Today, Activision has taken a classic videogame franchise out of hibernation mode with the announcement of "Guitar Hero Live."
The brand and agency 72andSunny unveiled a three-minute trailer introducing the upcoming installment to the long-dormant "Guitar Hero" series, due out this fall. As has become convention in videogame ads, it features what appears to be a "live action" reenactment of the game play. Shot from the first person POV of the player, a member of the fictitious band "Broken Tide," the film captures the player's emotional experience -- from the backstage jitters, to the pre-performance adrenaline rush, to the disappointment felt after a wrong chord is struck and the crowd starts to hiss.
It turns out, however, that this isn't a cinematic recreation of the game -- it's the game itself.
"Guitar Hero Live" aims to turn the music game genre on its head by putting the player in the middle of the action, in front of a real, non-CG crowd, and his or her performance will determine whether the crowd jeers, or goes wild. As the player progresses, the real people venues will get bigger and more challenging, going from an intimate bar setting to a massive venue where the player performs in front of an audience of a hundred thousand.
According to Activision, the "Guitar Hero" franchise has surpassed $3 billion in sales. We saw the last game release in 2010, with "Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock," which did poorly sales-wise compared to its predecessors. According to VentureBeat, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick had shelved the development on further "Guitar Hero" games in 2011 because the game failed to innovate and lure audiences. Only after a serious update would the company consider releasing a new version.