Guitar Hero 5 Hits the Stage

Posted by Ryan (1263 posts) -

This guy is definitely ready to rock.
With its September 1 release date, it's a little surprising just how close Guitar Hero 5 is, mostly because it doesn't seem like Activision has really talked that much about the game beyond its track list. The importance of the track list to a rhythm game like Guitar Hero cannot be overstated, but if new songs were all that Guitar Hero 5 had to offer, I might be worried about the series. After seeing the game at an Activision event last week, I don't think GH5 will do anything for those suffering from rhythm game-fatigue, but it's got a pretty solid track list, as well as a few unique features up its sleeve.

My hands-on time with the game didn't tell me much about the game that I hadn't already gleaned back at E3. From the colorful rocker caricatures up on stage to the brain-blistering challenges offered by the higher difficulty levels, this was still Neversoft's Guitar Hero. Last year's World Tour brought the full-band setup to Guitar Hero, and this year the focus is making the game as accessible as possible, whether this means seamless jump-in-jump-out multiplayer, difficulty that adjusts to your skill on the fly, or the ability to play with any combination of instruments you please.

So no real surprises there, but the big news coming out of last week's event concerned what Activision is calling "franchise compatibility." What this means in simple terms is that most songs that you've downloaded to play in Guitar Hero World Tour will work in Guitar Hero 5--152 of the 158 DLC songs for World Tour currently work in GH5, and it sounds like that number is going up. Additionally, you'll be able to copy a number of songs off the Guitar Hero World Tour and Guitar Hero: Smash Hits discs and play them in Guitar Hero 5 for what Activision is saying will be a "nominal" fee.

Have a four-way guitar battle if you want! There's no one to stop you!
No specific details were given about which songs you'd be able to copy, though it was mentioned that you'd need a 20-digit Unique Owner ID that's included with World Tour and Smash Hits to perform the disc-copy function. I suspect this is a move to prevent those with used copies or rented copies from taking advantage of this feature. All this franchise compatibility will extend to Band Hero when that comes out later this year, though Activision reps weren't forthcoming with further details about that game.

Making your DLC compatible between versions and letting users copy songs off the disc from a previous version of your game are both moves straight out of the Rock Band playbook, though they're still very pro-consumer moves that I cannot fault Activision for including in GH5. The interesting twist here is that, when Guitar Hero 5 is released, there will also be a patch for World Tour that will introduce some of the new features from GH5. As altruistic as this might seem, keep in mind that Activision will likely start releasing new DLC songs that include hooks for those new features, so it only makes sense to make them work with the older game as well.

The franchise compatibility features will work in the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii versions, though the Wii will be sporting a few unique features of its own. Developed by Vicarious Visions, GH5 on the Wii will have all the shared features of the other two versions, as well as Mii support and a robust online mode that sidesteps game-specific friend codes and will allow up to eight Wiis to connect online and play. GH5 will also have support for direct access to SDHC cards, which means that you'll be able to store all that DLC and all those songs ripped out of World Tour and Smash Hits on a single, big-ass SD card.

Listen all of y'all it's a... yeah.
Beyond all the technical stuff, developer Vicarious Visions was showing off the new Roadie Battle mode that's exclusive to the Wii. This mode lets you connect your DS to your Wii wirelessly, download a bunch of roadie-themed minigames onto your DS, and then team up with a guitar-wielding player against another team of guitar-and-DS players. While your teammate is shredding it up on the guitar, you'll be tapping and scribbling and blowing into your DS to launch attacks against the opposing guitarist and undo any damage the other roadie might be inflicting on your guitarist. There's nothing rhythmic about it, but there's a simple strategy to the frantic action.

Those familiar with the Guitar Hero On Tour games for the DS might find some of the minigame stuff in the Roadie Battle a little familiar, and with good reason, as Vicarious Visions developed those games as well. It's hard to say if Roadie Battle will be enough of a novelty to really matter, but I don't see the harm in expanding the ways people can interact with your game. Despite certain technical handicaps, the audience for the Wii seems ideal for Guitar Hero, and it seems smart of Vicarious Visions to go out of its way to take advantage of what the system has to offer.

The other big surprise from the Guitar Hero 5 event was the news that, when it launches, it will be available either bundled with a guitar controller, or disc-only, without the option for a full-band setup. Between The Beatles: Rock Band, Guitar Hero 5, Band Hero, DJ Hero, and Tony Hawk: RIDE, there are a lot of big game boxes filling up shelves this year, so it's a move that makes a certain amount of sense from a retail perspective.

All in all Guitar Hero 5 is shaping up to be an assured, if not entirely surprising, entry in the series. Be sure to check out my video interviews with Neversoft's Brian Bright and Vicarious Visions CEO Karthik Bala for more details, plus a glimpse of the event itself.
 
    
#1 Posted by Ryan (1263 posts) -

This guy is definitely ready to rock.
With its September 1 release date, it's a little surprising just how close Guitar Hero 5 is, mostly because it doesn't seem like Activision has really talked that much about the game beyond its track list. The importance of the track list to a rhythm game like Guitar Hero cannot be overstated, but if new songs were all that Guitar Hero 5 had to offer, I might be worried about the series. After seeing the game at an Activision event last week, I don't think GH5 will do anything for those suffering from rhythm game-fatigue, but it's got a pretty solid track list, as well as a few unique features up its sleeve.

My hands-on time with the game didn't tell me much about the game that I hadn't already gleaned back at E3. From the colorful rocker caricatures up on stage to the brain-blistering challenges offered by the higher difficulty levels, this was still Neversoft's Guitar Hero. Last year's World Tour brought the full-band setup to Guitar Hero, and this year the focus is making the game as accessible as possible, whether this means seamless jump-in-jump-out multiplayer, difficulty that adjusts to your skill on the fly, or the ability to play with any combination of instruments you please.

So no real surprises there, but the big news coming out of last week's event concerned what Activision is calling "franchise compatibility." What this means in simple terms is that most songs that you've downloaded to play in Guitar Hero World Tour will work in Guitar Hero 5--152 of the 158 DLC songs for World Tour currently work in GH5, and it sounds like that number is going up. Additionally, you'll be able to copy a number of songs off the Guitar Hero World Tour and Guitar Hero: Smash Hits discs and play them in Guitar Hero 5 for what Activision is saying will be a "nominal" fee.

Have a four-way guitar battle if you want! There's no one to stop you!
No specific details were given about which songs you'd be able to copy, though it was mentioned that you'd need a 20-digit Unique Owner ID that's included with World Tour and Smash Hits to perform the disc-copy function. I suspect this is a move to prevent those with used copies or rented copies from taking advantage of this feature. All this franchise compatibility will extend to Band Hero when that comes out later this year, though Activision reps weren't forthcoming with further details about that game.

Making your DLC compatible between versions and letting users copy songs off the disc from a previous version of your game are both moves straight out of the Rock Band playbook, though they're still very pro-consumer moves that I cannot fault Activision for including in GH5. The interesting twist here is that, when Guitar Hero 5 is released, there will also be a patch for World Tour that will introduce some of the new features from GH5. As altruistic as this might seem, keep in mind that Activision will likely start releasing new DLC songs that include hooks for those new features, so it only makes sense to make them work with the older game as well.

The franchise compatibility features will work in the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii versions, though the Wii will be sporting a few unique features of its own. Developed by Vicarious Visions, GH5 on the Wii will have all the shared features of the other two versions, as well as Mii support and a robust online mode that sidesteps game-specific friend codes and will allow up to eight Wiis to connect online and play. GH5 will also have support for direct access to SDHC cards, which means that you'll be able to store all that DLC and all those songs ripped out of World Tour and Smash Hits on a single, big-ass SD card.

