Activision 'reinventing' Guitar Hero

CEO Bobby Kotick confirms new studio working on prototypes, acknowledges misstep with the "passion project" DJ Hero.


Activision has started getting the band back together. In an interview with Forbes, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick confirmed that the publisher is using a new studio to reinvent the Guitar Hero franchise.

When Guitar Hero does return, expect it to look a bit different.
When Guitar Hero does return, expect it to look a bit different.

When asked how the publisher plans to spark innovation in the series, Kotick explained, "[It's] a very rigorous process, but we spend a lot of time talking to different customers in different customer ranges and different demographics, different audience interests, and that process takes a little bit of time. Then we also let the studio--there's a studio that's now assigned to this project--we let them explore technology pathways, and so they'll do a variety of different prototypes."

Some of the requests Activision's customers make may be easier to fulfill than others. Elsewhere in the interview, Kotick explained that the most frequently made request for the Guitar Hero franchise was to include the music of Led Zeppelin.

"But we couldn't get Led Zeppelin to consent to give us the rights," Kotick said. "And there were a lot of instances of that, a whole host of artists who just didn't want to give rights to Guitar Hero. And it was hard to get around that. And then there were other things...we put things out there that were not ready for primetime and that today actually would resonate very well with audiences."

One of the things Activision put out that Kotick acknowledged was a mistake was the "passion project" DJ Hero. He explained that the company had overestimated the number of people who would be interested in re-creating a DJ experience in the context of a game.

"[We] created this critically acclaimed, highly rated game," Kotick said, "and these are the hardest failures, when you put your heart and soul into it and you deliver an extraordinarily well-received game, and nobody shows up to buy it. So that's what happened with DJ Hero. At the same time, we were so excited about going down this new direction with DJ Hero. I think we abandoned a bit of the innovation that was required in the Guitar Hero franchise."

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Avatar image for harrykid1

You have heard of rocksmith right?

Avatar image for BelaidKL

Warriors Of Rock was a step in the right direction Setlist wise... add the insane/difficult tunes from that with classics e.g. how they added Hotel California and Sweet Home Alabama to GH:WT... and youve got yourself a good set of songs

Avatar image for nparks

Dear Led Zep, If you can work with Puff Daddy, then you've already sold out and abandoned your integrity as rock musicians. Just let them use your tunes in a game, already.

Avatar image for jsly268

@ShiningV67 Besides Harmonix already is attempting to utilize real guitar capability in their game rockband... Unfortunatey Activision is far from having any real innovation in the near future... especially if their not capable of dropping "series titles" in order to take a leap of faith and create a new series, rather than just milking a game soley on its name... Theres an entire project to be released in the next month by Ubisoft called "Rocksmith"( Oct. 18, def closer then the realease of next-gen consoles )... which already utilizes the ability to plug in any real guitar with extensive modes from teaching people the fundametals of playing guitar and various practices... all the way to allowing seasoned players to just have fun... and with you playing a real guitar... any song in the game will have tabs that are 100% accurate so no more scrolling through poor videos on youtube or reading incorrect tabliture... And believe me I loved GH2 and 3... but lets faith it when u start seeing taylor swift in a game series that prides itself on classic tracks or simply hardcore elements of rock... it's obvious they could give a crap about die-hard fans if they can make a quick buck

Avatar image for randomrings

interesting... should I be surprised?

Avatar image for KillerBill316

@Spahettificator I stand corrected.

Avatar image for gamerboy100

People, they NEVER said anything about the Guitar Hero series being cancelled. They said they were taking a break.

Avatar image for Cloud737

"Then we also let the studio explore technology pathways, and so they'll do a variety of different prototypes." Didn't Kotick say he wanted to take the fun out of making games? That he wanted to milk every little penny he can out of the games? Well congrats, Mr. Rotick (sic), you successfully did that! Now you get to collect the fruits of your intelligence! I just wish Rotick and Cracktivision could rot faster...

Avatar image for jcloverboy

Blame the Guitar Hero spinoffs for the fall of Guitar Hero, not DJ Hero. I can't imagine many (if any) people saying to themself..."DJ Hero, ugh this Guitar Hero thing is getting ridiculous" DJ Hero 1 and 2 were better than the last few Guitar Hero games.

Avatar image for chilly-chill

Add Bring me the horizon, actually even if they added my favorite bands I still wouldnt buy it. nm

Avatar image for DeadrisingX1

If they want to make this one a good one, they'd better add Apocalyptica and Dethklok.

Avatar image for warhawk-geeby

Problem is all the games are the same. It doesn't matter how you change what's going on in the background. You're button matching to a beat. End of.

Avatar image for Angel_Grigorov

I hope I don't have to buy a giant plastic platform with plastic audience in front of it. I mean every new guitar hero pushes us to spend money on more and more gigantic plastic gears to play the game.

Avatar image for sconradp

No Bobby!!! Thats a bad Bobby!!! (Said whilst spraying him with a hose) Stop humping that dead franchise! Bad Bobby!!!!

Avatar image for sconradp

No Bobby!!! Thats a bad Bobby!!! (Said whilst spraying him with a hose) Stopping humping that dead franchise! Bad Bobby!!!!

Avatar image for David_Kniffin

I prefer Rock Band myself, but I also enjoyed GH. Too bad DJ Hero didn't sell well, because I really liked it (even though I sucked at it); it had a lot of good music!

Avatar image for RaddaRaddaRadda

Tony Hawk... Guitar Hero... know what's next? COD.

Avatar image for PoindeJ

Just... let it go, Activision. Just let go.

Avatar image for bballabarry

wasn't it just a couple months ago they said they were canceling this series?

Avatar image for zellwood69

DJ hero was a bad idea and at least they know that. As far as GH i would like to see Activision make it great again. First GH 2,3,and 4/WT was good and second i knew alot of the guys that worked on those games and it sucked to see them let go when GH:WoR got sent to canada. So Activision bring those guys back and make a great game again.

Avatar image for jimmyzeke13

Kotick is unbelievable.

Avatar image for Au4Ob10

I absolutely loved Warriors of Rock. It had a great setlist and gameplay. I'm interested in how they'll innovate the gameplay.

Avatar image for DesertLynx83

I thought they were done with flooding us with music games...this sucks!

Avatar image for Too-DementeD

(tl;dr) Guitar Hero went downhill after GH: World Tour. GH3 was my favourite game from the GH franchise, maybe because it was the first GH I played, I dunno. It had a good 'setlist', you had to unlock the songs etc. Then Guitar Hero: World Tour brought the 'band' into it, with the mic and drums so you could play more than 2 player, which was fun. I remember playing it with a few mates. It also had a good setlist, more songs than GH3, the song maker and the create a rocker. Then GH5 & GH:WOR got released soon after, along with Band Hero, DJ Hero, the GH Spin-offs (e.g. Aerosmith ) and it was as if you were shoving guitar hero in everyone's face (i.e. ''Milking the franchise'' as some would say.) But going back into GH5/GH6, the setlists weren't great for both games, and there was seriously nothing different other than the songs between them and World Tour. That's the problem with Activision. When they've made an amazing blockbuster game, they start to dish out sequels and sequels and sequels, which look exactly the same as the original, until no-one wants to buy a game from that franchise anymore. Then Activision move onto the next thing. Let Guitar Hero rest in peace, or at the very least give it a few years so that you can improve on the franchise while it starts to get the 'fresh' feeling once again for consumers.

Avatar image for nemesis4x

Does Bobby Kottick want us to hate all activision games, it seems like he just likes releasing the same games??

Avatar image for xdude85

A real guitar is still more fun.

Avatar image for ps2fatboy

well im a fan of the guitar hero games ,i hope this new path they take, will bring out better games and some better tunes ,

Avatar image for chopsticksoup

You killed Guitar Hero the same way you killed Tony Hawk and Call of Duty: by putting out crap sequel year after year with no major innovations.

Avatar image for Spacerac

The music genre needs a hero! and that hero is none other than Parappa-Rapper!

Avatar image for Claverhouse

I only moved over to Rockband 3 just last month. Guitar Hero 2 for the XBOX was the first version of this I bought. Guitar Hero World Tour was where Activision totally made a mistake. That version was what could have slowed Rockband down. But like Guitar Hero 2 before it they did not support, and only wanted the new release and new money. I looked at later versions of the game and they did not interest me in the slightest. I am NOT coming back. You have had your chance and blew it. You didn't just make a mistake with DJ Hero, you made a mistake with Guitar Hero customers as well. So much that most of us became sickened and fed up of being your customer.

Avatar image for HaloPimp978

GH will still flop, they can reinvent all they want but the music genre is nothing but Just Dance and Dance Central, People just don't care about guitar games anymore.

Avatar image for pjordan0404

activision is evil they get on to something great and run it into the ground they are probably the reason whythe rhythm genre is dead cuz they released it to death then possibly in the future that could be the same for shooters where they will run cod into the ground

Avatar image for fleshandblood10

I love DJ hero, its is more diverse and a much better game style than guitar hero. The variety in songs is massive, the sample options in DJ hero 2 are fantastic and its a really easy game to use, or a really hard game to master. They shouldnt have given up on it!

Avatar image for Heshertonfist

" a very rigorous process, but we spend a lot of time talking to different customers in different customer ranges and different demographics, different audience interests" So...lowest common denominator? That's innovative, I mean pandering.

Avatar image for ferretlord2177

i was looking forward to true crime hong kong. it was finished right before it was cancelled. i wish there was at least some type of downloadable release. dumb move on activision's part. on topic problem with guitar hero sequels is not only that they're annual releases but most importantly that you can just download new songs through psn and live making guitar hero sequels, at this point, obselete. why pay 60$ for the newest annual release when you can just download the songs you want for your current copy of guitar here/rockband for much less. im assuming thats how it works at least, i have not played guitar hero since GH3.

Avatar image for otanikun

"He explained that the company had overestimated the number of people who would be interested in re-creating a DJ experience in the context of a game." Um...last I checked when kids grew up they wanted to be rock stars and that meant playing guitar in a rock band, not be a DJ in a poorly lit environment. They can say all they want, Guitar Hero is a dead franchise, after releasing so many games after another it was kinda like flogging a dead horse, it didn't make any sense. All we can hope is that they've learned from their mistakes, but then again your talking about Activision here.

Avatar image for neumanbr

lmao @waldo6 comment. You are absolutely right, pal! xD

Avatar image for dlCHIEF58

"He explained that the company had overestimated the number of people who would be interested in re-creating a DJ experience in the context of a game." I thought this from the moment they announced DJ Hero. It might have been a good game, but if not enough people are interested in it then it doesn't matter. Especially when you need expensive peripherals to play it and they only work with that game.

Avatar image for g1rldraco7

Hopefully they can make it different and better to run against Rock Band.

Avatar image for ChemicalsBoy

Hey Bob, just because no one wants to play the umpteenth mix tape that skips when you don't press the right plastic button you've released this year doesn't mean it's the Zep's fault.

Avatar image for waldo6

Buy the elevator music pack for 29.99 only* *elevator cabin sold separately

Avatar image for JinxedJester

lets be honest guitar hero being good in the first place had nothing to do with activision it was harmonix same reason rock band is better than activisions turd versions is it's harmonix now harmonix is doing dance games... the music genre is never gonna be mainstream again, it's niche... a fad blaming guitar hero's failures on dj hero is a joke, dj hero was a cool niche product and now is getting no more support, i will not support activision at all in their crass cash grabs.

Avatar image for MetalMajorWolf

This is the Funniest joke of the day.

Avatar image for The_Prisoner

This will never work. What is a new studio going to do? That's what happened with GH3 when HMX made Rock Band. Even if they made a deal with Zepplin (highly unlikely) or another major group, it will still be the same. Maybe making it less cartoony would help, but I doubt it.

Avatar image for toddx77

Im surprised Activision isn't just releasing the first GH as an HD remix and saying "re live the game that started the legend now in HD!!!!!!! $59.99 plus requires new guitars and new song packs every month for $15." lol

Avatar image for cf_Kage

Everyone, just don't buy this one. Then he may actually get the idea

Avatar image for Frame_Dragger

@XxSUPERSNAKExX: They're making more GH, obviously they have not learned.

Avatar image for Frame_Dragger

Oh god, please don't let this become yet another fad.... PLEASE let consumers have learned their lesson.... please.... @nousername66: Damned straight.

Avatar image for shadowkiller11

Rock Band has already raised the bar multiple times in which Guitar Hero had to play catch up. That and the fact that Guitar Hero became a milked up oversaturated franchise with alterations instead of improvements. While your at it do it with Call Of Duty and actually produce something more than generic run of the mill shooter... then I'll buy it

Avatar image for nousername66

GH: Call of Duty Soundtrack FTW

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