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The Info List - Guitar Hero


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The Guitar
Guitar
Hero series (sometimes referred to as the Hero series)[1] is a series of music rhythm games first published in 2005 by RedOctane and Harmonix, and distributed by Activision, in which players use a guitar-shaped game controller to simulate playing lead, bass guitar, and rhythm guitar across numerous rock music songs. Players match notes that scroll on-screen to colored fret buttons on the controller, strumming the controller in time to the music in order to score points, and keep the virtual audience excited. The games attempt to mimic many features of playing a real guitar, including the use of fast-fingering hammer-ons and pull-offs and the use of the whammy bar to alter the pitch of notes. Most games support single player modes, typically a Career mode to play through all the songs in the game, and both competitive and cooperative multiplayer modes. With the introduction of Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour in 2008, the game includes support for a four-player band including vocals and drums. The series initially used mostly cover versions of songs created by WaveGroup Sound, but most recent titles feature soundtracks that are fully master recordings, and in some cases, special re-recordings, of the songs. Later titles in the series feature support for downloadable content in the form of new songs. In 2005, RedOctane, a company specializing in the manufacture of unique game controllers, was inspired to create Guitar
Guitar
Hero based on RedOctane's experience creating hardware for Konami's Guitar
Guitar
Freaks arcade game. They enlisted Harmonix, who previously developed several music video games, for development assistance. The first game in the series was made on a budget of $1 million. The series became extremely successful, leading to the acquisition of RedOctane
RedOctane
by Activision
Activision
in 2007. Harmonix
Harmonix
was acquired by MTV Games and went on to create the Rock Band
Rock Band
series of music games in the same vein as Guitar
Guitar
Hero. Activision
Activision
brought Neversoft
Neversoft
(primarily known for their Tony Hawk series of skateboarding games) on board for future development duties. Additional companies, such as Budcat Creations
Budcat Creations
and Vicarious Visions have assisted in the adaptation of the games for other systems. The series currently has eight major releases (six Guitar
Guitar
Hero games, two DJ Hero
DJ Hero
games and Band Hero) and five expansions on gaming consoles. There are spin-offs for Windows and Macintosh
Macintosh
systems, mobile phones, the Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS
(the Guitar
Guitar
Hero: On Tour series), and an arcade game. The Guitar
Guitar
Hero franchise was a primary brand during the emergence of the popularity of rhythm games as a cultural phenomenon in North America. Such games have been utilized as a learning and development tool for medical purposes. The first game in the series was considered by several journalists to be one of the most influential video games of the first decade of the 21st century. The series has sold more than 25 million units worldwide, earning US$2 billion at retail, claimed by Activision
Activision
to be the 3rd largest game franchise after the Mario and Madden NFL
Madden NFL
franchises; the third main title of the series, Guitar
Guitar
Hero III: Legends of Rock is also claimed by Activision
Activision
to be the first single video game title to exceed $1 billion in sales. Despite early success, the series, along with the overall rhythm game genre, suffered from poor sales starting in 2009. Company spokesman Eric Hollreiser said consumer research suggested continued solid demand for the series.[2] Still, by early 2011, Activision
Activision
stated that the series was on hiatus for 2011, while a seventh main title in the series was under development; this title was later cancelled due to the poor quality of the emerging product. Activision
Activision
later shut down sales of the series' downloadable content, although users who purchased material from it previously may still play what they bought. In 2015, Activision
Activision
announced the first new title to the series in 5 years, Guitar
Guitar
Hero Live, released in October 2015. The title is considered a reboot of the series, with development being performed by FreeStyleGames, who had developed the DJ Hero
DJ Hero
games previously.

Contents

1 History

1.1 Origins and development at Harmonix
Harmonix
(2005–2006) 1.2 Sale to Activision
Activision
and development by Neversoft
Neversoft
(2006–2009) 1.3 Decline and hiatus (2009–2015) 1.4 Guitar
Guitar
Hero Live

2 Games

2.1 Main titles 2.2 Series expansions 2.3 Portable versions 2.4 Mobile phone
Mobile phone
versions 2.5 Other games 2.6 Planned games

3 Gameplay

3.1 Game modes 3.2 Characters and customization 3.3 Soundtracks

4 Reception and sales 5 Cultural impact 6 Legal and practical issues

6.1 PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3
incompatibility 6.2 Patent litigation 6.3 Oversaturation

7 List of games 8 See also 9 Notes 10 External links

History Origins and development at Harmonix
Harmonix
(2005–2006)

The original Guitar
Guitar
Hero logo features more pointed decorations on its letters, emphasizing its basis in heavy metal.

