Guitar Hero franchise not over

Activision confirms future plans to return to once-mighty rhythm-game franchise, status of possible 2012 game in question.


Activision's Guitar Hero franchise has been down for several years, and it appeared earlier in February as if the publisher had at last counted it out. As part of an across-the-board culling that also impacted the Tony Hawk and True Crime franchises, Activision officially closed its Guitar Hero business unit, canceling the franchise's 2011 installment and leaving analysts speculating as to whether the series would ever rock again.

Reunion tours are a well-established rock-and-roll tradition.
Reunion tours are a well-established rock-and-roll tradition.

In an interview with today, Activision VP of developer relations and acquisitions Dan Winters clarified his company's current stance on the Guitar Hero franchise, saying that the publisher isn't counting out a reunion tour.

"Actually, just to clarify, we're just putting Guitar Hero on hiatus; we're not ending it," Winters said. "We're releasing products out of the vault. We'll continue to sustain the channel; the brand won't go away. We're just not making a new one for next year; that's all."

Activision has previously stated that it does not intend to release a new installment in the Guitar Hero franchise in 2011, and it was not immediately clear whether Winters' statement also ruled out a new installment in 2012. Activision had not responded to a request for comment as of press time.

The publisher's current strategy for the Guitar Hero franchise is a dramatic departure from its late 2000s heyday. Beyond its core offering, Activision began releasing a number of spin-off installments in the series, including band-centric efforts dedicated to Aerosmith and Metallica, family-friendly titles like Band Hero, pop-focused fare like Smash Hits, and portable wares like Guitar Hero on Tour.

The expansion was largely fueled by the phenomenal success of Guitar Hero III, which was released in 2007. In addition to single-handedly earning more than $1 billion worldwide, Guitar Hero III has been recognized by The NPD Group as the best-selling title in the US by revenue.

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