Listen all of y'all it's a... yeah.
Beyond all the technical stuff, developer Vicarious Visions was showing off the new Roadie Battle mode that's exclusive to the Wii. This mode lets you connect your DS to your Wii wirelessly, download a bunch of roadie-themed minigames onto your DS, and then team up with a guitar-wielding player against another team of guitar-and-DS players. While your teammate is shredding it up on the guitar, you'll be tapping and scribbling and blowing into your DS to launch attacks against the opposing guitarist and undo any damage the other roadie might be inflicting on your guitarist. There's nothing rhythmic about it, but there's a simple strategy to the frantic action.

Those familiar with the Guitar Hero On Tour games for the DS might find some of the minigame stuff in the Roadie Battle a little familiar, and with good reason, as Vicarious Visions developed those games as well. It's hard to say if Roadie Battle will be enough of a novelty to really matter, but I don't see the harm in expanding the ways people can interact with your game. Despite certain technical handicaps, the audience for the Wii seems ideal for Guitar Hero, and it seems smart of Vicarious Visions to go out of its way to take advantage of what the system has to offer.

The other big surprise from the Guitar Hero 5 event was the news that, when it launches, it will be available either bundled with a guitar controller, or disc-only, without the option for a full-band setup. Between The Beatles: Rock Band, Guitar Hero 5, Band Hero, DJ Hero, and Tony Hawk: RIDE, there are a lot of big game boxes filling up shelves this year, so it's a move that makes a certain amount of sense from a retail perspective.

All in all Guitar Hero 5 is shaping up to be an assured, if not entirely surprising, entry in the series. Be sure to check out my video interviews with Neversoft's Brian Bright and Vicarious Visions CEO Karthik Bala for more details, plus a glimpse of the event itself.
 
    
#2 Posted by JDoobs (92 posts) -

The new additions to the game add a good deal to the decent looking track list ... By the way, putting the video interviews on page with the story? Brilliant.

#3 Posted by DerekDanahy (880 posts) -

Nice coverage of GH5 Ryan.

#4 Posted by SoyBob (161 posts) -

I will buy this USED, just to screw Activision over.

#5 Posted by natetodamax (19217 posts) -

Neversoft is pathetic.

#6 Posted by Milkman (17204 posts) -

I love how the Neversoft guy didn't even know what games his team worked on.

#7 Posted by GreggD (4510 posts) -

Hey, I actually made it onto the first page of comments. I might buy the Guitar Hero 5 w/Guitar sku. Well, make that most likely.

Online
#8 Posted by Jeffsekai (7049 posts) -

Good interview but I seriously don't feel right buying this game...I'll buy Rock band. I mean..Band Hero...common

#9 Posted by ItalianHammerUS (32 posts) -

Activision is knowingly destroying rythm games just to screw Harmonix. I won't buy this just as i did not buy any GH after 3
#10 Posted by UncleGramps (31 posts) -

I couldn't possibly care less about GH5.  After my disappointment with GH3 and GH:WT, I gave up on the series.  The Beatles Rock Band seems a lot more interesting to me.
 
Is it just me, or is there almost no buzz for GH5 in the gaming community?

#11 Posted by basshero (31 posts) -

I couldnt care less about guitar hero games after world tour. Rock band games have a bit of life and soul in them. Cant wait for beatles rockband!

#12 Posted by Light_Bahamut (193 posts) -

Anyone else remember the bag of fail that was GBA-GC connectivity? Same crap here. I don't care if Guitar Hero connects with a DS, it's basically just an apology for the weak-sauce version Wii owners get stuck with.

#13 Posted by Ineedaname (4319 posts) -
@Milkman said:
" I love how the Neversoft guy didn't even know what games his team worked on. "
That's because it's rock! Yeah.....
#14 Posted by Quadrifoglio (816 posts) -

Holy shit. The game is out in less than a month? (In the US at least, it'll probably be a month or two before the game is out in Europe) The compatibility is great news for Guitar Hero-only people, and I might even buy Smash Hits and Metallica because of it.
#15 Posted by sociald1077 (263 posts) -
@Quadrifoglio said:
"Holy shit. The game is out in less than a month? (In the US at least, it'll probably be a month or two before the game is out in Europe) The compatibility is great news for Guitar Hero-only people, and I might even buy Smash Hits and Metallica because of it. "
Metallica is as yet unconfirmed for export.  
 