The new logo, which was introduced with Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5 and used up through Warriors of Rock, removes these sharp features so as to reflect the broader selection of music now included in the games.

Guitar
Guitar
Hero was created from a partnership between RedOctane, then their own company that produced specialized video game controllers, and Harmonix, a music video game development company who had previously produced Frequency, Amplitude and Karaoke
Karaoke
Revolution. RedOctane
RedOctane
was seeking to bring in a Guitar
Guitar
Freaks-like game, highly popular in Japan at the time, into Western markets, and approached Harmonix
Harmonix
about helping them to develop a music game involving a guitar controller. Both companies agreed to it, and went on to produce Guitar Hero in 2005.[3] The title was highly successful, leading to the development of its successful sequel Guitar
Guitar
Hero II in 2006. While the original controllers for the first Guitar
Guitar
Hero game were designed by Ryan Lesser, Rob Kay, Greg LoPiccolo and Alex Rigopulous of Harmonix and built by the Honeybee Corporation of China, subsequent iterations and future controllers were developed inhouse at RedOctane, with development led primarily by Jack McCauley.[4] Sale to Activision
Activision
and development by Neversoft
Neversoft
(2006–2009) Both RedOctane
RedOctane
and Harmonix
Harmonix
experienced changes in 2006. RedOctane
RedOctane
was bought by Activision
Activision
in June — who spent US$100 million to acquire the Guitar
Guitar
Hero franchise[5] — while it was announced in October that Harmonix
Harmonix
would be purchased by MTV Networks. As a result of the two purchases, Harmonix
Harmonix
would no longer develop future games in the Guitar
Guitar
Hero series. Instead, that responsibility would go to Neversoft, a subsidiary of Activision
Activision
known for developing the Tony Hawk's series of skateboarding games.[6] Neversoft
Neversoft
was chosen to helm the Guitar
Guitar
Hero series after Neversoft
Neversoft
founder, Joel Jewett, admitted to the RedOctane
RedOctane
founders, Kai and Charles Huang, that his development team for Tony Hawk's Project 8
Tony Hawk's Project 8
went to work on weekends just to play Guitar
Guitar
Hero.[7] Activision
Activision
CEO Bobby Kotick believed that Neversoft would help them bring great games to the series, but on reflection, stated that had Activision
Activision
explored Harmonix
Harmonix
further as a continued developer for the series, things "may have turned out differently".[8] In addition, Activision
Activision
began seeking other markets for the game; a Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS
version of the series was developed by Vicarious Visions, while a Guitar
Guitar
Hero Mobile series was created for mobile phones. The company also began considering the expansion of the series to band-specific titles with Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Aerosmith. Later, in November 2008, Activision
Activision
acquired Budcat Creations, another development studio that had helped with the PlayStation 2
PlayStation 2
versions of Guitar
Guitar
Hero III and World Tour, announcing that they would be helping to develop another game in the Guitar
Guitar
Hero series.[9] In 2007, Harmonix
Harmonix
and MTV Games released a new music title through rival publisher Electronic Arts, called Rock Band. It expanded upon the gameplay popularized by the Guitar
Guitar
Hero series by adding drum and microphone instruments, allowing players to simulate playing songs as bands. Activision
Activision
followed suit with the release of Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour in 2008, which supported multiple instruments. In 2009, Activision
Activision
tripled its Guitar
Guitar
Hero offerings, and in addition to further continuation of the existing main series with Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5 and expansions, they introduced the titles Band Hero, geared towards more family-friendly pop music, and DJ Hero, a game based on turntablism and featuring a number of mixes. With the release of Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5, Activision
Activision
considered the series to have moved away from its heavy metal basis into a broader selection of music. Guitar Hero 5 is the first game in the series to use a new version of the series' logo; previous games used a logo in a font with sharper "points" on the letters, which was considered "idiosyncratic with a vengeance" to match the games' emphasis on heavy metal music. Activision
Activision
used the services of the Pentagram design studio to refashion the game's logo. Pentagram developed a new font, removing some of the "aggressive odd" features to make the typeface more suitable and amendable to design feature incorporation to other games such as Band Hero
Band Hero
and DJ Hero.[10][11] Decline and hiatus (2009–2015) The results of the expanded offerings did not contribute well to the series, alongside the late-2000s recession; sales of most rhythm games including Guitar
Guitar
Hero and DJ Hero
DJ Hero
did not meet expectations, falling about 50% short of projected targets.[12][13][14] Activision
Activision
announced it would be cutting back to only 10 SKUs within 2010 instead of the 25 in 2009.[15] Though RedOctane
RedOctane
and Neversoft
Neversoft
continued to develop the 6th main game, Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Warriors of Rock, until its completion, both studios were later shuttered by Activision, moving key personnel into Activision
Activision
