It looks like there might be another reason to dust off your plastic instruments – Activision has officially confirmed Guitar Hero Live. The new game is due out later this year, and puts a new spin on the beloved franchise.
Earlier this year, we heard hints of a new Guitar Hero, with the team at FreeStyleGames (who also brought us DJ Hero and DJ Hero 2) allegedly working on a “more realistic” experience than the clicky plastic guitars of old – and it looks like that’s exactly what we’ve got.
Guitar Hero Live gives you two new ways to play – and the most exciting one is GH Live, which brings a new first-person perspective to the franchise (imagine this with VR goggles?).
Described as “a quantum leap forward” in both immersion and realism, GH Live mode promises the live-action experience of being on stage and performing in a real band. Using full-motion video, the “real crowds” in front of you will react in real time, judging how well (or not) you’re playing.
The other new mode in Guitar Hero Live is GHTV, “the world’s first playable music video network”. The 24-hour mode invites you to play along with a collection of music videos (drawn from a variety of genres), meaning you can discover new songs or pick specific tunes on demand. Each song can become a competition, where you play with friends or against people across the world, completing challenges and squabbling over the high scores.
Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirschberg explains:
Guitar Hero is a franchise that so many people love. Figuring out how to bring it back with true breakthrough innovation has been years in the making, and a labor of love. Guitar Hero Live lets people rock real crowds with real reactions. Our goal was literally to give people stage fright. And with GHTV, we have created the world’s first playable music video network. All of it is playable on consoles, or mobile devices. Guitar Hero is back and better than ever.
…keep in mind though, Activision will have some competition – rival Rock Band is already on the comeback trail, with a new title launching later this year for Xbox One and PS4. It’s interesting to note the completely different approach each game is taking, too: While Guitar Hero Live takes things to new places, with a new perspective and a new gameplay style, Rock Band 4 goes back to its roots with an almost nostalgic throw-back to what made the series so popular in the first place.
A key difference between the two: Rock Band 4 will be fully compatible with earlier plastic instrument peripherals, while Guitar Hero Live requires a new “modern, redesigned guitar controller” that has been better shaped to suit the way people naturally play – two rows of three buttons.
For beginners, you can feel like a rock star by mastering play with just the bottom three buttons. Medium-level players don’t have to stretch their fingers down the neck of the guitar controller anymore and can instead skillfully play two-row combinations that mimic real chords. Experienced players have a new challenge in creating complex chord-like shapes and finger combinations that will bring new thrills to veterans. This simple innovation makes it easier for beginners to play and harder for veterans to master.
Obviously, the full tracklisting is still being kept under wraps, but we’re promised something akin to a modern music festival, with “rock, folk, EDM, hip-hop, country and pop acts sharing the same stage”.
No confirmed release date for Guitar Hero Live just yet, besides the nebulous “Fall 2015”, so keep an eye out for this one in the second half of the year. It looks like something that’d work quite nicely under a Christmas tree.