As yesterday’s early leaks suggested, Activision has unveiled Guitar Hero Live: a reboot for a “new generation” according to the publisher. Developed over the last three years by FreeStyleGames (the team behind DJ Hero and DJ Hero 2), Guitar Hero Live will no longer feature cartoonish, computer graphic characters, and will instead use live-action footage of crowds and bands filmed from the first-person perspective of a guitarist. Crowds will be dynamic and react to your playing; they will also vary in size from small, intimate gatherings in bars, to massive stadiums with hundreds of thousands of people.
This required the use of film crews, robotic video cameras, acting crowds of between 200 and 400 people, and entire stage sets to be created in order for Guitar Hero Live’s aesthetic to be developed.
If this sounds a little difficult to imagine, you can check it out in a debut trailer after the jump. The standard guitar “note highway” from previous games is back in the middle of the screen, super-imposed over the live-action audience. As was suggested in the yesterday’s leak, Activision has indeed changed the controller: there are no more coloured buttons, but rather a set of black and white buttons in two rows designed to get players to mimic finger positions for guitar chords. You can see a brief glimpse of this in the trailer, as well as a picture of the new controller after the jump.
Perhaps more exciting is the announcement of GHTV: Guitar Hero TV. Activision is dubbing this feature the “world’s first playable music video network”. So, imagine MTV but with your standard Guitar Hero note highway super-imposed over bands’ music videos. GHTV will be constantly updated with new videos for you to play. The network will feature a number of channels based on music themes and genres, or you can opt to play certain music videos on demand. Naturally, an entire online social feature will also be built into GHTV, so you’ll be able to set high scores on videos and compare your performance with the rest of the world.
GHTV does introduce a number of questions, namely: will Activision charge for updates to the channels? Jamie Jackson, the creative director and head of FreeStyleGames, has already said that access to GHTV will be included with the game, “No subscriptions. Just go and play it.” But that being said, we’re struggling to see how Activision will afford to continually pay for the rights to add new content to GHTV without offsetting some of that to players. We’ll have to wait until E3 for more information on this one, but for now the concept of GHTV is definitely appealing.
So what about the music? The game takes place during a music festival, which has allowed a bunch of different genres to be added to the game’s playlist. Bands like 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, Carrie Underwood, Pierce the Veil, and Blitz Kids have all been confirmed. You can expect dozens of more bands and artists to be added to that list as we move towards the game’s launch in South Africa’s spring time.
Insofar as platforms go, Guitar Hero Live will hit both current and last-gen consoles, including the Wii U. More interesting however is the fact that Activision is bringing the game to mobile as well. The entire Guitar Hero Live experience will be available on smart phones and tablets, complete with support for the new guitar controller. This means that people without consoles will still be able to play the game on their mobile devices. It’s similar to what Activision did recently with the mobile version of Skylanders: Trap Team.
You can expect more information on Guitar Hero Live at E3 this year. The game will retail for $99.99 so expect to pay around R1 200.00 here in South Africa. If you want, check out the game’s official website and give this lengthy preview a read over on Polygon.