Associate producer Chance Copeland talks about the two new platforms recently added to RedOctane and Activision's setlist for GHIII.
Belying its humble roots as a Kentia Hall diamond at the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo, the Guitar Hero franchise has grown to become a pop-cultural juggernaut. That's in part due to the ever-growing reach of the game, which expanded onto the Xbox 360 with Guitar Hero II. For the third iteration in the series, RedOctane and Activision have already planned on doubling the number of platforms the series will appear on, with versions for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, and Wii having already been announced. (A Nintendo DS Guitar Hero game is also planned.)
Today, Aspyr Media announced a partnership with Activision and RedOctane to bring Guitar Hero III to two more platforms: the PC and Mac. While Tony Hawk studio Neversoft handles the console versions of Guitar Hero III, Aspyr will be independently developing and producing the two new editions of the game. However, the two new platforms will feature an experience similar to that described in GameSpot's coverage of the console versions, including more than 70 songs in its setlist as well as online multiplayer modes. Rated T for Teen, the PC and Mac versions of Guitar Hero III will be available this fall.
We had a chance to speak with Chance Copeland, associate producer for Aspyr Media, at this year's Austin Game Developers Conference to get more details on Guitar Hero III for the PC and Mac.
GameSpot: Tell us why Aspyr decided to make PC and Mac ports of Guitar Hero III. After all, isn't this the kind of game that's best played in the living room?
Chance Copeland: Currently, the music-game genre has very little representation on the PC and Mac platforms, and we think it's past time someone blew that wide open with a powerful franchise like Guitar Hero. Another concept we're trying to transmit to gamers is the idea of "Guitar Hero on the go." Take your laptop with you in the car or on an airplane, put on your headphones, and rock all you want using one of our keyboard configurations for the game. Consoles just aren't travel-friendly the way a good laptop is.
And I'd also like to point out that more and more people are integrating PCs into their primary entertainment system, so playing Guitar Hero III PC in your living room isn't hard to imagine.
GS: Give us an overview of what we can expect from Guitar Hero III for the PC and Mac.
CC: We'll assume that the majority of your PC gaming readers are familiar with the Guitar Hero franchise. With Guitar Hero III, the idea was to make incremental improvements that would make the gameplay better and provide an experience that gives the closest feel to playing a real guitar, without actually playing a real guitar, ever. Hammer-on and pull-off functionality has been improved. The timing window for hitting notes has also been increased slightly so there are fewer clinks when notes are missed by the smallest fractions of a second.
Of course, the one thing most people will notice is that the game looks incredible. The new engine created by Neversoft makes everything pop with tremendous detail, and this time around you'll notice that the drummer, bassist, and singer's lip-synching all match the song that is being performed. The new venues are stunning, crazy to watch, and all react uniquely and in real time to the song that is being performed.
And of course we have to talk about the music. Guitar Hero III's setlist features more master tracks than the previous iterations--more than 70 percent, in fact. These master tracks make a huge difference, and gamers will notice right off the bat when they are playing along with Metallica, the Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam, or any of the other legendary acts. The songs are a great sample of almost every era of rock and are a fantastic mix of genres.
Finally, let's not forget online play, the new boss battles, and guitar battle mode. There will be so much rocking to do, gamers won't know what to do with themselves.
GS: Will the two new versions have their own unique guitar model?
CC: The PC version of Guitar Hero III will ship with a USB Guitar Hero guitar controller. We'll be able to talk more about the exact model soon.
GS: Will the game's content be essentially identical to that of the console versions? All the songs intact, for instance? Assuming Guitar Hero III for the Xbox 360 is later supplemented with downloadable songs via Xbox Live Marketplace, how will the PC/Mac versions "keep up" with content updates?
CC: We're certainly dedicated to making sure PC/Mac gamers get just as much content as the console crowd. From launch, the songs available will be identical. As for matching Xbox Live's extended content, we're exploring a few different delivery methods to access downloadable tracks for our PC/Mac guitar heroes and keep them rocking in step with console players. Stay tuned for more on that.
GS: Is there any chance of exclusive content for the PC and Mac versions, such as new or different songs?
CC: That's the first thing we started talking about internally when we got brought into the Guitar Hero family. But for now, we are only focused on delivering the absolute best PC/Mac version of Guitar Hero III possible. Including exclusive content in our version is still a very exciting idea, and something we hope to look at more once we get the game on shelves.
GS: How, if at all, will players be able to use a traditional Guitar Hero controller? For instance, will they be able to use the Xbox 360 guitar controller with a USB adapter? Are any other considerations for control schemes being made for the PC and Mac? How will people who don't own a guitar controller play the game...with their keyboard and mouse, perhaps?
