Acivision CEO Bobby Kotick has always had a soft spot for the Guitar Hero games and recently told VentureBeat he had ideas for a new entry in the franchise.
In the interview, Kotick tells VentureBeat that he had a “really cool vision” for the next Guitar Hero game, but unfortunately, Activision didn’t have “the resouces” to do it.
“Phil [Spencer] and I started riffing on things for the future,” said Kotick. “I wanted to make a new Guitar Hero for a while, but I don’t want to add teams to do manufacturing and supply chain and QA for manufacturing. And the chip shortages are enormous. We didn’t really have the ability to do that.
“I had a really cool vision for what the next Guitar Hero would be, and realized we don’t have the resources to do that.”
First released in 2005, Guitar Hero was a very popular series of music rhythm games where folks used a guitar-shaped game controller to channel their inner rockstar. It started out with just the guitar, 2008’s Guitar Hero World Tour introduced support for a four-player band including vocals and drums.
The first game was a joint venture between RedOctane, which made game controllers, and music video game maker Harmonix. The first game was such a huge success, RedOctane was acquired by Activision in 2007 and MTV Games acquired Harmonix. The latter went on to create the Guitar Hero competitor Rock Band.
Over the course of the years, there were twenty-five releases including spin-offs DJ Hero and Band Hero. The series has sold over 25 million units worldwide and earned over $2 billion at retail. Some were numbered releases, but three were band-specific and covered Aerosmith, Metallica, and Van Halen along with special guest bands. There were also releases specifically created for Nintendo DS and mobile.
The last game to be released in the Guitar Hero series was Guitar Hero Live in 2015. Developed by FreeStyleGames, it suffered from lukewarm sales. Shaking things up a bit from prior games, in addition to songs on the disc, more were introduced from what was called Guitar Hero TV which featured themed channels that broadcasted songs similar to a radio broadcast.
With Microsoft acquiring Activision, it’s quite possible some of the latter’s dormant franchises could be revived. A new Guitar Hero game could be fun, especially if it goes back to a more tired and true formula, but modernized obviously. Personally, I really enjoyed the games, especially Guitar Hero 2, which I feel had a banging soundtrack. My favorites to play were “Can’t You Hear Me Knockin'”, “Mother”, “Them Bones”, Carry On Wayward Son”, “Freya”, and “Crazy on You”. Well, there were many, actually. Some of the bonus songs were pretty cool. Bang Camaro’s “Push Push (Lady Lightning)” was especially fun.
And who can forget Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock? Remember all of the YouTube videos it spawned of folks playing Dragon Force’s “Through the Fire and Flames”? Makes you wonder what the 2022 or 2023 equivalent would be.