Neversoft rocking Guitar Hero

Tony Hawk developer's site proclaims it is hiring staffers for the best-selling rhythm series. RedOctane confirms studio's involvement.

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When Activision bought RedOctane last year, it was the stuff of game-industry fairy tales. The country's number two publisher shelled out nearly $100 million to acquire the independent publisher after Guitar Hero, its upstart rhythm game, went from the depths of Kentia Hall to the top of the game charts.

For those about to rock, we salute you!
For those about to rock, we salute you!

As of December 2006, the PS2-exclusive Guitar Hero and Guitar Hero II had sold a combined 2.33 million units. The franchise will expand its following when it arrives on the Xbox 360 in March. There will also be the inevitable sequels, perhaps including a rumored '80s heavy-metal edition mentioned in next month's Electronic Gaming Monthly. Activision also recently patented the titles "Guitar Villain" and "Drum Villain," hinting at possible spin-offs.

Guitar Hero's success has also boosted the fortunes of its developer, Harmonix Music Systems. After earning much acclaim but little coin for Frequency (2001) and Amplitude (2003), the company finally had a monster hit that outshone even its biggest previous success, the Karaoke Revolution series. Last September, Harmonix was bought by MTV for a staggering $175 million in cash.

With Harmonix off the stage, it was unclear which studio would help RedOctane with Guitar Hero development duties. Now, that question appears to be answered. This week, the Neversoft Web site (pictured) began running ads that it was hiring developers for the Guitar Hero series, although no specific positions were mentioned. Activision declined to comment further on Neversoft's work on the Guitar Hero series. However, RedOctane reps confirmed the shop's involvement to GameSpot this afternoon--but would not say more as of press time.

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