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Activision Trying To 'Reinvent' Guitar Hero

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the killing-it-once-wasn't-enough dept.

Music 144

In an interview with Forbes, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick spoke about the rise and fall of the Guitar Hero franchise, saying "it became unsuccessful because it didn't have any nourishment and care." He then revealed that after effectively canceling the franchise last year, the company is looking for ways to resurrect it. "We said you know what, we need to regain our audience interest, and we really need to deliver inspired innovation. So we're going to take the products out of the market, and we're not going to tell anybody what we're doing for awhile, but we're going to stop selling Guitar Hero altogether. And then we're going to go back to the studios and we're going to use new studios and reinvent Guitar Hero. And so that's what we're doing with it now." Kotick also addressed Activision's lack of foresight regarding DJ Hero: "...in hindsight, if you step back – and it really would have been a simple thing to do – we should have said, 'Well, how many people really want to unleash their inner DJ?'"

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Stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36838778)

This article is stupid and so is all of Slashdot for even reading the summary.

DJ Hero was quite good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36838788)

Bit of a shame Activision couldn't be arsed to promote it properly. Too busy farting around with some first-person-shooter franchise.

Re:DJ Hero was quite good (3, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839906)

DJ Hero was crap.

The first problem was that the controller was RSI-inducing after only a couple minutes.
The second problem was that the music was shit.
The third problem is that Guitar Hero/Rock Band are COMMUNITY games; you need to be able to have friends pick up and play with you. DJ'ing is not a community activity.

Kotick, meanwhile, should be fired for his policy of running franchises into the ground constantly. Activision's primary mistake is keeping him and his suck-ups on the payroll.

Re:DJ Hero was quite good (1)

Tolkien (664315) | more than 3 years ago | (#36841870)

Damnit, every time I want to mod someone up I don't have mod points.

it was a fad (4, Insightful)

Osgeld (1900440) | more than 3 years ago | (#36838804)

time to move on

Re:it was a fad (1)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 3 years ago | (#36838994)

Activision tries to make another fad. News at 11.

Re:it was a fad (2)

Medevilae (1456015) | more than 3 years ago | (#36841610)

Sadly, now it's 'Activision tries to revive dead fad.'

Re:it was a fad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36839806)

Am I the only one, who read the headline as

Activision threatening to 'reinvent' Guitar Hero

?

It's as if they have sworn to never ever make something new for a change.
What's next? A movie version of the musical after the book inspired by the game re-make from the movie adaptation of the game Space Invaders? Oh, wait...!

Re:it was a fad (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#36840828)

I think people were saying that about the videogame crash of 1983. [wikipedia.org] Thing gets overhyped, everyone hears everyone talking about it, tries it. Product is soulless and crappy, people take one look and then don't want anymore.

That's guitar hero after harmonix got taken off of it. Maybe a little bit before actually, guitar hero rocks the 80s was pretty awful. Had the series been managed well, it may not have dried up like it did.

Re:it was a fad (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36840932)

To be fair, Rocks the 80s was only made to fulfill contract requirements, not because Harmonix really wanted to make it...

Re:it was a fad (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 3 years ago | (#36842984)

Interesting, though I would have respected them more for "Guitar Hero: We are contractually obligated to release another one" and it be songs like "We're not gonna take it" and the all new track "Don't buy this game!"

Re:it was a fad (1)

ooshna (1654125) | more than 3 years ago | (#36843154)

Well it did have at least 3 good songs. And come on you can't hear Play with Me without thinking of Bil and Ted.... Well I can't

Re:it was a fad (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36841482)

You think it was a fad, I quite enjoy it, still. It is just plain fun. For many it's a form of casual gaming, a concept unfamiliar to Slashdot it seems as you collectively all complain about the success of angry birds or other games which don't have perfect graphics and fantastic storylines.

We still pull it out every couple of weeks for some fun and I'd happily buy another if they released one.

Their biggest worries is that the downloadable content bombed. The songs were expensive, quite popish and often not very stimulating.

Re:it was a fad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36842692)

The songs were quite popish? What, were they all Catholic?

Re:it was a fad (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#36842706)

That's probably why it died. Face it - it was something that could last forever simply because there's an impressive amount of music out there. Even if they didn't release any more editions, there's tons of music out there for DLC.

Activision, unfortunately, is a company focused on the short term profit than the long term longevity. They will go for $1 today instead of going for the $2 tomorrow (tne $3 the day after, etc). In the end, the desire for money drove the franchise into the ground. They've done it with Blizzard, they'll do it with Bungie.

Well, that and the labels that decided to get greedy instead of using it as an opportunity to market more music. After all, music games lead to the revival of many bands.

And if it was a fad, there wouldn't be music games for over a decade and a half (all the way from Konami bemani, DDR, etc). It was just plain greed between the labels and more importantly, Activision.

in HINDSIGHT???? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | more than 3 years ago | (#36838808)

I'm pretty sure most people were saying that DJ hero was an uninspired idea in forsight.