directly for future game development, and in the case of Neversoft, closing its Guitar
Guitar
Hero division, while transferring future development duties for the series to Vicarious Visions, another Activision
Activision
studio which had been fundamental in building the Wii
Wii
and Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS
versions of the games.[16] In November 2010, Activision also closed Budcat Creations, the arm of the publisher that was primarily responsible for porting the Guitar
Guitar
Hero games to the PlayStation 2.[17] Ahead of Activision's 2010 fourth quarter financial report in February 2011, Activision
Activision
disbanded its Guitar
Guitar
Hero business unit and announced that it would cease development of the planned 2011 Guitar
Guitar
Hero game.[18][19] Activision
Activision
cited "continued declines in the music genre" to explain its decision.[20] The closure also affected the DJ Hero series, as Activision
Activision
stated that there were no plans to publish a music game during 2011.[21] Activision's vice president Dan Winters later clarified that the company was "just putting Guitar
Guitar
Hero on hiatus" and that they were "just not making a new game for next year, that's all".[22][23] In a July 2011 interview with Forbes, Kotick stated that while the publisher was "going to stop selling Guitar
Guitar
Hero altogether", they were "going to go back to the studios and we’re going to use new studios and reinvent" the series,[24] but a former teammember of Vicarious Visions
Vicarious Visions
stated that as of 2012, all development of Guitar Hero had come to an end within Activision.[25] Another source close to Vicarious Visions
Vicarious Visions
had reported to Kotaku
Kotaku
that while Guitar
Guitar
Hero 7 was in development under an Activision
Activision
studio, the game was considered a "disaster".[26] The cancelled game omitted the additional instruments and used only a guitar peripheral, redesigning the unit to include a 6-button mechanism replacing the strum bar; the resulting unit was considered too expensive to manufacture and purchase.[26] The developers had also started the game development from scratch to try to create new characters and venues that would be more reactive to the actual songs being played to give the feel of a music video, but ultimately this proved too much of a challenge and had to be scrapped.[26] Further, with a limited budget, the song selection was limited to "low-budget" hits of the 1990s, or at times reusing songs that had previously been included in Guitar
Guitar
Hero games.[26] Though the team had a two-year development cycle, it was closed down after Activision
Activision
president Eric Hirshber had seen the current state of the project at the one-year point.[26] Another potential Guitar
Guitar
Hero project was discovered by the archival site Unseen64 for a game titled Hero World, a massively multiplayer online game that would link the Guitar
Guitar
Hero and DJ Hero
DJ Hero
games. The game had been developed by FreeStyleGames, sometime after the release of DJ Hero
DJ Hero
2, with the main development duties passed to Virtual Fairground, using their platform The Ride, an Adobe Flash-based platform that would let the game be played in a web browser. The game was cancelled in 2011 along with other pending Guitar
Guitar
Hero projects.[27] No further downloadable content for either Guitar
Guitar
Hero or DJ Hero
DJ Hero
was made after February 2011,[28] though Activision
Activision
committed to releasing content that was already in development by that time due to fan response;[29] later, in a move described by Game Informer
Game Informer
as "the final nail in [the series'] coffins",[30] Activision
Activision
announced it would discontinue all DLC sales for the series without revoking access to tracks already bought as of March 31, 2014.[31] Though Activision had moved away from the Guitar
Guitar
Hero series, the lessons learned helped them and developer Toys for Bob
Toys for Bob
to handle the manufacturing and outsourcing issues that came with the highly successful Skylanders
Skylanders
toy and video game franchise.[32] Guitar
Guitar
Hero Live In April 2015, Activision
Activision
announced a new entry in the series, titled Guitar
Guitar
Hero Live.[33] The title was developed by Activision's internal studio FreeStyleGames, who previously had worked on the DJ Hero spinoff titles. FreeStyleGames
FreeStyleGames
were given free rein to reboot the Guitar
Guitar
Hero series for next-generation consoles. One of their first innovations was to drop the standard five-button guitar controller, ultimately designing a six-button guitar controller, with two rows of three buttons each, allowing them to mimic actual guitar fingering. Guitar Hero Live
Guitar Hero Live
was released with both a career and an online mode. The career mode used full-motion video taken from the perspective of a lead guitarist underneath the note highway, to create an immersive experience to the player. The online mode, called GHTV, discarded the previous downloadable content approach and used a music video channel approach to stream playable songs to players, adding new songs to the catalog on a weekly basis. The game was released in October 2015. Though the game was praised as a reinvention of the Guitar
Guitar
Hero series, the game did not sell as well as Activision
Activision
expected; due to lowered forecasts, Activision
Activision
let go of about half of FreeStyleGames' developers.[34] In January 2017, Ubisoft acquired FreeStyleGames
FreeStyleGames
from Activision, with unclear consequences for the game as noted by GameSpot.[35] Games Main titles

