Activision “abused” Guitar Hero, there’s “no reason why” it can’t continue, says Summer

Friday, 18th February 2011 14:43 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Kelly Summer, former CEO of RedOctane, believes there’s still a market for Guitar Hero,  a game where everyone can be a rock star in their own living rooms.

Speaking with MCV, Summer said if the franchise had not been “abused,” the cancellation would never have happened.

“It was brilliant,” said Kelly. “Everybody wants to be a rock star and there was nothing on the market like this at the time. Best of all, it involved everybody in the room. It was a great party experience.

“[Activision] tried to get too much out of the franchise too quickly. They abused it. There’s no reason why Guitar Hero cannot continue. It’s a great product. My gut tells me there is still a significant market for Guitar Hero. Not every game can be a billion dollar franchise, but maybe that’s what Activision wants. “I’d be surprised if they sold the brand as it’d prove to the world there is still a market for this product and show them up.

“Look at how Take-Two has handled GTA. They haven’t thrown products out there. They’ve nurtured it for over ten years and it is still a strong franchise.”

Activision announced earlier in the month during a financial call to investors that it had disbanded its Guitar Hero business unit and canceled development on its Guitar Hero game for 2011.

The last DLC pack for the franchise, the February Mega Pack, was released on February 8.



  1. YoungZer0

    There is no reason why it should continue. As long as it’s boring simon says gameplay stays, there is absolutely no way the game will evolve. Which is something that should happen in a franchise.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. Crysis

    Guitar Hero was just a fad, now that everyone has some version of it, why should we fork out for more?

    #2 4 years ago
  3. drewbles82

    Guitar hero is dead. Long live ROCK BAND which for someone like me who cant afford guitar lessons every week, terrible at the teach yourself method but seem to do very well at learning when its fun, this is perfect for me to have fun playing a game i enjoy and learning an instrument.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. ManuOtaku

    i do agree with Kelly Summer statements, i think also that activision milked this franchise too much in such a short time, they were to greedy not letting the time to evolve accordinly.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. DSB

    That’s what I’ve been saying that since the announcement.

    They basically pounded the franchise rather than developing it, which is a huge shame. It kept the genre in its infantcy and that’s just not very interesting.

    I never jumped on the Rock Band thing myself. I feel silly enough with a deformed toy guitar in my hands, but at least I can hide it quickly. My apartment really doesn’t need a full array of plastic instruments.

    As far as I can tell, Rock Band is stuck in the same rut of not innovating on anything except song delivery, which would explain the similarly abysmal sales.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Michael O’Connor

    @DSB You obviously haven’t played Rock Band 3 if you think it hasn’t innovated at all. Rock Band can teach you to play instruments. Guitar Hero can not.

    Why would anyone bother to play Guitar Hero when they could play Rock Band anyway?

    #6 4 years ago
  7. drewbles82

    Plus rock band all discs except Beatles (personally i think it would be better if it was) are all exportable, plus regular DLC, Rock band network. Over 2500 songs to choose from.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. NeoSquall

    @5 Do you fell someone could actually sue Activision for Videogame Infanticide?

    It would be great :D

    #8 4 years ago
  9. NeoSquall

    *do you feel, not fell…

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Michael O’Connor

    @7 That too.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. HighWindXIX

    There was really no point in releasing any music games after Guitar Hero: Metallica since clearly, there’s no where to go from there but down. And yes I’m being serious. Unless of course they come out with Rock Band: Every Time I Die… like that would happen though!

    #11 4 years ago
  12. DSB

    That’s news to me Michael. How does that work?

    If you’re just talking about keeping a cadence on the drums, then I’m not too impressed.

    I quite clearly stated that I haven’t played the thing, but the fact that people stopped buying it would indicate to me that it failed to add enough sazz to the formula to keep them interested. Which is where I’d like to see the genre go.

    @8 I’m sure someone’s gonna try :p

    #12 4 years ago
  13. freedoms_stain

    @12, you can buy some expensive peripherals. There’s the “pro” fisher price guitar that has like 13 buttons on it that better stimulates a real guitar, and a genuine real 6 stringer that has sensors in the frets that detect your finger positioning.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. DSB

    That sounds pretty cool. Except for the expensive part. If you’re gonna go expensive, then why not buy a cheap guitar and take some classes? Or buy a few books or DVDs.

    It sounds bit like a marketing gimmick if that’s all there is to it.

    I was talking about expanding on the gameplay and venturing deeper into the awesome expanses of rock n roll. Any rhythm game can help you improve your timing, but that doesn’t neccesarily make it a better game.

    Is the only real gameplay modification really that you have to take on a few “stars” at their own game? Seriously, there are about a million ways to improve on that formula, and a duel is still the best we can do?

    I just don’t buy it. And apparently neither does anyone else.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. freedoms_stain

    That’s 130 buttons dammit.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. freedoms_stain

    @14, the 6 stringer essentially is a cheap guitar, but it’s manufactured by Fender-Squier and their shitty history with highly variable manufacturing quality (where “not utter shit” is usually the highest honor they can claim) means I generally urge new players to look elsewhere.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. DSB

    That seems to be par for most peripherals. But to me that really just defeats the purpose.

