Milking the Guitar Hero franchise

Well, it’s happened: Activision has gone bananas. In an effort to further squeeze every drop of green from the franchise, the publisher has announced that their fall lineup of “Hero” games will include DJ Hero, Guitar Hero 5, Band Hero, and Guitar Hero Van Halen. As much as I like Van Halen, I think they’re going a bit far.

This is how you become a DJ Hero

This is how you become a DJ Hero

DJ Hero is reviving the old DJ rhythm game sub-genre that beatmania ostensibly started (and Scratch: The Ultimate DJ possibly started again), much like how Guitar Hero revamped/stole GuitarFreaks. This could actually be something interesting, as beatmania IIDX is known to be what many in the field call an “asskicker.”

Guitar Hero 5 is more of an update of the main GH franchise. It will allow players to join and leave games, change members and difficulties, and swap instruments all on the fly. Hopefully it will also have a better setlist and interfaces, though Guitar Hero Smash Hits looks to be fulfilling the “better setlist” half.

Band Hero, however, is a big batch of disappointing. Instead of letting you fulfill your wildest orchestral dreams and wail away on solo tuba or buy a huge gong peripheral, the game is instead an E10+ rated affair full of top 40 hits to appeal to the whole family. Honestly, I’d prefer to play LEGO Rock Band.

Guitar Hero: Van Halen is simply continuing what Guitar Hero: Aerosmith and Guitar Hero: Metallica did for those two bands. It is said to be coming out the “second half of this year” and bringing along with it Van Halen hits (hopefully not “Van Hagar“) and some Queen, Weezer, Blink-182, Queens of the Stone Age, and the Offspring tracks.

Full rhythmic press release as follows:

The company’s groundbreaking DJ Hero expands Guitar Hero’s signature social gaming to all-new consumers with the addition of diverse music genres including hip-hop, R&B, Motown, electronica and dance. Introducing an all-new innovative turntable controller, DJ Hero transforms players into DJs who rule the club scene by creating original mixes of popular songs and music from the world’s most exciting artists and DJs.

Letting fans continue to fulfill their rock fantasies, Guitar Hero 5 features the hottest rock and roll artists today as well as classic rock bands and gives players an unprecedented level of control over the way they play the game with the ability to drop in and out of songs and change band members, instruments and difficulty levels on the fly.

The franchises’ first E10+ rated console game, Band Hero delivers an exciting music collection featuring top-40 hits designed to expand the appeal to a broad family audience who can play together on the guitar, drums, bass and microphone and experience a new genre of music. The game builds upon Guitar Hero’s easy-to-play, difficult-to-master signature gameplay and allows novice players and expert fans to join together on their favorite songs.

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