Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Neversoft to Develop Guitar Hero

From Gamespot:
As of December 2006, the PS2-exclusive Guitar Hero and Guitar Hero II had sold a combined 2.33 million units. The franchise will expand its following when it arrives on the Xbox 360 in March... Activision also recently patented the titles "Guitar Villain" and "Drum Villain," hinting at possible spin-offs.

Guitar Hero's success has also boosted the fortunes of its developer, Harmonix Music Systems. After earning much acclaim but little coin for Frequency (2001) and Amplitude (2003), the company finally had a monster hit that outshone even its biggest previous success, the Karaoke Revolution series. Last September, Harmonix was bought by MTV for a staggering $175 million in cash.

With Harmonix off the stage, it was unclear which studio would help RedOctane with Guitar Hero development duties. Now, that question appears to be answered. This week, the Neversoft web site began running ads that it was hiring developers for the Guitar Hero series, although no specific positions were mentioned. Activision declined to comment further on Neversoft's work on the Guitar Hero series. However, RedOctane reps confirmed the shop's involvement to GameSpot this afternoon--but would not say more as of press time.

Activision paid $100M for the intellectual property, essentially, and MTV paid $175M for the talent behind the game. Development in the Guitar Hero series was going to have to be moved to another studio, so this is not a surprise, although choosing Neversoft might be.

If it's me, I want the talent. I want the guys (including girl) from Tribe. I want all those rock and roll equivalents of gym rats that made the games. Those guys can do it again. I hope every single one of them is filthy rich now, and I hope they still want to make games.

Look, we all know that at some point, the Guitar Hero series is going to be exploited and ruined. It's inevitable. I'm actually really pleased that we'll have at least two flawless PS2 versions and a 360 version before Harmonix stops working on the series. There are well over a hundred different songs (including bonus songs) in those three versions.

And maybe, just maybe, Neversoft can keep it going. It's at least a possibility.

Oh, and if I don't pass "Laid to Rest" soon on Expert, I'm going to go insane.

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