on Drugs, The Killers, Skrillex, The Rolling Stones, The Lumineers, Pierce the Veil, and Blitz Kids. It’s unknown whether the songs of these performers will all be available at the outset, or if some will need to be unlocked, or worse, purchased as DLC.
The online component will also be receiving an upgrade, thanks to a feature called “Guitar Hero TV.” Guitar Hero TV can be accessed by any console with an online connection at any time, allowing players to ‘flip channels’ and select songs that they’d like to play, match-made immediately with players of similar skillsets, even if it’s halfway through a song in progress. The feature will also have music videos playing in the background, and can simply be used as a music browser for in-game songs, if you so wish, though FreeStyleGames was mum on some of the specifics.
Apparently though, we can expect to hear more about Guitar Hero TV at E3 this year. The feature is being treated almost as an in-game app of sorts, that much we do know, and it will be packaged with the game, and the guitar peripheral, when Guitar Hero Live launches later this year.
Guitar Hero Live will not only launch for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the platforms that will host the competing Rock Band 4, but will also launch for the last-gen Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, as well as Nintendo’s Wii U. The Wii U version will definitely put Nintendo gamers in Guitar Hero’s corner, since Rock Band 4 ended up forsaking Nintendo’s console entirely.
Keep jamming on Eggplante for all news and updates on Guitar Hero Live, and other Guitar Hero projects.