Guitar Hero 7 Was to Be Guitar-Only, A "Disaster" Says Source
Written Thursday, December 06, 2012 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
With Activision calling time on the Guitar Hero franchise in 2011, and Warriors of Rock released as the final instalment in the series, a Guitar Hero 7 was, believe it or not, actually in development at New York-based studio Vicarious Visions. The project was apparently canned by Acti in early 2011 with the game in mid-development. But what would it have been like?
According to a source talking to Kotaku, Guitar Hero 7 was on course to be a "disaster", with a development cycle fraught with problems and a decision to focus solely on the guitar, excising the drums and vocals from the game. Only the guitar peripheral was complete and utter rubbish, the source revealed.
"This amazing thing was a six stringed guitar," the source remarked, sarcastically. "Not a real guitar, or even full six-stringed. It had the classic Guitar Hero buttons on the neck with one extra new button, and six strings where the strum bar used to be. YAY! Now they have an extra button and five more strum bars!"
Early samples of the guitar were reportedly a mess too. "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."
Vicarious Visions had taken over development on Guitar Hero 7 after Neversoft passed, and the studio had past experience in making the GH games on Wii and DS. Indeed, aspects of its initial demo were apparently extraordinary according to the source, with venues that adapted to the song being played.
"The venue was amazing and animated, and each time something in the song changed the venue would also. I didn't even like the song, but the demo gave me goosebumps," the source said of the Guitar Hero 7 demo he saw. "They all had very big ambitions."
Things soon went from bad to worse as the development progressed however, with a fresh art-style, none of the old legacy characters and instead all-new "characters [whose] necks were over a foot long… They all looked like they were punched in the face."
The morphing venue concept also proved too ambitious, and the game began to collapse under this weight of huge ambition. "A tomb, the back of a moving truck. The locations were going to match the songs. Each song would have it's own music video. It was a nice idea, and some of the concepts looked great. Then they realised they didn't have any songs. Everything was being built around 'Turn The Page - Metallica,' and 'A Thing Called Love - The Darkness.' They'd change the venues and animations as the songs came in," the source explained.
"When the songs started coming in, a great sense of dread came about everyone with an active brain," the source continued. "The game had all of the worst hits from the 1990's. They realised that, with our lack of budget and time, they couldn't get quality music so they bought bargain basement music like 'Closing Time' and 'Sex and Candy.' There were some songs in there that had been used at least three times in the GH franchises before.
"They realised that with a setlist of over 80 songs, a music video unique to each song was out of scope as well. So pretty much every song was in the tomb or the back of the moving truck, with different lighting and camera cuts, and maybe a little graffiti. So they had a game that looked bad, had bad music, had very limited venues, and more was getting cut as time went on."
Then Activision President Eric Hirshberg visited Vicarious Visions in 2011 to see how Guitar Hero 7 was coming along. He shut the project down in the middle of its two-year development cycle, and that was that for Guitar Hero. While given time Guitar Hero 7 might have been wrestled into something worthwhile, there hasn't been a Guitar Hero game since 2010's Warriors of Rock.
Will the franchise return one day? Probably.