After dominating the charts for years it was sad to see music based games go on hiatus for so long and one can't wonder if either Rock Band or Guitar Hero would have continued to do well without the competition. Anyway, here we are several years down the track and both franchises are about to be revitalized with all-new versions.
Guitar Hero Live is being developed by FreeStyleGames a company new to the franchise after Harmonix and Neversoft developed the majority of the previous Guitar Hero games. But FreeStyleGames isn't a bad option as the company did develop the similarly themed DJ Hero and DJ Hero 2 for Activision.
In case you have been living under a rock the Guitar Hero games see you simulating a guitar player in a band by using a guitar peripheral and hitting the right notes as they appear on screen. Given a wide range of difficulty levels the game can go from very simple for the youngest of gamers to a difficulty level that would give expert players difficulty.
Guitar Hero Live is a franchise reboot.
The game essentially gives you two ways to play - either GH Live, or GHTV. Focusing on GH Live this is the main game mode where you play the tracks off disc and take center stage to play in front of a live audience. That's right, as you can see from the surrounding screenshots you play in front of a real audience who will react to your performance - positive or negative.
Of course the track list is very important to any music game and FreeStyle Games and Acivision look like they have spared no expense to build a very strong 84-track list for this game. So here it is...
A Day to Remember - "Right Back at It Again"
Alice in Chains - "Stone"
alt-J - "Left Hand Free"
Alter Bridge - "Cry of Achilles"
American Authors - "Best Day of My Life"
Angus & Julia Stone - "A Heartbreak"
Anthrax - "Got the Time"
Architects - "Gravedigger"
Asking Alexandria - "The Final Episode"
Band of Skulls - "Asleep at the Wheel"
Beartooth - "I Have a Problem"
Biffy Clyro - "Sounds Like Balloons"
Black Veil Brides - "In the End"
Blitz Kids - "Sometimes"
Bob Dylan - "Thunder on the Mountain"
Bring Me the Horizon - "Shadow Moses"
Broken Bells - "Leave It Alone"
Bruno Mars - "The Lazy Song"
Bullet for My Valentine - "Temper Temper"
Calvin Harris - "Feel So Close"
Carrie Underwood - "Before He Cheats"
Catfish and the Bottlemen - "Kathleen"
Chevelle - "The Clincher"
Courtney Barnett - "Pedestrian at Best"
Cypress Hill feat. Tom Morello - "Rise Up"
Deap Vally - "Lies"
Deftones - "Diamond Eyes"
Disturbed - "Down with the Sickness"
Dum Dum Girls - "Rimbaud Eyes"
Ed Sheeran - "Sing"
Fall Out Boy - "My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Light Em Up)"
Foster the People - "Coming of Age"
Gary Clark, Jr. - "Don't Owe You a Thang"
Green Day - "American Idiot"
Green Day - "Nuclear Family"
Halestorm - "Love Bites (So Do I)"
Iggy Pop - "Lust for Life"
Jake Bugg - "What Doesn't Kill You"
Jet - "Are You Gonna Be My Girl"
Judas Priest - "Breaking the Law"
Killswitch Engage - "In Due Time"
Kongos - "Come with Me Now"
Korn - "Freak on a Leash"
Marilyn Manson - "Disposable Teens"
Marmozets - "Move Shake Hide"
Mastodon - "High Road"
My Chemical Romance - "Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)"
Neon Trees - "Everybody Talks"
New Politics - "Harlem"
Of Mice & Men - "Bones Exposed"
OneRepublic - "Counting Stars"
Pantera - "Cowboys from Hell"
Paramore - "Now"
Pearl Jam - "Mind Your Manners"
Pierce the Veil feat. Kellin Quinn - "King for a Day"
Queen - "Tie Your Mother Down"
Rage Against the Machine - "Bulls on Parade"
Rage Against the Machine - "Guerrilla Radio"
Red Hot Chili Peppers - "Higher Ground"
Rise Against - "Tragedy + Time"
Royal Blood - "Little Monster"
Skrillex - "Bangarang"
Sleigh Bells - "Bitter Rivals"
Soundgarden - "Been Away Too Long"
System of a Down - "Chop Suey!"
Tenacious D - "Tribute"
The Avett Brothers - "Another is Waiting"
The Black Keys - "Gold on the Ceiling"
The Killers - "When You Were Young"
The Lumineers - "Ho Hey"
The Mowgli's - "San Francisco"
The Pretty Reckless - "Going to Hell"
The Rolling Stones - "Paint It Black"
The Strokes - "Under Cover of Darkness"
The Vines - "Metal Zone"
The War on Drugs - "Under the Pressure"
Trivium - "Strife"
TV on the Radio - "Lazerray"
Vista Chino - "Sweet Remain"
Weezer - "Buddy Holly"
White Zombie - "Thunder Kiss '65"
Wolf Alice - "Moaning Lisa Smile"
Wolfmother - "Sundial"
ZZ Top - "I Gotsta Get Paid"
The game has hundreds of songs in GHTV.
The second main way to play this game is GHTV (Guitar Hero TV) which is essentially a playable music video network which provides a continual broadcast of hundreds of music videos across several different genres and which will have new music continually added to the service. As with most music streaming services you'll be able to jump into a channel and get playing or, if you don't like the song simply change the channel. GHTV also allows you to check out global leaderboards or check out your friends playing.
Sadly there is no backwards compatability with either the old Guitar Hero peripherals, or the discs/songs. Ultimatley this makes sense on both counts as the new controller (as seen in the top image) has six buttons (you use three fingers, but there are now top and bottom buttons in a 2 x 3 layout) while the songs now have live concert footage backing them up so using older discs won't have the correct footage, nor have the correct buttoning for the game.
Your bandmates will let you know how well you're performing.
One of the big selling points of this title is the ability to play the game to live video footage, and it certainly looks impressive with large stadiums filled with people that will react according to your performance. It certainly adds a level of authenticity to the experience, but we have to wonder how many variations of crowds will be included in the game, and how many reactions they will have. Will it become repetitive? Time will tell, but at least on a technical level this looks very polished indeed.
Guitar Hero Live certainly looks like an exciting release which promises to usher in a new era of video game musical releases. The use of real-life video footage should be an interesting touch and give you a bit more of sense of realism although we can't help wondering if it may become a bit repetitive after a few plays. Still this looks like a release worth keeping your eye out for in late 2015.
Below is the first trailer for the game which details what to expect from the game.