February 11, 2011
So the other day Activision Blizzard released their financial results for 2010 and while there were many interesting tidbits of information within, of interest to me is the news regarding the Guitar Hero franchise. Detailed within is the news that Activision is going to disband its Guitar Hero business unit, and stop production on this year’s Guitar Hero game, which makes me believe they’re done with Guitar Hero for a while, possibly until new video game systems are released. Hearing this news was shocking, more so to hear it on National Public Radio and not just the traditional video game websites. It was foreseeable news however, the market did become heavily saturated with rhythm games, and similarly, MTV Games recently sold off Harmonix, the developers behind Rock Band and Dance Central, but Activision seemed to have gotten while the getting was good and released, in most people’s opinions, too many Hero branded games. All that said, I’ve had a lot of positive memories with Guitar Hero and this news is a good opportunity to look back on them.
My first Guitar Hero was Guitar Hero II on the Xbox 360. I remember reading about it in the Official Xbox Magazine and decided to preorder it from Best Buy. After laying the deposit down, I waited. When the release date finally rolled around, my sister and I went straight to the Best Buy after school and picked it up. I remember us talking about someone driving on the highway, jokingly saying they were getting it as well, and that we had better beat them in case they bought the last copy. Ironically enough, they were in fact picking it up too. From then on I played hours of the game, eventually becoming competent enough to complete the hard difficulty, but never progressing much on expert. I enjoyed competing with friends, trying to outdo their high scores, and eventually spending a lot of time on ScoreHero.
I remember getting Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock as well. One day after college, I decided that was the day I’d get it, and my friend and I played through the entire game in one sitting. It was a blast, except for the fact that the second player doesn’t receive achievements. As with Guitar Hero II, Guitar Hero III took up a bunch of my time, and my skills continued to improve. Guitar Hero: Aerosmith was my next game. It was much easier compared to its predecessors, but it also had a different set up, playing predominately Aerosmith songs. It was a quick game to beat, and not that hard to obtain most of the achievements, it would be my last Guitar Hero game. At this point I had converted to Rock Band and its multi-instrument setup.
I enjoyed my time with the Guitar Hero games I’ve played and I look forward to picking up some of the titles I’ve missed. This was easy to see coming but it’s still sort of shocking, to realize that it’s already here, the discontinuation of Guitar Hero.