Guitar Hero returns after five years offering the chance to play ‘live’ for crowds

14 Apr 2015

After a five-year hiatus, the classic guitar karaoke game Guitar Hero returns after a major overhaul and now includes the ability to play before a ‘live’ audience with crowds reacting to your playing ability.

Known as Guitar Hero Live, the game has ditched the familiar five-coloured frets that the player would smash in tune with what appeared on screen and was a massive hit with gamers for its social appeal, which eventually expanded to a whole band under Guitar Hero World Tour.

Now with a simpler three-fret guitar, the player will probably spend more of their time feeling anxious not at their terrible guitar playing, but at the crowd appearing on the player’s screen that shows real people reacting to your playing so, if you’re bombing, you’ll be rightly booed.

If playing well, however, the audience will almost seamlessly transition to a fawning crowd declaring their love for you, marking a major change from the looping crowd seen in previous instalments.

The player will also be playing with a real-life band brought in to act as probably the world’s most popular karaoke band, given the size of the fictional crowd.

Hitting the right note with online audience

Other additions include Guitar Hero TV, which, again, brings the guitar karaoke experience online, allowing players to challenge each other to play various songs that appear on different channels covering different genres of music.

Given that the game’s developers are Activision, it might come as no surprise that they could be capable of bringing back not only a game that was considered dead and buried given that its last edition sold only 87,000 copies, but also re-instating one of its divisions that it had disbanded only four years ago.

Speaking of the decision to bring back the gaming franchise, Tyler Michaud, a senior director of product management at Activision, said that the brand was too large to die off.

“Guitar hero created a pop culture phenomenon, even my mom knew what Guitar Hero was. We always wanted to bring Guitar Hero back, but we always said we wouldn’t do that until we had the right innovation,” he said.

Person playing guitar image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic