Activision CEO: Instruments, vocals coming to Guitar Hero

Bobby Kotick tells Conde Nast Portfolio that the billion-dollar-franchise will soon have "a lot more" options for making music. The question is: When?

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For a while, its been known that more instruments were coming to the Guitar Hero franchise. Before it was bought by Activision in 2006, the series' publisher RedOctane had registered the titles "Keyboard Hero" and "Drum Hero." The following January, its new owner plunked down for the titles "Guitar Villain" and "Drum Villain." Then, just this past February, the soon-to-be-merged megapublisher trademarked the title "DJ Hero."

Despite the lengthy paper trail, Activision has made no indication as to which Guitar Hero game would bring other instruments into the mix. Meanwhile, original Guitar Hero developer Harmonix has received critical accolades and millions of content-download dollars for its own platinum-selling rhythm game, Rock Band--which lets gamers play drums, bass, or guitar as well as sing.

This month, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick decided to remind the world that, yes, new Guitar Hero developers NeverSoft are working on expanding beyond the series' guitar and/or bass repertoire. Speaking to business magazine Conde Nast Portfolio, the executive said that "We'll include a lot of other instruments [and] vocals" in future installments in the franchise. He did not say whether or not the next such installments, Guitar Hero: Aerosmith or Guitar Hero IV, would include multiple instruments, and Activision reps had not responded for requests for comment as of press time.

Beside the promise of expanding Guitar Hero's band, Kotick also broke down some of the game's demographic information. "The age appeal is something we've never seen before: Seven-year-olds who have no idea who Aerosmith is are playing the band's music on Guitar Hero," he explained. "So are 45-year-olds who spent a good portion of their lives following the band around." The executive also said that an estimated 40 percent of Guitar Hero players are women.

Finally, the Conde Nast Portfolio piece gave a little bit of history about Kotick's entry into the game business: In 1990, he bought a 25 percent stake in then-ailing Activision with some $440,000 in borrowed funds. Later this year, Activision will merge with Blizzard Entertainment in a deal valued at nearly $19 billion to form a publisher with yearly revenues of $4 billion.

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