Oh my, the situation does seem to be getting dire for rhythm gaming fans. After news at the end of 2010 that Viacom had sold “Rock Band” developer Harmonix, it seems that Activision is following suit with its own rhythm franchises in a similar fashion. The company announced yesterday their plans to discontinue development on the Guitar Hero series, as well as DJ Hero and all skateboarding games. They also announced that after the DLC slated for February has been released, they won’t be supporting any games with more.
And you know what I say? It’s about time. For so long now, Activision has been flooding the market with all manner of GH games – World Tour, 5, Warriors of Rock along with countless other band specific spin offs. It’s no wonder the games got to cost more to produce than they were bringing in – constantly having to release new packages with more plastic instruments would obviously get costly after a while. Makes me wonder if Activision has ever heard the term “Quality over quantity.”
Admittedly, I’m a bigger fan of the Rock Band series, anyway. I have been since Harmonix lost the rights to the series and created their own, superior product. RB games have always felt like they played smoother, the notes were tracked in a more entertaining manner that weren’t just fun but challenging too. Harmonix continued to innovate RB in its latest iteration, including the Pro modes as well as creating new instruments to accommodate this mode. What did GH 5 or Warriors of Rock introduce to the formula? Letting people play as Kurt Cobain and pissing off former members of Nirvana because you could use his character model to play any song you felt like?
But that’s not all. After the GH and DJ Hero DLC packs for February are released, that’s it – no more support for either series. Even though Harmonix had to go back to being an independent developer, they still support RB3 with weekly DLC releases, as well as managing the Rock Band Network so up-and-coming bands (and plenty of others, too) can produce their own RB content.
Also on the Activision chopping block were skateboarding games, which means extreme sports fans won’t have Tony Hawk Eleventy-billion to look forward to this year. This is much less surprising to me – I didn’t even realize they still made Tony Hawk games. In fact the last skating game I really enjoyed was the original Skate by EA – the sequel didn’t do much for me.
As a fan of rhythm games since the first (Harmonix produced) Guitar Hero title, I’m a little sad to see the genre in such a state of decline. I literally just got Pro Drums for RB3 a few months ago and enjoy messing around with the free play and (Indie game) drum kits almost as much as playing songs (Expert for me only, please. I’ll beat some songs off “Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying” one of these days. Actually, that’s not true, I beat “Wake Up Dead” on Expert [not Pro] once. Once.).
As long as Harmonix keeps pumping out the DLC, I’ll keep a-rocking. And yes, I totally still use my GH2 Xplorer.
Also, if you read my about me, you saw that I work for a newspaper. That’s no big deal, I bet most people on Dtoid don’t even read newspapers, but I do run a blog for my paper called Grizzly Gaming – a continuation of a weekly gaming column I did in college. Check it out at http://grizzlygaming1.blogspot.com, would you kindly? read