Guitar Hero is coming back this year, Activision has confirmed.
The publisher has officially announced the long-rumoured return for the rock series for PS4, Xbox One, PS3, 360 and Wii U this autumn.
Under the name Guitar Hero Live, the title is being created by Freestyle Games, the same studio behind the DJ Hero series. This new entry in the series will set consumers back 89.99.
There have been a number of changes to the Guitar Hero formula. For starters, the title will have a first-person perspective, with the computer animated crowd and characters of previous titles being replaced with live-action sequences. Gamers will be on stage with one of several bands of real people. Both the group, and the crowd, will react to how the player performs.
For each song, the camera begins backstage, showing players their nervous band mates prior to going on stage. Freestyle claims it is trying to induce stage fright in gamers.
In addition, the guitar controller has been changed. Gone are the four coloured inputs from the classic titles, replaced with two rows of three buttons – one set black; the other white. As such, guitar peripherals from the previous games will not be compatible with this entry.
Activision would not confirm when asked if drums and microphones would also be made available for the new title.
Also new is a mode called Guitar Hero TV (GHTV). This is a series of themed music video channels that will be on air 24/7, and gamers can play along with these videos. Freestyle and Activision will be updating this section of new content regularly.
Furthermore there will be a mobile version of the game, with Activision promising more details at this coming E3.
"It was that we have to come up with a really compelling new experience," project director John Napier tells MCV.
"If we were to bring the game back much as it was before then perhaps then that wasn’t going to be as much of a generational leap and it wouldn’t be enough of a reason to fall in love with the game again. So we wanted to make sure we had enough new things, new experiences to enable us to do that. We’ve made enough of a leap, and it’s time for the players to come back.
"With Live, we turn the camera live and put you on the stage as a real-life rockstar guitarist. We’ve cast real musicians to be your band mates, we have real people forming your crowds. When you are looking out at your crowd and you’re playing well, they’re there cheering at you and giving you that great reaction and loving the song and your performance. But if you’re not doing well, they’ll start to boo and hiss at you, and start to throw things at you and your bandmates are going to look like ‘what the hell are you doing?’ That has been great fun.
He continues: "Then there’s the new guitar controller. The biggest change is the new button configuration for the left hand. We have a row of three buttons on the top, and a row of three buttons along the bottom. The idea is that you are able to form different chord shapes with your left hand, such as barre chords, split chords and so many different combinations and permutations that you can play. The idea really being that your right hand hasn’t changed a great deal but that worked well the first time with your strum bar and whammy bar. Now your left hand is making different chord shapes and it’s an experience very close to being a real musician.
"And the third part is GHTV, a 24/7 playable music network. That’s something that hopefully will be a wonderful way for people to discover new music with un-ending stream of new music videos that is going to come. There are going to be different channels there, so you’ll be playing Channel One and loving that, or switch over to a different channel if the song doesn’t appeal to you."
You can read more about Guitar Hero Live in our interview with developer Freestyle in this week’s issue of MCV.
Below is a reveal trailer: