Guitar Hero Will Make a Comeback

By  |  Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Back in February, Activision announced that it was stepping away from the Guitar Hero franchise. The publisher dissolved its Guitar Hero business unit and cancelled development on a game that was supposed to launch this year.

Now, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick says that a comeback is in the making.

The publisher has formed a new studio to reinvent the Guitar Hero franchise, Kotick told Forbes. There’s no word on when the next Guitar Hero will launch, but it seems like the project is in its very early stages, with the new studio exploring “a variety of different prototypes,” Kotick said.

The general consensus on Guitar Hero games — and games where you wield fake plastic musical instruments in general — is that they saturated the market to the point that people stopped caring. Kotick’s take is slightly different, but it touches on a similar theme: Activision failed to innovate with the Guitar Hero franchise. And although the spin-off series DJ Hero was innovative and critically praised, Activision overestimated how many people really wanted to act out a video game DJ fantasy.

Activision tends to be a polarizing company, and Kotick a polarizing figure. But from the Forbes interview it’s clear that he has a strong grasp on what people want, and why Activision eventually failed to deliver with Guitar Hero. The publisher gets a lot of well-deserved flack for milking its franchises dry, but I have a feeling that whenever Guitar Hero returns, it’ll be something to watch.

 
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6 Comments For This Post

  1. sittininlab Says:

    Oh, sure, it will be back. Playing county fairs, and the festival circuit. Where it once sold 50000 tickets, it will play 2000 seat theaters. And I’ll go, waiting to hear the classics, looking at the band, realizing half the group is hired guns for the tour, and the original members on stage look like they could care less for each other and the audience. They’ll play all the hits, make you listen to some stuff coming off the new album, and end on the song that made them stars in the first place. Come out for the obligatory encore, and then everyone shuffles off into the night.

  2. Muay Thai Says:

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  3. Keith Says:

    What needs to happen in order for it to innovate? After the initial purchase of the hardware, what kept me going in this game (and in the Rock Band series) was the availability of new songs and bands that I enjoyed in order to get me to download new content. If the new content goes away, so does my interest.

    What would be really innovative would be some kind of licensing agreement where users can convert their existing MP3s into gameplay songs, or take a page from the streaming music services, and come up with a "subscription" plan, where users could play/convert a song on demand.

  4. Jared Newman Says:

    There was actually a Facebook game that did this called Instant Jam. It read your existing music library and put a layer of interactivity on top. The creators argued that no licensing was required because you already owned the music and it wasn't being modified in any way. It even supported USB guitar controllers. Pretty cool. I wrote about it here:
    http://technologizer.com/2010/08/16/instant-jam-b

    Unfortunately, the company that owned the game went under before the idea had a chance to take off. I think it's an awesome idea but I doubt Activision would pass on the opportunity to sell more tracks as downloadable content.

  5. aaron Says:

    guitar hero needs to be taken in a completely different direction. they plastic guitars with colored buttons isnt working anymore. to have real value in the market for today people have to actually learn something from the game. rockband has more educational purposes then guitar hero did and that is why they are still selling games.

  6. James Dowd Says:

    Guitar hero is old. Nobody.. really cares anymore. Electric scooters for adults