Guitar Hero 7 existed, was canned

News Aaron Birch 6 Dec 2012 - 18:00

Activision’s ground-breaking Guitar Hero’s seventh outing was being created, but was axed before it could hit the stage…

It’s been a couple of years now since Activision’s plastic-axe strummer, Guitar Hero, has been seen on the home console scene. As the bottom fell out of the music game market thanks to over saturation, the popular series, along with Rock Band, took a hiatus of sorts.

The last entry in the GH series was 2010’s Warriors of Rock, but that wasn’t the last of the game’s planned releases. In fact, Guitar Hero 7 was actually in development, up until early 2011, according information a source has revealed to Kotaku.

Unlike the altered formula seen in Warriors of Rock however, which focused on a single-player story, the seventh in the series was going to be built from the ground up, not to be a totally new experience, but instead, to return to its roots, albeit with a couple of advanced tweaks.

Guitar Hero the seventh would have eschewed drums, bass and microphones in favour of a pure Guitar-based set up, and more traditional core GH gameplay. The guitar, however, would have introduced an extra button on the neck, and the strum bar was to be replaced with six actual strings, to enhance the guitar playing experience.

Sadly, the guitar controller was way too expensive to make, and was difficult to get right. It was also too hard to use, and just didn’t live up to the developer’s expectations.

"The strings were unresponsive and loose, and the guitars cost a fortune to make. No one could figure out a way to make it so your average Joe could buy one" said the source.

The game’s art style was also changed radically, and over-ambitious features were penned in, with familiar characters and expected GH tropes dropped.

For example, a large alteration could be found in the environments. The venues you would play in were planned to morph and change depending on the music being strummed along to, and all sorts of OTT locations were designed, but abandoned, partly due to the need to create a venue unique to each of the over 80 songs. Also, the limited budget severely limited the track list, and the game was in danger of containing some terrible songs, and, as the developers stated, some of the worst 90s pap.

Many members of the development team were worried about the overall quality of the title, and when Activision president, Eric Hirshberg, visited the office to check out the new title, he shared their outlook, and promptly stopped the game in its tracks. Thus, Guitar Hero 7 was laid to rest.

It’s a shame really, especially for fans of the music genre who miss the GH series, but there’s no denying it was losing steam somewhat, and suffered some serious commercial damage from the popularity of rival, Rock Band. Games do vary in terms of quality during the development process, but I’m simply not sure if any amount of changes would have returned GH to its former glory, and so, Activision may have made the right call in the end.

Activision’s certainly no stranger to milking a franchise, though, and although current sales would certainly beg to differ, is there a chance that Call of Duty will end up falling in the same trap? Unlike Guitar Hero, which had only one real rival, Call of Duty has plenty more, and an increasingly vocal army of dissatisfied and bored haters. Time will tell if the changes brought in by Treyarch and Black Ops II carry the series on. One things for sure, Guitar Hero’s plastic power chords may not be back any time soon.

Kotaku

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