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Guitar Hero is back for an encore

Activision announces Guitar Hero Live with new gameplay and a redesigned controller

Rock Band isn't the only guitar game to make a return. Activision Blizzard today officially lifted the curtain on Guitar Hero Live, a brand-new version of the popular music franchise launching this fall. FreeStyleGames, the studio behind the DJ Hero games, is handling development, and this time Activision is introducing a couple very different modes.

GH Live gives players first-person viewpoint from up on the stage as they play different songs in a variety of venues and try to please the crowd, which reacts dynamically in real-time to the performance. The other new mode called GHTV brings in a more social aspect; it's essentially a 24-hour playable live music video network. Players will be able to follow a continually-updated collection of official music videos, play with their friends in local multiplayer, or against players from around the world. "GHTV is a living, breathing platform that serves as an ever-growing source for new music discovery while further bringing the party atmosphere back to the living room," Activision said in the release.

In addition to the new modes, Activision is looking to change the way people approach the gameplay by offering a newly redesigned controller; we've asked if there will be any backwards compatibility with old controllers but have not yet received an answer. The new controller features two rows of three buttons "that better reflects the way people naturally play." With the new button layout, beginners can play with just the bottom three buttons, while medium-level players don't have to stretch their fingers out the way they did with older controllers. Instead, they can "skillfully play two-row combinations that mimic real chords." The most expert players will also be challenged to perform more chord-like shapes and finger combinations on the new controller.

"Guitar Hero is a franchise that so many people love. Figuring out how to bring it back with true breakthrough innovation has been years in the making, and a labor of love," said Eric Hirshberg, CEO of Activision Publishing, Inc. "Guitar Hero Live lets people rock real crowds with real reactions. Our goal was literally to give people stage fright. And with GHTV, we have created the world's first live, playable music video network. All of it is playable on consoles, or mobile devices. Guitar Hero is back and better than ever."

Guitar Hero Live is coming to PS4, PS3, Xbox One, Xbox 360, Wii U and "select" mobile devices, which will be announced at a later date. Pre-orders are starting today - more information can be found at the official website.

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James Brightman


James Brightman has been covering the games industry since 2003 and has been an avid gamer since the days of Atari and Intellivision. He was previously EIC and co-founder of IndustryGamers and spent several years leading GameDaily Biz at AOL prior to that.