I am in mourning after learning about the sad demise of Guitar Hero. Activision has cancelled the development of the next installment in the Guitar Hero franchise and on top of that, Viacom has sold Harmonix, the developer of the Rock Band series, making it seem very likely that the end is nigh for music rhythm games.
I have been a big fan of Guitar Hero since playing the first game in 2006, and have since bought most of the games in the series.
So, when Rock Band came along, giving the opportunity to drum and sing as well as play guitar, I quickly jumped on that, too! I love both series equally, though I prefer the build quality of the Guitar Hero instruments, and Rock Band for the variety and amount of downloadable content.
I am unsure whether the fact that I am a guitarist boosted my enjoyment or not, but I am certain that it helped me to grasp the basic concepts. Although the games aren’t a lot like playing a real guitar, they are just enough to give the gamer satisfaction, being able to ‘rock out’ in a band.
It isn’t entirely surprising that these franchises are being wound up, as each new game in either series does not add a whole lot in terms of new gameplay mechanics, merely a slight polishing of the graphics, occasional new characters, outfits and instruments to dress your characters up and, of course, a whole list of new songs.
Many casual fans of the games will probably be content with just one of the games, especially as downloadable songs are generally backwards compatible, so if you have Guitar Hero: World Tour, you don’t need to buy Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock to play the latest downloadable songs, plus many may resent paying £40 for the latest version just for the half dozen songs on the game which they like and feel frustrated at having to play through all the filler in order to finish the career.
My biggest questions following the recent news are: What does this mean for DLC? Will more songs be released despite there being no new upcoming games?
And what does this mean for the Squier Rock Band 3 Stratocaster Electric guitar controller? This ‘real’ guitar that, through some combination of technological know-how and witchcraft, enables you to play Rock Band 3’s pro guitar and bass modes, playing the songs note for note whilst also functioning as a real guitar, should you choose to plug it into an amp. As far as I’m aware the strat isn’t widely available yet, and is something I am massively looking forward to getting my hands on.