For months, rumours have been circulating that the rhythm games of five years ago are set to make a comeback in 2015. Last month, Harmonix officially announced Rock Band 4 — and now, Activision have followed suit with the unveiling of Guitar Hero Live.
We haven’t seen a new Guitar Hero title since 2011, and this new installment looks set to change up the formula somewhat. Gone are the wacky, stylized characters; in their place, there’s video footage of the band that you’re performing axe duties for. The crowd gamers are playing in front of is similarly lifelike — and they will have plenty of time to inspect them, given that it seems the game is played in first person perspective.
The footage shown in the trailer is still under development, but given that the game is set to release in a matter of months, most expect that the finished product will be very similar conceptually. There’s a certain sense of the ’90s FMV game at play, but it could well turn out to be a novel way of presenting the series’ much-loved gameplay.
What we’ve seen prompts a lot of questions. Will more than one ‘band’ be available to play alongside? Can the retail release of Guitar Hero Live really match the sort of visual fidelity we saw in this brief trailer? Could we see real musicians make digitized cameos in the game? Details are short at present, but there’s bound to be more information available when E3 rolls around in June.
While the game’s title suggests that ‘Live’ mode will be a major focus, it’s only half of what’s on show in the trailer. ‘TV’ mode might actually play host to the bulk of the game’s content, as it overlays familiar bars and notes over the official music videos of the songs being played.
‘Live’ mode would seem to require a lot of work to realize the amount of tracks that fans will be expecting, but ‘TV’ mode makes it very simple. The charting is the only work that really needs to be done, and record labels will likely be keen to have access to another platform on which to air videos from their most popular artists.
All in all, this reveal trailer seems to demonstrate a brave step into the future for Guitar Hero. Many would agree that the reason audiences tired of Guitar Hero and Rock Band was that the two series merged into one amidst a rash of releases. Guitar Hero Live certainly aims to distinguish itself from any competition — but we’ll have to see more before the rhythm game renaissance can be confirmed.
Guitar Hero Live is expected to launch in late 2015. Platforms have not yet been announced.