Dear Kotick,
people actually do get tired of cash-ins. I know that's literally everything that you've ever produced at EA, but there is more potential to a series than functionally-identical sequels with marginally different content.

Re:in HINDSIGHT???? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839074)

Dear Kotick, people actually do get tired of cash-ins.

"Dear i kan reed,
See Madden."

Laughing all the way to the bank, Bobby Kotick

Re:in HINDSIGHT???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36841712)

Except Madden actually has some tangible improvement with each release. Always graphically, and the big one is that teams and such are updated with each release.

Re:in HINDSIGHT???? (1)

Daetrin (576516) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839112)

So does the spelling of your handle "i kan reed" meant to indicate that it's supposed to be taken ironically? If not, you might want to go back and "rereed" the title.

"Activision Trying To 'Reinvent' Guitar Hero"

The company that Kotick works for and which currently owns the rights to Guitar Hero is Activision, not EA.

Re:in HINDSIGHT???? (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36840702)

I didn't hear anything of the sort. And for that matter, the majority of gamers I know that played DJ Hero quite enjoyed it (myself included). Perfect? No, but fun. I'm not going to put it on the "greatest game of all time" pedestal or anything, but it was a worthy effort IMO.

Dang. (0)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36838824)

The game's off the market Already and I never got a chance to play it. Oh well.

Re:Dang. (1)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 3 years ago | (#36838936)

You can pick up used equipment cheap on ebay and craigslist.

Re:Dang. (2)

LordNimon (85072) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839064)

Just get Rock Band instead. The game itself might not be getting any updates in the foreseeable future, but there are still new songs released weekly. Plus, Rock Band has the keyboard controller.

The music game genre is not dead, it's just dead for Activision.

Re:Dang. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#36840944)

The music game genre is not dead, it's just dead for Activision.

Damn straight, now where's my Parappa the Rapper 3 through 17?!

Re:Dang. (1)

DeathElk (883654) | more than 3 years ago | (#36842656)

As a real guitarist, I got absolutely nothing out of this game. In hindsight, I can see how it might have been fun for... maybe 2.5 minutes...

Activision (2)

MetalliQaZ (539913) | more than 3 years ago | (#36838866)

Based on past experience, I'm pretty sure that Activision really doesn't get it. I'm sure that the "reinvention" will include a whole line of expensive new instruments that you will have to buy, with a game that lasts for exactly one Christmas season before fading into obscurity. The kind of attention to detail that kept gamers interested in Street Fighter for almost two decades is something that I doubt Activision values as a publisher.

Re:Activision (1)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#36840324)

Oh I'm sure they'll reinvent it in the only way they know how - by buying up a small innovative company and running it into the ground.

Re:Activision (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36841490)

While I try never to defend idiots like Activision what makes you think that any new release won't be backwards compatible? The last 5 releases have been.

Idea (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36838902)

I know what they should do.

Instead of the buttons and the thingy, they should have a system of 6 or 12 'strings' , whenever you press at the top in a particular combination a new sound comes out, and .. here's the kicker, you can play whichever song you like on it, without even needing a screen.

We could call it uh.. Electric Guitar (Hero)

No automatic grading (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839352)

Your idea lacks one thing that brings people to music games in the first place: automatic grading. That's why Rock Band has the Pro Guitar.

Re:Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36839424)

Yeah... turn from 3-5 buttons with clicker to 18 variances * number of frets... sounds like a real game to me.
There's a time for guitar, and a time for a game. It's not terribly easy to play a guitar while lit off your ass, but you can play rockband/guitar hero while passed out it seems lol

Re:Idea (1)

Doodlesmcpooh (1981178) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839462)

You might actually be on to something. Imagine if by playing the game you could eventually play an actual guitar. I would pay for that. Might seem too much like hard work for most people though.

Re:Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36840560)

You should check out RB3's pro guitar mode...

Re:Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36840652)

Rock Band 3 had that option. As does some upcoming game for which the name escapes me.

Re:Idea (1)

badboy_tw2002 (524611) | more than 3 years ago | (#36842368)

rock band 4?

Re:Idea (1)

Kittenman (971447) | more than 3 years ago | (#36841320)

You jest, but daughter has found that playing a real guitar (she does) is actually easier than playing GH. Maybe the fault with the game is that it was more complex than the real thing, and the skills weren't transferable...

Re:Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36841888)

Already in production.
See http://rocksmith.ubi.com/rocksmith/en-US/home/ [ubi.com]

Re:Idea (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36842294)

I'll be impressed if they manage to figure out how to do string detection. Given that on a guitar you can play the same note as an open high E on... well, every string... it's not that simple. There are a plethora of notes you can play on pretty much every string of a guitar and only I think about 9 that are actually unique? (4 semitones on the lowest string, 3 on the highest - at least in standard EADGBE tuning).

I mean, that's assuming there's any sort of competitive scoring element in the game, like Rock Band 3 has. Of course Rock Band 3 though they don't let you use ANY guitar, also has Pro-Drums, vocals, and Pro-Keys and Pro-Bass (yeah OK playing bass on a guitar isn't ideal so the experience of pro-bass is probably the least realistic). And having the option of playing with your friends can make life fun!

Also I love how the promo video talks about effects and amps being expensive. I suppose that's true... but at the same time, that's part of the joy of playing an instrument... saving up to get that one distortion pedal from the 70s that really wails, or finally buying a gong, or getting that vocal mic that perfectly suits your voice... and virtual effects and amps are of course limited by the output device you have... home theatre systems tend to make pretty crappy guitar amps....

Re:Idea (2)

edremy (36408) | more than 3 years ago | (#36842620)

I'll be impressed if they manage to figure out how to do string detection. Given that on a guitar you can play the same note as an open high E on... well, every string... it's not that simple. There are a plethora of notes you can play on pretty much every string of a guitar and only I think about 9 that are actually unique? (4 semitones on the lowest string, 3 on the highest - at least in standard EADGBE tuning).

Why should it matter? It's an E. You can play it anywhere you want. For that matter, score any E chord the same. I'm a crappy guitarist but I routinely change fingerings and chords off of tab if they're easier to play in some other form.

That said, having played around with some of the "real" guitar games, they all seem to fail pretty hard on chord recognition. Individual notes are ok, but as soon as there are multiple notes it just craps out at random points even when you play correctly. My favorite was a company (I'll keep them unnamed) at CES selling a guitar trainer who admitted to me that they couldn't grade the songs correctly- they would give you a score at the end but couldn't point out where you made a mistake, and even if you played perfectly you wouldn't get a 100% except by luck.

Also I love how the promo video talks about effects and amps being expensive. I suppose that's true... but at the same time, that's part of the joy of playing an instrument... saving up to get that one distortion pedal from the 70s that really wails, or finally buying a gong, or getting that vocal mic that perfectly suits your voice... and virtual effects and amps are of course limited by the output device you have... home theatre systems tend to make pretty crappy guitar amps....

The interesting thing is how cheap all this stuff has gotten if you skip the boutique guitars and analog pedals. I have $200 guitar I play through a $150 (used) floorboard that emulates ~60 amps, ~30 cabinets and close to 100 different pedals, and also doubles as a USB recording interface. That's less than some of the Rock Band games. Yeah, it's not perfect, but I'm not any good anyway.

Re:Idea (1)

kevinmenzel (1403457) | more than 3 years ago | (#36842744)

There are tonal differences between where you position a chord though on a guitar. Maybe not at the elementary levels, but not all E chords are the same, and a lot of the "cheat" chords guitarists use either are suspensions that can actually make a song sound muddy when played with other instruments, or leave out important notes that actually indicate the color of the chord. Or a certain progression might introduce too much parallelism compared to other instruments, or not enough. Thankfully most of my guitar playing friends have gotten past the point where they are just learning basic chords, and have moved on to learning where all the chords are all across the neck, and when and why they would play one chord over another... it makes playing with them a lot more fun and interesting.

As for games that fail hard on chord recognition, I don't see why the Rock Band 3 pro-guitar would fail. Sure in terms of a real guitar you have to buy one specific real guitar, and it's expensive I guess, but it has individual sensors for each string on the fret board, so it's actually pretty damn good at picking up what chord you're playing.

Needs more fiddlin' (2)

graveyhead (210996) | more than 3 years ago | (#36838930)

I'm picturing "Devil Went Down To Georgia". Good vs evil violins. Epic.

Re:Needs more fiddlin' (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36839686)

guitar hero style game with a violin....... wouldn't happen to be an iCarly fan would you?

Re:Needs more fiddlin' (2)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 3 years ago | (#36840176)

Clearly you are, which explains posting as Anon. I, however, proudly remember seeing that in an episode and thinking "*SO* want to play that!"

and then along came ATARI! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36838954)

inner dj? who comes up with this stuff?

first post?

woot?

only post?

at least gnaa not doing fp troll here...

and nothing of value was lost..

Here are some of their ideas (0)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 3 years ago | (#36838962)

1) Make it respond to motion controllers like the Kinect and Move. You can have cues to let the user know when to "pass out" on stage because you're strung out on heroin and Jack Daniels.

2) Make it exclusively for the iPad. Because the kids today love those damned iPad things, right?

3) Add 3D to the game. Put on your glasses to see sad concert sluts throwing their underwear at you...in 3 D !!!!

4) Make it cheaper to buy.....No, fuck that, charge EVEN MORE.

5) Release a retro version for the Commodore 64.

6) Donate 1% of all profits to some fucking charity for whatever fucking disaster happens to be going on at the moment.

7) Do something to sell it to people who can actually remember when there was stuff on the radio besides hip hop, pop, and R&B.

8) Hire some tired, old band who are just sad shadows of their former greatness to promote it. This could be any rock band, really.

9) Do what EA does and just release a new version every year with an updated NFL roster.

10) Just slap some new packaging on it that calls it "Digitally Remastered."

D+Pad Hero (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839434)

Release a retro version for the Commodore 64.