    Do you honestly think you’ll have more fun sitting in front of your tv with an expensive peripheral, than you’ll have jamming out in a basement with a couple of likeminded folk? It doesn’t matter how bad you are at your instrument, that’s never held anyone back in music.

    I genuinely don’t think the focus should be on strings versus buttons, or how many buttons you can cram into a peripheral, it should be on how you can evolve the gameplay and make it even more rewarding for the people playing. Moving closer to the “spirit” of rock.

    I’m not saying you’d neccesarily want to go there, but with something like a Kinect, you could do some serious grandstanding in front of your TV, which has always been the coolest element of any excellent concert I’ve ever been to.

    Owning the scene is simply something I’ve never felt like I was doing playing Guitar Hero. I always felt like I was sitting on my sofa with my nice little flimsy plastic guitar and trying to match up to the pretty colours. And there are a million things you could do to enhance and improve on that.

    I haven’t seen anything to suggest that Rock Band treats the experience any differently. I may be wrong, obviously.

    #17 4 years ago
  18. Michael O’Connor

    They *do* evolve the concept. It starts out as an “interpretation” of music, but every single instrument in the game name can emulate the real thing note for note.

    Yes, you could argue that you could just buy an instrument and some lessons, but that’s kinda missing the point. It’s something to do at home. And having the notes of those songs you really enjoy on screen, playing them with both equally and less talented friends, is fun.

    Rock Band gets dragged out when my gamer friends call around to my place on a constant basis, years after its release. The fact that nearly every song from the past games can be directly imported into the newer ones keep your collection of songs huge too.

    #18 4 years ago
  19. DSB

    That’s a pretty desperate take on the word evolution. The fact that they give you more buttons to push is, in every way, just more of the same with a different controller. It might be good for the most dedicated nerds out there, but that’s absolutely not the audience you want your rhythm franchise to rely on.

    Of course, the pros and cons of a game like this versus something like playing an instrument, can always be discussed, and it’ll probably always be a case of the eyes that see, but you can quite easily play a musical instrument at home. I know several people who do, and from my vantage point, I’d say they get a more profound experience out of it.

    It’s not the same thing, but it’s hard not to weigh one against the other when it comes to things like spending and benefit in my opinion.

    Nobody’s argueing against rhythm games being awesome, though. They’re just wallowing around in the exact same experience we had when we first saw them, which is a deadly sin to perpetrate over half a decade, when you’re launching something so radically new and different – The aim shouldn’t be to produce more of the same or add buttons, it should be to show everyone just how far they can go with the experience by actually building on it.

    Personally it just doesn’t get me hard anymore – And again, while it might be circumstancial, I have to stress the fact that the abysmal sales could indicate that I’m not alone.

    #19 4 years ago
  20. Michael O’Connor

    @19 And I know professional musicians who play Rock Band 3 because they enjoy playing lots of famous songs that inspired their career. These people have professional instruments. But not all of us can sing or play them, and it allows use to enjoy the experience together.

    Big TV, loud speakers, Rock Band, and some booze. I call that a good night in.

    How the hell a bunch of buttons vs. actual note replication equates to “the same experience” is beyond me. They’re not just “adding buttons”. Good lord. With the Pro Guitar, Pro Drums, and Keyboard, you can playing the songs note for note exactly as they would be played if you were using a real instrument.

    And in fact, the keyboard and guitar *can* be used as real instruments. Just for the record.

    #20 4 years ago
  21. DSB

    Of course, and a lot of pilots enjoy flying simulators in their downtime.

    But if you’re talking about a musical simulator rather than a rhythm game, that just leads me right back to my other argument, which is why the hell would you bother with something like that, as a gamer?

    I see that as a parralel development, rather than an evolution on anything, because it has little to no appeal to people who play – or rather – played these games. You’re supposed to feel like you’re playing, this is supposed to be a designed experience, not an engineered reality – you aren’t supposed to actually play.

    That’s the beauty of gaming. Go to war or drive the Monte Carlo Grand Prix without ever leaving the couch. It’s the best cheap thrill around.

    What I’m talking about is working on that; the experience, the design, the gameplay, rather than introducing simulation or reworking elements that are already there. They’ve failed to do it, and they’re paying the price.

    Again, nobody’s argueing that you can’t have a great time with these games. I’m just saying I’ve had a great time with at least three now, with very little to distinguish one from the other, and I don’t care to go for a fourth.

    #21 4 years ago
  22. DarkElfa

    Guitar Hero did it first and then Rock Band did it right.

    The End.

    #22 4 years ago
  23. Old MacDonald

    So Activision killed Guitar Hero by putting too many devs on the franchise and releasing far too many products within a much too short timespan. I guess they learned their lesson… oh, that’s right. There’s now five devs on Call of Duty.

    #23 4 years ago

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