I dont think GH:M or GH:VH will be exportable. I might be wrong in the long run though.
#16 Edited by skrutop (3615 posts) -

I'll go ahead and raise my hand as one of "those suffering from rhythm game-fatigue," as Ryan put it.  Thanks, but no thanks.

#17 Posted by NMC2008 (1237 posts) -

Day 1, screw the Activision haters and Rock Band Beatles.

#18 Posted by dbz1995 (4790 posts) -
@Light_Bahamut said:
" Anyone else remember the bag of fail that was GBA-GC connectivity? Same crap here. I don't care if Guitar Hero connects with a DS, it's basically just an apology for the weak-sauce version Wii owners get stuck with. "
Mmm...weak-sauce.
#19 Posted by RiotBananas (3600 posts) -

If Guitar Hero were a Cow, it would be lying on the floor gasping for breath...
 
"And the award for Best Dairy Farmer goes to... ACTIVISION!"

#20 Posted by Spike94 (735 posts) -
@UncleGramps said:
"I couldn't possibly care less about GH5.  After my disappointment with GH3 and GH:WT, I gave up on the series.  The Beatles Rock Band seems a lot more interesting to me.  Is it just me, or is there almost no buzz for GH5 in the gaming community? "

I am a little excited for it. Might wait until the price drops or something...the track list looks pretty sweet though. Or I may just not buy it at all, we'll see I guess.
#21 Posted by RiotBananas (3600 posts) -
@Spike94: Runnin Down a Dream is on there, I'll pick the game up second hand...
#22 Edited by MetalGearSunny (6999 posts) -

The guy can't even count how many Guitar Hero games have been developed my Neversoft. That should tell you something.

#23 Edited by Al3xand3r (7574 posts) -

It sounds like the Wii version is the best of the bunch (weak sauce? lol?), with all the features from the PS360 version and then some. Also, DLC directly from SDHC without the need for any free space in the internal memory. In other recent interviews (here too? I didn't watch it yet) they said they also have implemented new Nintendo WFC shenanigans. As long as you're running the game you're constantly logged on (perhaps that allows for friends tracking when you're online?), it pulls the Wii's system friend list instead of needing a new one, and it has other improvements, all of which will be available to all 3rd parties from Nintendo, which hopefully means all future games will be using a similar online system.

#24 Posted by RHCPfan24 (8609 posts) -

I actually do like the fact that World Tour and Smash Hits will be importable into GH5 but still, nah, this will not be my game.

#25 Posted by clubsandwich (3795 posts) -

holy crap, this game looks fucking terrible, good thing The Beatles Rock Band is just around tthe corner. :D

#26 Posted by Spike94 (735 posts) -
@RiotBananas said:
" @Spike94: Runnin Down a Dream is on there, I'll pick the game up second hand... "

Yeaaah, there are a lot of great songs that are going to be on it...perhaps I'll buy it eventually.
#27 Posted by HartKnight (81 posts) -

I'm so tired of this series. Boring!

#28 Posted by InFamous91 (931 posts) -

Great Job GB

#29 Posted by SAMCRO (51 posts) -

is it me or has there been like no advertising at all for this game

#30 Posted by Poohkey (34 posts) -

booooooooooooo After GH:WT, never again...Beatles will be well worth the 8 day wait after this launches

#31 Posted by floodiastus (1262 posts) -

not another one....

#32 Posted by Media_Master (3283 posts) -

They're pumping out games like EA does...              %Pr

#33 Edited by ahoodedfigure (4240 posts) -

While we yammer on about video games, the guy outside is collecting aluminum cans in a big garbage bag:

 

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