Or better yet, D+Pad Hero [youtube.com] for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

Not another Dark gritty reboot (1)

faulteh (1869228) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839002)

Getting tired of you younguns spoiling our franchises! So what's the dark gritty reboot of GH going to be like? Are they going to completely mess with the origin story? Instead of sequels are they just going to release prequel after prequel?

Translation: we couldn't milk it every year (5, Informative)

MimeticLie (1866406) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839004)

Guitar Hero - 2005
Guitar Hero 2 - 2006
Guitar Hero 3: Legends of Rock - 2007
Guitar Hero World Tour - 2008
Guitar Hero 5 - 2009
Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock - 2010

Not to mention the expansions:
Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s - 2007
Guitar Hero: Aerosmith - 2008
Guitar Hero: Metallica - 2009
Guitar Hero Smash Hits - 2009
Guitar Hero: Van Halen - 2009
Band Hero - 2009

Apparently unlike with CoD you can't sustainably sell people a new guitar game annually. Van Halen and Warriors of Rock both sold less than 100k units in their opening weeks.

Re:Translation: we couldn't milk it every year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36839158)

Of course they did... it's VAN HALEN!

Re:Translation: we couldn't milk it every year (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36839594)

With Guitar Hero: Van Halen, their sales numbers probably were hindered by the fact that they were giving it away as a promotion with Guitar Hero 5.

Re:Translation: we couldn't milk it every year (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36841506)

Yeah but who wants to buy a release which has songs from only one band?

Given the cost of downloadable content by comparison each new release was a bargain. You know the type of buyer you're appealing to when the first thing people do when they hear of your new release is Google the set list. I wonder if they are running out of good songs.

Re:Translation: we couldn't milk it every year (1)

NewWorldDan (899800) | more than 3 years ago | (#36841736)

I'd bet that a Boston/Foreigner joint version would sell a ton of units. I bought the Smash Hits edition because it had tracks from earlier versions that I hadn't played. But more than that, it had a lot of songs that I wanted to play.

In any event, I've gone as far with that game as I can. Once someone finally succeeds with making a GH like game using a real guitar, that really works as a game, I'll be back on board. Until then, my daughter has recently discovered karaoke, and she's in to metal, so I might get her the microphone for GH and see if she can learn to sing on key. I certainly can't.

Re:Translation: we couldn't milk it every year (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36841858)

Once someone finally succeeds with making a GH like game using a real guitar, that really works as a game, I'll be back on board.

You can get on board now [rockband.com] Not cheap though.

Philharmonic orchestra hero (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839008)

100 instruments. Woodwind, brass, percussion, piano and strings.
DO IT!

Re:Philharmonic orchestra hero (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839052)

Don't forget the conductor. But that'll probably need kinetic support or something.

Re:Philharmonic orchestra hero (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839480)

Don't forget the conductor.

I liked that game better when it was called "Just Dance". Heck, I liked "Tik Tok" better when it was called "Just Dance".

here's an idea, activision (1)

the simurgh (1327825) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839080)

how about we get a mode where we can make our own music. mario paint had a mode where you could make your own music AND IT WASN'T EVEN A MUSIC BASED GAME

Market saturation. (2)

the_raptor (652941) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839086)

The problem was market saturation. There was a point where multiple Guitar Hero (not to mention Rock Band) games were coming out a year. With the level of marketing and production that was going on it didn't take long until everyone who wanted Guitar Hero owned it. And as it was mostly a party game you only really sell a few copies to every group of friends instead of most of the group buying it like online multiplayer games.

Most people weren't interested in the new game mechanics, they would buy new copies to get new songs. What they should have done was release a base game every 1 - 2 years and sold extra tracks (fully transferable between versions) from an online store.

That way they would have nursed the brand instead of dressing it in a short skirt and pimping it out on a shady corner. Of course Kotick doesn't know how to do anything but rape franchises.

Re:Market saturation. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36839312)

Of course Kotick doesn't know how to do anything but rape franchises.

Ah, that's the problem there. Rape franchises [wikipedia.org] seem to have limited success outside Japan.

Re:Market saturation. (1)

thegarbz (1787294) | more than 3 years ago | (#36841662)

Most people weren't interested in the new game mechanics, they would buy new copies to get new songs. What they should have done was release a base game every 1 - 2 years and sold extra tracks (fully transferable between versions) from an online store.

This is the key right here. I'm a real Guitar Hero fan. Love the game. But when a new release comes out I go and Google the setlist to decide if I should buy it or not. The only real change in mechanic that has had a benefit was the party modes where people could enter and leave a song at whim without needing to restart.

They do sell online songs but given the price it's easier to buy the whole new game if the setlist is good.

Flooding the market (1)

Is0m0rph (819726) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839098)

We didn't need guitar hero 1,2,3,Aerosmith, Metallica, band hero, world tour, 5, etc that were not all compatible with one another. Harmonix had it right supporting the same platform through multiple versions. I think most people just got tired of the genre. My family has hundreds of DLC tracks for Rock Band, used to play it a ton. We just burned out on it.

DJ Hero (3, Insightful)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839150)

I really don't know what could be done about Guitar Hero to make the experience fresh and engaging. It looks to me like they're risking turning it into a convoluted and disappointing experience.

As for DJ Hero, I don't think the problem was that the audience wasn't there, the problem was that the music selection was bad. I mean, who hasn't gone to a dance club? The problem is that the music was heavily pop-oriented with a lean towards hip hop. They completely missed a huge core demographic for the game. It's like the whole game was based around a single DJ who evidently had a thing for a mish-mash of contrasting styles. The persistent theme seemed to be something new and old. They should have offered selections based around a range of popular genres; trance, house, drum n bass, dubstep, hip hop etc. Hell, they could have even included pop mixes. And keep the mixes within those particular genres.

Ideally the game would have let you choose any two tracks, but that would have been a daunting challenge to pull off automatic mixing. The thing is that the game was fun, albeit too easy. The music selection was the big letdown.

Re:DJ Hero (1)

Simulant (528590) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839554)

the problem was that the music selection was bad.

Yes, yes it was. I would have been first in line for a Trance/House DJ Hero.

Re:DJ Hero (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36839628)

I agree 100%! Bad music choices for a DJ platform. I wanted Trance/Dance as well.

Re:DJ Hero (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 3 years ago | (#36840908)

Sorry, all the 'genres' you mention are just plain old disco and it still sucks.

Holy Crap Bobby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36839212)

You're kidding me.

Bobby fucking Kotick said "It didn't have nourishment and care?"

Seriously Bobby, we know you don't give .0004 craps about care. Just look at the Infinity Ward ordeal. They canceled the series (Guitar Hero), and now they're going to "reinvent" it by adding probably one or two features and get all of the people to buy it over again.

Nice try Activision.

Re:Holy Crap Bobby (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36839414)

Guitar Hero isn't going to have a resurgence. Regardless of whether it was just a fad, or if Activision just killed it by pumping out cash-in after cash-in, the mass appeal is dead. Hell, even CoD is starting to go the same way, and I wouldn't be surprised if that's influencing this talk of a revival.

Oboe Hero (1)

OopsIDied (1764436) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839236)

Remove the bottom part of the guitar and put a hole on the end of the fretboard. About as creative as it gets 8)

Re:Oboe Hero (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 3 years ago | (#36842136)

The reedmaking would still be a bitch, though.

Real guitar (1)

MagicM (85041) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839272)

For those who've moved on from Guitar Hero to a real guitar, it's worth checking out JamOrigin [jamorigin.com] and keeping an eye on Rocksmith [ubi.com] .

Re:Real guitar (1)

lattyware (934246) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839440)

As the owner of a Squier, I'd like to point out to can play Rock Band and a real guitar [youtube.com] - the squier is a real guitar, and RB3 has pro mode. Rocksmith might be decent, we don't know, but I can personally vouch for pro mode in RB3 being fun, not too hard to get into, and it's playing real music once you get to expert difficulty.

Rock Band does it better. Full stop. (2)

lattyware (934246) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839292)

What happened was the day Harmonix left, so did all the innovation. Apart from the setlist of Guitar Hero 3, nothing good came from the Guitar Hero camp after that.

Rock Band, on the other hand, has gone from strength to strength - RB3 is a truly excellent game, full of features and with a really good business model. If you want an example of DLC being done right, look here.

Personally, I'd rather not see Guitar Hero come back. As much as competition is good, Harmonix have done more without competition than GH ever did. I've spent a lot of money on Rock Band, and I feel every penny was worth it. The pro modes are amazing (I'm one of around 1500 Squier owners outside the USA), the game is, in general, very good - and they are doing the exact opposite of what Guitar Hero did. They made a polished, well made game with lots of features, and are not releasing a sequel any time soon - RB3 is here to stay for some time, and they are continuing to support it with DLC. They are one of the few studios, alongside Valve and a few others, who I truly feel are doing what they believe is good for the games, not just their wallets (fortunately the two seem to go hand in hand).

Harmonix have done really well with Dance Central too - which I hear is also a great game, although not really my kind of thing.

Re:Rock Band does it better. Full stop. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36840192)

Exactly.

I'm glad that Guitar Hero is gone so that there is one single platform getting the licenses to songs as DLC.

Activision never got a clue on how to make GH party friendly. Rock Band had no fail mode, vocal adjustments without going to a buried menu, players could drop in and out during a song...GH had none of that, it was competition mode all the way and it made new users feel like failures.

Lets face it, it was drunken karaoke with plastic instruments that really made Rock Band a success and GH was not party friendly at all.

It's really very simple... (1)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839382)

Bobby Kotick is the devil.

No other explanation is needed.

They killed it... (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839486)

They were releasing like 3 games a year for fuck's sake, with concurrent releases of Rock Band, which was pretty much the same thing. People burned out. I'm sure it'll come back but they need to give it time and let it become novel again.