CC: A USB Guitar Hero guitar controller will be included with the game, and the title will work with any USB Guitar Hero guitar controller.
Since this is a PC title, we have of course created some fun and creative keyboard and keyboard/mouse configurations. We'll have a keyboard/mouse configuration and a keyboard-only configuration as presets, but players will also have the options of binding their own keys for gameplay.
Having so much flexibility with the keyboard and keyboard/mouse lets gamers play however they would like. It also allows players to take Guitar Hero III "to go" on their laptops and play in cars, on planes, at that boring relative's house during the holidays, or wherever. In addition, it makes two-player gaming on the same PC possible if there is only one guitar controller available.
GS: Could you tell us about what plans you have for the game's multiplayer? Will it support local network play? Will the game use a third-party application for online play, or possibly Microsoft's Live Anywhere technology?
CC: For online play, we are using Demonware's networking technology. Since multiplayer features two players competing on the same screen, we didn't think a local network play option would be essential.
GS: One of the most well-known and popular advantages of the PC and Mac as game platforms is how malleable the games end up, given that enthusiastic fans create modifications and custom content to extend the life of their favorite games. Are there any plans to build in any tools to let players get creative with the PC or Mac version? Any concerns that enthusiasts might get a little too creative with the game's content, such as using the game to distribute unlicensed songs online, or posting gameplay videos with unlicensed songs to the Internet?
CC: As gamers ourselves, and a company that has roots in the Mac and PC market, we appreciate the incredible skill and creativity that gamers display when digging around inside certain titles. But right now, our only focus is porting Guitar Hero III to the PC and Mac and making sure that both meet the standards of high quality set by the franchise. We are not building any tools into the game that will allow users to mod or create tracks, and we definitely do not support any altering of the game or the songs contained within.
Ooooh I get the choice of Guitar Hero for Wii or Mac hooray! I'll probably go Wii, from what some of you are saying ports don't always go brilliantly.
Nice! Can't wait for this, I see guitar hero in the stores all the time, and its the one game on the consoles that I have been envious about, as there is nothing but a stupid frets on fire program, with not usb controller (and that program is hard as hell!@) I am glad this is coming to pc. I haven't owned a console box since ps1, and sold that in 00'. I know the pc version will have so many more songs modded in. Its inevitable!
This is super cool news....I just so want this now....People hopefully will be able to mod this to death....I might be able to play some pink floyd and some blues and other stuff...something that is not offered now in the game or is limited to what is on the cd of the game...i can't play really what i want because i am told to play what i am sold but now that may change altogether!!!! I have guitar hero 1 but i want more!!!! great news indeed!..
It may sound stupid, but people were already making homebrew games to work with the 360 Guitar Hero II controller for the PC, so this isn't so weird. Some people don't have a console, and this opens the way for modding. I say it's a good idea. Monitors are larger, and if people don't mind, let em. As far as a mobile version or a DS/PSP version is concerned. Eh, if DJ Max Portable, a rhythm game that just uses buttons for the PSP in Korea can sell, why not. If it'll make money they should do it. People would buy it. >_>
There's a mobile phone version of guitar hero. It's called Guitar Legends. It's not really licensed by Red Octane or Neversoft, but it's just like GH in every way except some new songs and none of the original characters.
The PC and MAC versions sound fine, but I still don't get the point of a DS one. It seems they're just cashing in on the success of the franchise with that.. And I've heard rumors they're bringing it to mobile phones too!!
''@tidusjeff: The Sims 2 wasn't ported over well at all? I know Deus Ex was.'' Its not about porting, it's about how it was recived. Sure the sims 2 sold well on macintosh and deus ex as well, however deus ex was more memorable to others in the macintosh gaming crowd.
This is great news not simply because it's been a long time coming but now we'll see a real surge of user-made custom tracks that will be EASY to implement.
@tidusjeff: The Sims 2 wasn't ported over well at all? I know Deus Ex was. I'm basing my knowledge of Aspyr off of Deus Ex's port mainly, which is probably jumping the gun with my opinion. I was basing my opinion off of how the games were on the PC mostly. So how is The Sims 2 on the Mac anyway?
It would be awesome if they added some form of custom-tracks option for the PC version, but I wouldn't expect it right-out-of-the-bat. Maybe the modding community can get a hold if it, if there is one.
For those people that are wondering how good Aspyr are at porting games, they happen to be a mixed bag. Some happen to be good Deus Ex, others are done terribly like Civ 4.
