The rise and fall of rhythm games

Sex, drugs and Guitar Hero

Bright, meanwhile, is a bit more skeptical. Gamers have been known to spend hours or even days mastering songs, but will that dedication carry over when a real instrument is in their hands? After all, the rockstar fantasy encompasses a lot of things, but long hours spent learning proper finger positioning for basic chords isn’t one of them.

“I think that we will have to see how eagerly gamers snatch up the new pro guitars for Rock Band 3,” Bright explains. “It may be a tall order to expect millions of music game fans to really want to transition to a real guitar. It’s difficult and time consuming to learn how to play a real guitar. There’s a reason that Guitar Hero became so popular, and that’s because everybody felt like they could play guitar without actually having to spend the time to learn how to play guitar.”


Rock Band 3, 360/PS3

That said, Guitar Hero’s path going forward is looking more than a little divergent. Earlier this year, the rumor mill was abuzz with word that Warriors of Rock would be the end of Neversoft’s stint on Guitar Hero. In its stead, Vicarious Visions — who’ve developed the Wii and PS2 ports of recent Guitar Hero titles, among other things — will be taking the reins. Or so the story goes, anyway. Activision has yet to either confirm or deny the rumor, but that hasn’t kept many insiders from regarding it as truth.

“I keep hearing that this is Neversoft’s last Guitar Hero, but I don’t remember seeing anything official about it,” Rybicki said. “Honestly, though, knowing Activision and knowing the success of the whole Hero franchise, I don’t see anyone really deviating much from what Guitar Hero has been doing. I feel like this year’s story-heavy presentation is as far as anyone’s likely to stray from the basic five-button gameplay. But I hope I’m wrong.”

Shea, however, is much for optimistic about the future of Guitar Hero. “I think we’ll see some fresh ideas and I’m predicting we’ll see a single-band centric game from a band like the Red Hot Chili Peppers before next fall, when we’ll almost certainly see Guitar Hero 7.”

But regardless of whether or not the genre does undergo a major shake-up doesn’t diminish the fact that it needs to evolve because as the sales numbers show, the fanbase is slowly losing interest, or at the least, they’re not investing as much money into their virtual rock careers as they once were. While titles like Rock of the Dead and the DJ Hero franchise represent interesting steps into unexplored territory, Guitar Hero and Rock Band are still the main draws — think of it as the difference between small indie bands exploring new sonic avenues and established acts that can fill an entire arena. While experimentation and innovation is important, the genre’s future viability is still hinged upon the success of the two core franchises. That’s why Bright wants to ensure that the reasons fans fell in love with rhythm games aren’t forgotten.

“We [want to] make sure we stay true to the music and gameplay,” he says, and that’s a good goal for anyone working on a rhythm game to keep in mind.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags guitar herogamesrock band

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Nathan Grayson

Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?