Re:They killed it... (1)

Quirkz (1206400) | more than 3 years ago | (#36840072)

Yeah, I kind of feel this way. After picking up my first band game, I couldn't play it enough. Got two expansion packs, played them all the way through. Picked up a music theme I liked, then picked up version #2 of the game for more songs, then tried the competing product ... and realized I was pretty much sick of just doing the same thing over and over. Especially putting up with gaming the points or the venues, or jumping through the necessary hoops to unlock the songs I wanted to play, which first required playing songs I didn't like so much over and over again. Even weirder obstacles, like having a character tied to an instrument, so that if you want to switch instruments you've got to unlock everything AGAIN, just became unbearable. That and my friends also got tired of the games around the same time, meaning I'd just be playing by myself, which wasn't nearly as much fun.

Fluff piece for a soulless CEO (2)

petsounds (593538) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839612)

Remember guys, this is Bobby Kotick, the guy who when he took over Activision famously said, "I want to take all the fun out of making video games." That line was meant to convey that he wanted to trim the fat at Activision, but in reality he just doesn't understand what it means to make good games. If no fun goes into a game, no fun is had playing one.

His quote that Guitar Hero failed because it didn't "receive nourishment and care" is probably the most honest thing he's said. But from everything I know about how that company operates (and I know a bit more than the average public), Kotick is a total micromanager, down to the tinest details. That's an alright quality if you're Steve Jobs, but Kotick comes from running packaged goods companies. He has no fracking clue about what makes a good game, or what makes something fun.

Look at the Rock Band guys by contrast. These were the developers who invented the original Guitar Hero gameplay. They have a passion for the game and wanted to see how far they could push it (and were given the freedom to do so). Would Kotick have imagined or approved turning the fake instruments into MIDI controllers, offering a Pro mode to teach people the fundamentals of playing a real instrument? No, because Activision doesn't innovate. They buy an established IP and run it into the ground. The original studio's best developers usually leave because they know what awaits them at the Activision grindhouse.

Kotick is risk-adverse. His philosophy is the same as a typical packaged goods CEO -- test market the shit out of a tiny variation on an existing product to make it palatable to the widest possible audience. But that doesn't work with artistic mediums like films and games. It just turns creativity, fun and vision into gruel. Unfortunately, I think this is becoming the standard in the industry now, as other game corps have seen Activision's financial success. Look at the number of innovative games from the PS2 era versus the PS3/360 era. Part of this is Japan wanting to emulate western studios (to their folly), as well as hiring incompetent western CEOs, but I think it's more due to game companies just not wanting to take big risks anymore.

Re:Fluff piece for a soulless CEO (1)

Nick Ives (317) | more than 3 years ago | (#36840122)

Uh, no. Kotick became CEO in 91. During his watch we've had Quake, Interstate '76, Mechwarrior 2 and the Jedi Knight games.

Lately Activision has taken a turn for the worst what with their focus on milking sequels, but it wasn't always that way. He didn't invent the idea of milking sequels, he stole it from Hollywood. Hollywood have been doing that for years and making money hats; the Transformers films have made billions of dollars.

So yea, that formula does work for mass market consumer art.

I do my part by just not buying CoD and, if people happen to ask me about it, saying I think it's shit. Other than that I tend to ignore it.

Re:Fluff piece for a soulless CEO (1)

GlobalEcho (26240) | more than 3 years ago | (#36841518)

I agree with everything you said. In particular, while I think you meant to write "risk-averse", your neologism of "risk-adverse" is far more accurate.

Re:Fluff piece for a soulless CEO (1)

surferx0 (1206364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36841920)

Look at the Rock Band guys by contrast. These were the developers who invented the original Guitar Hero gameplay.

Konami should be credited for the "invention" of the gameplay in Guitar Hero and Rock Band, not Harmonix. The only reason Guitar Hero and Rock Band came into existence were because of the peripheral manufacturer Red Octane who was previously famous for making Dance Dance Revolution controllers wanting to invest in someone to copycat Konami's Guitar Freaks outside of Japan. It was only a matter of time before Drum Mania's gameplay was included as well. If Harmonix would be credited for anything it would be the singing part of Rock Band, but the music genre of video games had already been very well established long before the masses were exposed to it with Guitar Hero and Rock Band.

Re:Fluff piece for a soulless CEO (1)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 3 years ago | (#36843060)

Wanting to "copycat" Guitar Freaks? Try going back to playing Guitar Freaks after playing Guitar Hero/Rock Band. It's like trying to ride a tricycle after you've been riding a Harley. Harmonix did a lot more than rip off Guitar Freaks, or "the masses" wouldn't have bought it.

Really - how would you "Reinvent" this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36839696)

It's a game where you click buttons on a guitar shaped controller at the right time. Beyond adding new music, there isn't much you can do. Let it die and take it's place next to other fads like the pet rock.

Here is why DJ Hero failed (1)

synthesizerpatel (1210598) | more than 3 years ago | (#36839826)

You've got musical content, but you've made it a game - it doesn't need to be a 'game'. There can be game-like aspects of it, but if you're going to produce a 'turntable' interface, don't make it a flimsy piece of garbage, bring the cost up another $50 (or heck, even $100), and you're still $50-100 cheaper than the cheaper DJ 'real' turntable interfaces. Make it something you could actually DJ a party with and not look like a complete nerd.