''Honestly, they've been good at porting; it's all based upon how good the source material is really. Ask the people who game on a Mac, and they'll tell you how Aspyr is (they've brought over The Sims 2 and Deus Ex for example).'' And you know what their reactions would be towards the release of quake wars. If you went to a website like insidemacgames or macrumors they would praise Aspyr more for Deus Ex then The Sims 2.
For those who care, Aspyr's been so-so in regards to their PC releases. Their ports from consoles have been average; Tony Hawk 4 has been one of their best console ports (GS gave it a 8.7). Honestly, they've been good at porting; it's all based upon how good the source material is really. Ask the people who game on a Mac, and they'll tell you how Aspyr is (they've brought over The Sims 2 and Deus Ex for example).
Hmmm...a PC and Mac version? Sounds quite interesting. Actually, to use finaleve's point about a flight stick, isn't that very similar to just another peripheral for another game? I will agree that a local version of multi-player seems like it could get a bit tough depending upon the size of one's monitor. And how about those possible mods and/or hacks? That'll be interesting. :)
Meh. I can see downloadable content for this, which I'm glad, but Guitar Hero on the PC/Mac sounds...retarded. I mean, I could see some sort of flight simulator or something, but playing the guitar while looking at your PC screen, and trying to do multiplayer? Not much of a good idea.
WTF? PC games should stick too the Strategie games because the people on these boards think that consoles cant have them so I don't think they should have Guitar Hero. Nintendo DS Guitar Hero..WTF?
I fell that a PC version was only inevitable, since Guitar Hero has major rivalry now, things can only get better by putting it on more systems, like the wii, there is no Rock Band for the Wii, people will get Guitar Hero.
awesome idea, i think this game deserves to be on any platform they can get it on. i dont have a ps2 or a x360 so im completely stuck out until this game is released. i think its a very good idea to do this, and ive always wanted this to happen. now basically if you want the game, you dont have to wait for anyone to bring their ps2 or 360 over (and in the future if this game is released after the console versions, ps3 or wii). :D
Why doesn't anyone sound psyched about this? I have a PS2 and I have been worrying that i won't get the downloadable content and now i dont have to worry at all. This company can't really screw it up that bad can they? I mean, the game would have already been made and all they need to do is port it (though I have seen some bad ports before like Resident Evil 4 from GC to PS2). I seriously hope this works out but now every one is making me worried. Anyone have good info on Aspyr?
Whats the point of this? Besides if its done by aspyr we can expect the worst. Remember bad day la and the pc version of american wasteland? Aspyr did those ones...
This should be rather interesting upon its release. As was already stated on the interview, retail music games for PCs/Macs (read: not StepMania, Frets on Fire, etc.) hardly ever do well. The last major music game I can think of that came out for the PC was a DDR game and, quite frankly, you don't ever hear anybody talk about that. So hopefully Aspyr will make a game which actually gives people a reason to play it on the PC and not think that they could play it elsewhere. However, I'm also fairly certain this is being done because of those successful freeware Guitar Hero clones. That's a market which has been left untapped up until now, so it's wise to at least attempt to crack it and give people an "authentic" experience versus a fake one which doesn't give you the official songs unless you go through some hoops. Now whether or not it'll also succeed on that front is another matter, but until the game's release, I'll remain curious about the success of this particular version of Guitar Hero III.
I'll be picking this up for my PC the second the modding community comes up with some easy tools to edit-in your own songs.
DonutTrooper, haha, I can't believe I didn't think of that before. That's an awesome idea, and yet again, another reason I would prefer the PC version.
Wow...it really is a milking, but with the Mac version I can bring it to school. And I know I'm not the only one with that in mind.
I don't get why people are acting so negatively. I actually would prefer this version over the others. I mean, if they sell a version without the guitar for like $40-$50, I'd totally buy it because I already have an Xbox 360 guitar and I just got a new laptop with a GeForce 8600 GT. Right there I just saved myself like $50. Also, I'm sure some guys will find out how to get extra songs on there so they'll be a bunch of songs you can get only on the PC. Seems like a no-brainer for me.
you can really tell theyre milking this guitar hero cashcow for all its worth. Im pretty sure theres a ds version in the works, and hell, why not a psp version. wanna make one for my n64 too?
hmmmm i was waiting for this now all that needs to happpen is someone needs to make a stepmania for GH then i will never have to buy another GH game
u dont play on the keyboard nimwit the game coimes with a guitar like controller I just hope if u hav it for the 360 already u dont need to buy a new one for the pc since the whole games 4 windows and the usb outlet
I'm as much of a PC gamer as the next guy but, Guitar Hero really is meant to be a console game and I just don't see it working on the PC, or the MAC for that matter.
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