Don't get your hopes up, folks: Guitar Hero is well and truly dead. In a recent interview with CNBC however, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick wasn't entirely damning to the franchise. When asked about the reasons for Guitar Hero's sudden death, Kotick answered: "If something's not working, we'll take it off the table... Maybe reinvent it in the future."
I'll reiterate: Guitar Hero is dead, buried, and certainly not seeing a release in 2011/2012. With 7 Studios gone, and Vicarious Visions hit by severe layoffs, there is no way we'll be seeing a new rhythm-based music game from Activision any time in the near future. This latest quote from Kotick does go some way to reassure fans of the rhythm genre, however; although some will simply see 2005-2011 as 'that time when Music games were a big thing', others of us will see it as something altogether special -- something that no other medium could replicate.
During the interview, it was also interesting to see Kotick make reference to Rock Band, the Harmonix-developed rhythm game. Although he did state that he thought last year's Rock Band 3 was "a great title", he was adamant that the genre wasn't one that was getting consumers excited anymore.
I'll admit, I haven't bought a Guitar Hero game since Guitar Hero III. While I'm obviously saddened by the fact that a lot of people lost their jobs and livelihoods in the last week, the death of Guitar Hero as an entity means little to me -- I've felt a disconnect from the brand since World Tour, and even the Rock Band series has failed to keep me hooked (I've played and loved Rock Band 3, but it's expensive to buy every peripheral!)
Although I'm sure there are a few readers who don't like the way that Bobby Kotick runs his company, and even more that don't like the way he treats its staff, it was pleasing to see him defend the state of video games during the interview. At one point, the reporter asked:
"What gets consumers excited these days? When you look at the video game industry, it seems to be very violent games; I know that your last version of 'Guitar Hero' was called 'Warriors of Rock' -- 'Warriors' struck me as an interesting term to use -- is it possible that music games are having a harder time competing when other games are so much more violent?"
Kotick (with a look of stifled disgust on his face) replied:
"I don't think there's any connection between the success of 'Call of Duty', as an example, and the lack of success for the music genre. I think that if you look at our announcement on Friday, at Toyfair [regarding the new Spyro title], it's a brand new universe that has very broad appeal, and I still think there's a tremendous opportunity for big-audience type games, that have really compelling, fun characters that are family-oriented entertainment."
Whatever you might think of Bobby Kotick, at least he didn't just say "Well, violence sells, you know?"
So, if the rhythm-game genre does see a resurgence in a few years, how would it be "reinvented"? What would it take to make you interested once again? Let us know in the comments below.