As someone who has spent many, many hours, days, and months per suing musical instrument hacking (google for synthesizerpatel & ammobox), see my other videos.. I can say this - 'DJ Hero' had a lot of potential but was a flat out failure trying to make it a silly game when it could have been a real music interface for kids without the means to buy a real setup ($600 for the low-end, $1500-2000 for the high end). If they've already got an xbox you've got 90% of the problem solved - give them a GOOD interface that provides an enjoyable tactile experience and that can produce REAL mixes and you've got a product that will sell, no question. About 5 years ago, turntables outsold guitars in Japan - probably not the case now but there are LOTS of people who have inner DJs to let out, you just didn't provide the right tools.

for the fans of music lovers everywhere (2)

Master Moose (1243274) | more than 3 years ago | (#36840954)

A turntable is a home appliance, not a musical instrument.

Re:for the fans of music lovers everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36841754)

Me and this guy disagree with you

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNZPsGTVgBY

Re:Here is why DJ Hero failed (1)

surferx0 (1206364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36842086)

About 5 years ago, turntables outsold guitars in Japan - probably not the case now but there are LOTS of people who have inner DJs to let out, you just didn't provide the right tools.

That's definitely not why DJ Hero failed. Beatmania (the game DJ Hero was trying to copy) was a massive success in the 90's are early 2000's. Rythm and music games have proven to be successful, regardless of how unrealistic Guitar Hero is to playing a guitar or Dance Dance Revolution is to real dancing. You don't need to provide realistic tools in order for people to enjoy it. DJ Hero definitely didn't fail because of the lack of quality or realism of the turntable interface, it would have failed regardless of the controller used.

Activision just thought they could duplicate the success they had when Konami's other popular music game Guitar Freaks was copied successfully by Guitar Hero. But unfortunately Activision just didn't do their homework on the Beatmania demographic before deciding on DJ Hero. Beatmania already had lots of exposure in the U.S. already (unlike Guitar Freaks) as you could find a Beatmania machine in just about every arcade. Plus fans of the series have already long since imported their Beatmania titles and controllers and have moved on to other things. So it was more a combination of Beatmania already being played out (like any music/rhythm game will be over time) and a horrible set list that completely did not mesh with the demographic that would have gone for this type of game.

We'll release new instruments... (1)

PinchDuck (199974) | more than 3 years ago | (#36840130)

And you'll have to re-buy the songs all over again! How does that sound, kids?

Re:We'll release new instruments... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36841666)

Your being sarcastic, you mean re-license don't you? Re-revenue stream haha :> top comment!

guitar hero had one problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36840184)

Greed. Everyone wanted a slice of the pie, but no one wanted to listen to what people wanted.

I want to be able to play songs from my favorite bands. I should be able to do so without paying $15 for a bundle of a few songs. It shouldn't cost a fortune for Activision to convert a song to the format, and it should be cheaper to release it on the PSN than on a physical media.

I don't need "new" to be engaging. If that were the case, you'd never go back and listen to old music. I just want to be able to play what I want without paying a fortune for it.

Cow Bell Hero (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36840252)

It would go perfect with the wii controller.

Needs more cow bell. (0)

taxman_10m (41083) | more than 3 years ago | (#36840268)

Gamers got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell!

Unleash your inner DJ? (1)

jimshatt (1002452) | more than 3 years ago | (#36840930)

Well, how many people really want to unleash their inner DJ?

Super Greg! [dodonetwork.net]

Remember the originals? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36840996)

Frequency and Amplitude were WAY more fun than any Guitar Hero game, granted they had a smaller fan-base and probably didn't make nearly as much money. They featured techno/electronic music and you could shift tracks to play different instruments using a basic controller. None of this tap on a fake drum bs. I want to play vocals, guitar and drums all at once! You could play and create more complex songs because of that, and the music was better. Guitar Hero was always a gimmick, especially when they tried to move it to hand-held system.

i want to unleash my inner dj (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36841496)

OR let people make their own tracks like Excitebike from nineteen eighty five (26 years ago) User created content would drive guitar hero forever). I have been in more than one indie band and would love to be able to rock out to my own tracks on there.

The sequencing they use for the game, being that there's only five buttons, is kind of simple compared to any piano roll like Fruity Loops.

lol... (1)

Nrrqshrr (1879148) | more than 3 years ago | (#36841516)

Activision.... reinvent....
This wont compile.

