Fans of Activision’s Guitar Hero series may have something to look forward to if Bobby Kotick has any say in the matter, as a reboot could well be on its way.
In a leaked internal meeting, Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotik named-dropped the dormant Guitar Hero franchise when discussing the future of the company under Microsoft’s umbrella. Guitar Hero was brought up once the meeting turned to the future possibilities for evolving gaming, specifically referencing Elon Musk’s “Neuralink” and Microsoft’s internal research team.
Is a new Guitar Hero game coming out?
A new Guitar Hero game may indeed be coming out following Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision-Blizzard, though it may yet be some time before fans are able to play it.
Kotick apparently offered the that games may be played not just with traditional controllers but also with Musk’s Neuralink technology, as well as the possibility of an earpiece, headset, or other sensor that the Microsoft Research team could help develop.
This led to a direct reference to Guitar Hero, which Kotick mentioned as something Activision could put newly-gained resources towards once it has access to Microsoft’s bountiful funding.
Reboot of successful Guitar Hero series makes sense
Long before this news of a potential reboot, Guitar Hero was first released on the PlayStation 2 in November 2005, sold as a pack including a plastic guitar controller. Seeing immediate success, it led Activision to continue the development of the franchise and release numerous sequels that spread to all major consoles of the day, ranging from the Nintendo DS to the Xbox 360. Guitar Hero 2 became the sixth best selling game of 2006, continuing the success and cultural influence of the rhythm game.
With Guitar Hero’s runaway success came a more advanced version of the concept in the form of Rock Band. Developed by Harmonix, who originally worked on Guitar Hero, Rock Band released in November 2007. Rock Band added the ability to play as an actual band, having a guitar, bass, drum and vocal track for up to four players to perform simultaneously. This created a song track arms-race between the two IPs, with both releasing a glut of song packs and updates for respective titles. Guitar Hero would eventually fizzle out, necessitating the current need for a strong reboot.
Guitar Hero Live fails to take off
In 2015 Activision released Guitar Hero Live as an attempt to refresh the IP, but it was largely a failure. Using an updated controller closer to a real guitar, it was hoped Guitar Hero Live would be the new break the series needed. Even though it was praised critically, it didn’t sell as well as expected and led to more dormant years for the franchise.
Activision ran with the popularity of rhythm games, developing the Band Hero and DJ Hero lines of games. Each title came with their own peripherals, allowing the player to live out their dreams of being in a band or a successful DJ.
Bobby Kotick suggesting that Guitar Hero could be brought back successfully after Microsoft’s acquisition is an exciting prospect for series fans. Without the need for multiple bulky plastic peripherals, modern gamers may be more likely to want to pick up a new band-based rhythm game based on current technologies.