Did 50 people lose their jobs for nothing? (3, Insightful)

DJHeRobotExVV (2402664) | more than 3 years ago | (#36842032)

50 people lost their jobs from Vicarious Visions in Mendands, NY with the death of the Guitar Hero franchise on February 9th. The cited reason in the termination paperwork was the elimination of the Guitar Hero "Business Unit". The sad fact is that Vicarious Visions was in the process of reviving the franchise - injecting it with the "creativity" and "inspired innovation" that Kotick bemoans the series lacking due to Neversoft's mis-handling, the same innovation and creativity that it will never have again now that all of the creative people who were to see the series through to its subsequent release in 2012 have been laid off, in perhaps the most hush-hush manner ever surrounding a game's utter implosion. It's easy to connect the dots as to what Activision were doing - observe Neversoft's staffing cupboard being laid bare by their corporate overlords, and the flocking of specific audio people and Neversoft staff to the Capital region. Observe the sudden uptick in hiring over the past 24 months.

Do note, please, that all of the rank-and-file employees who had been in the industry for more than a few years and hadn't yet drank the corporate Kool-Aid could see the writing on the wall years before the franchise started to flag. It was plainly obvious that Guitar Hero was never anything more than a quizzical curio of the executives, one that had materialized a billion dollars into their net worth for no good reason that any of their MBAs, marketing research, or "producers" could cite, but one that people appeared to want in record numbers. As they saw it, perhaps without realizing it, the series was one to be expanded, not honed - mass-produced, not polished. Guitar Hero, in the land of business-people, was to become as ubiquitous as the Wii, the Xbox, or Playstation - they wanted Guitar Hero to be come not a game, but a platform, and any gamer worth his or her salt can tell you that that is impossible. You reach market saturation, you polish for one iteration or perhaps two if demand does not flag, you move on. The fact, however, that (again) any gamer can tell you is that unless you have a brand that is couched in gamer culture that existed well prior to the introduction of Internet connectivity at large - compare to Mario or Madden, as even the Sonic franchise has become lackluster in light of its lack of pre-90's roots - people will not remain interested for more than a few years at best. A new fad comes along, staff turnover comes along, new hardware comes along, and with new things people want new franchises.

The sad fact is that the employees who balked at the notion of monetizing the Guitar Hero series were met with harsh reprimands - money is a cruel mistress, and it can make people do cruel things without even realizing it. Certainly, when one drives a new car into work and shuts that door for the first time in front of his coworkers, one would never admit that it could all come crashing down within six months, 12, 24 or ever. Employees that balked the loudest were laid off the soonest as the music/rhythm franchise began its inexorable decline, while those who praised every iteration, every minute variant were richly rewarded for their sycophantic loyalty.

The sad fact here is that there are no winners or losers, now, at the sad end of The Music/Rhythm Wars. Konami's interest level in polishing the Revolution and Freaks series seems to have ended long ago, Power Gig was a failure, Rock Band 3 sold worse than Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, roughly 500 people across different Activision studios lost their jobs in one go when Activision officially announced the termination of the Guitar Hero business unit, not to mention the studio closings and down-sizing occurring over the past two years - likely as an attempt to keep the Guitar Hero franchise afloat as it hemorrhaged money, Harmonix were sold off by Viacom for $50 and the assumption of their considerable debts - this after having their $150 million performance-based bonus requested to be returned as a result of their lack of meeting said performance. It is a sad story all around, with everyone losing. People have lost their jobs. Gamers have lost ongoing downloadable content for games that some of them loved until the day the games died. Money has been lost. People have moved across the country, some multiple times, only to have their lives turned upside-down within months. Yet, at the end of it all, Robert Kotick has the audacity to claim that the series "needs innovation" despite the fact that people who were specifically in the process of doing just that were released from his employ in February of this year.

Whether through sheer ignorance, misinformation by underlings or outright callousness, Kotick is a genuinely evil man who is wholly out of touch with gaming. His ignorant comments were a source of amusement to people when they were under his employ, but for those same people these same words have become a flaming rapier thrusting deeply into the gut of everyone who is now unemployed due to his and his hand-picked underlings' utter mismanagement of the franchise. It would be pointless, perhaps, to suggest that a man with no shame should be seized with a sudden attack of the deepest and most paralyzing shame that he has ever felt in his life - but indeed, if it were possible, it would have occurred the moment he made these comments in the article.

Re:Did 50 people lose their jobs for nothing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36842704)

"It is a sad story all around, with everyone losing. People have lost their jobs. Gamers have lost ongoing downloadable content for games that some of them loved until the day the games died. Money has been lost. People have moved across the country, some multiple times, only to have their lives turned upside-down within months." ---Truth
Once, making games was the most enjoyable thing in the world, and imo, a wonderful way to make a living. Now it's just "mehhh, this thing's not working. Send everybody home". sad story indeed.

Too little too late - check out the competition! (1)

SendBot (29932) | more than 3 years ago | (#36842782)

When rocksmith comes out soon, guitar zero will have nothing to offer than can't be had (likely for better) between that and rock band.

Personally, I would have tossed GH under the bus for rock band just because the strum bar click was so damn annoying.

Reinvention of Guitar Freaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36843034)

What's worse than reinvention? Reinvention of something that was a mere reinvention to begin with.

In short, they are trying to reinvent the reinvention of Guitar Freaks. The fact it hadn't much popularity outside Japan doesn't mean it didn't exist, and doesn't make Guitar Hero any less "reinvention".

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