The controllers bundled with Guitar
Guitar
Hero releases (from left to right): Gibson SGs for Guitar
Guitar
Hero and Guitar
Guitar
Hero II (PlayStation 2) and Gibson Explorer
Gibson Explorer
for Guitar
Guitar
Hero II (Xbox 360) and Guitar
Guitar
Hero III: Legends of Rock (PC)

The original Guitar
Guitar
Hero was released on the PlayStation 2
PlayStation 2
in November 2005. Guitar
Guitar
Hero is notable because it comes packaged with a controller peripheral modeled after a black Gibson SG
Gibson SG
guitar. Rather than a typical gamepad, this guitar controller is the primary input for the game. Playing the game with the guitar controller simulates playing an actual guitar, except it uses five colored "fret buttons" and a "strum bar" instead of frets and strings. The development of Guitar
Guitar
Hero was inspired by Konami's Guitar
Guitar
Freaks video game, which at the time, had not seen much exposure in the North American market; RedOctane, already selling guitar-shaped controllers for imported copies of GuitarFreaks, approached Harmonix
Harmonix
about creating a game to use an entirely new Guitar
Guitar
controller. The concept was to have the gameplay of Amplitude with the visuals of Karaoke
Karaoke
Revolution, both of which had been developed by Harmonix.[36][37][38][39] The game was met with critical acclaim and received numerous awards for its innovative guitar peripheral and its soundtrack, which comprised 47 playable rock songs (most of which were cover versions of popular songs from artists and bands from the 1960s through modern rock). Guitar
Guitar
Hero has sold nearly 1.5 million copies to date.[40] The popularity of the series increased dramatically with the release of Guitar
Guitar
Hero II for the PlayStation 2
PlayStation 2
in 2006. Featuring improved multiplayer gameplay, an improved note-recognizing system, and 64 songs, it became the fifth best-selling video game of 2006.[41] The PlayStation 2
PlayStation 2
version of the game was offered both separately and in a bundle with a cherry red Gibson SG
Gibson SG
guitar controller. Guitar
Guitar
Hero II was later released for the Xbox 360
Xbox 360
in April 2007 with an exclusive Gibson Explorer
Gibson Explorer
guitar controller and an additional 10 songs, among other features. About 3 million units of Guitar
Guitar
Hero II have sold on the PlayStation 2
PlayStation 2
and Xbox 360.[42]

The Gibson Les Paul
Gibson Les Paul
Guitar
Guitar
controller bundled with Xbox 360
Xbox 360
and PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3
releases of Guitar
Guitar
Hero III: Legends of Rock (pictured is the Xbox 360
Xbox 360
guitar controller). A similar white Gibson Les Paul guitar controller is bundled with the Wii
Wii
release, which requires the Wii Remote
Wii Remote
to be inserted in the back. For in-store demos on the Xbox 360, a wired Les Paul controller is used.

Guitar
Guitar
Hero III: Legends of Rock was released in late 2007 for the PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, Microsoft Windows, and Mac OS X
Mac OS X
platforms. The title is the first installment of the series to include wireless guitars bundled with the game and also the first to release a special bundle with two guitars. The game includes Slash and Tom Morello
Tom Morello
as playable characters in addition to the existing fictional avatars; both guitarists performed motion capture to be used for their characters' animation in the game.

The "Genericaster" guitar controller bundled with Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour (pictured is the PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3
guitar controller). Unlike previous Guitar
Guitar
Hero controllers, this controller is not based on a real guitar.

Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour, previously named Guitar
Guitar
Hero IV, is the fourth full game in the series and was released on October 26, 2008 for PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and Wii. Analysts had expected that future Guitar
Guitar
Hero games in 2008 would include additional instrument peripherals to compete against Rock Band;[43] Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour was confirmed as in development following the announcement of the merger between Activision
Activision
and Vivendi Games
Vivendi Games
in December 2007.[44] Activision's CEO Bobby Kotick announced on April 21, 2008 that Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour will branch out into other instruments including vocals.[45] Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour includes drums and vocals, and can be bought packaged with a new drum set controller, a microphone, and the standard guitar controller.[46] A larger number of real-world musicians appear as playable characters, including Jimi Hendrix, Billy Corgan, Hayley Williams, Zakk Wylde, Ted Nugent, Travis Barker, Sting, and Ozzy Osbourne. Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour also features custom song creation that can be shared with others.[46] Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5, the fifth main entry in the series, was confirmed in December 2008.[47] It was released on September 1, 2009, and includes 85 songs from 83 different artists. The game includes new game modes and features, including its 'Party Mode,' which gives players the ability to drop-in and out and change difficulties in the middle of a song. Artists including Johnny Cash, Matt Bellamy, Carlos Santana, Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain
and Shirley Manson
Shirley Manson
appear as playable characters in the game.[48] Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Warriors of Rock, the sixth main console game in the series, was released on September 28, 2010. It is the last game in the series developed by Neversoft's Guitar
Guitar
Hero division prior to its dissolution, with Vicarious Visions
Vicarious Visions
assisting on the Wii
Wii
version with added Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS
functionality. The game has been described as returning to the roots of the Guitar
Guitar
Hero series; while it still allows for full band play, the soundtrack's focus is on rock and roll music and an emphasis on guitar "shredding".[49] The game introduced a career-based "Quest Mode", narrated by Gene Simmons, that guides the players to complete songs to unlock "warriors of rock" to join them in saving "demigod of rock" and his guitar from his imprisonment by "the Beast".[50][51] Following a five-year hiatus, as described below, Activision
Activision
announced Guitar Hero Live
Guitar Hero Live
for release in late 2015 on most seventh-generation and eighth-generation consoles. Live was developed to rebuild the game from the ground up, and while the gameplay remains similar to the earlier titles, focusing primarily on the lead guitar, it uses a 3-button guitar controller with each button having "up" and "down" positions, making for more complex tabulators. The game using live footage of a rock concert, taken from the perspective of the lead guitarist, as to provide a more immersive experience.[52] Series expansions Guitar
Guitar
Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s for the PlayStation 2, which was released in July 2007, was the final game developed by Harmonix
Harmonix
for the series.[53] Though it was produced after Harmonix
Harmonix
were purchased by MTV Games, it was part of their contractual obligation to complete the game. The game, as suggested by its name, features tracks primarily from the 1980s. Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Aerosmith
Aerosmith
was the first band-centric game for the series. On September 4, 2007, Billboard announced that the band Aerosmith
Aerosmith
was "working closely with the makers of Guitar
Guitar
Hero IV, which will be dedicated to the group's music."[54] On February 15, 2008, Activision announced that Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Aerosmith
Aerosmith
would be released on June 29, 2008.[55][56][57] Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Aerosmith
Aerosmith
is developed by Neversoft
Neversoft
for the Xbox 360
Xbox 360
and PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3
versions, while the Wii
Wii
version of the game is developed by Vicarious Visions
Vicarious Visions
and the PlayStation 2
PlayStation 2
version is developed by Budcat Creations.[58] The game features a track selection composed of 60% of Aerosmith
Aerosmith
songs, with other songs from Joe Perry's solo work or artists that have inspired or performed with Aerosmith, including Run D.M.C.. The series' next band-centric title, Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Metallica, was released on March 29, 2009. Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Metallica
Metallica
is based on the full band experience of World Tour while offering similar features on Metallica's history and music as found in Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Aerosmith.[59] In addition, Metallica's album, Death Magnetic, was available as downloadable content for Guitar
Guitar
Hero III simultaneously with the release of the album, with the content being forward-compatible with Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour and Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Metallica. Since the PlayStation 2
PlayStation 2
version does not support downloading, three extra songs were included from Death Magnetic
Death Magnetic
and are as follows: "Broken, Beat, and Scarred", "Cyanide", and "My Apocalypse".[59][60] A new feature in the game, where the drummer can access a mode called Expert+, has also been added. Expert+ mode was implemented to allow faster bass pedal beats, fast to the point where it would normally be out of the playable range of a single bass pedal, and was intended for a dual bass pedal. Guitar
Guitar
Hero Smash Hits (titled Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Greatest Hits in Europe and Australia) was released in June 2009. It features full-band versions of 48 songs from earlier Guitar
Guitar
Hero games that only used the guitar controller. Unlike the previous versions, each of the songs is based on a master recording that includes some live tracks.[61] The game follows a similar model as Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Metallica, and was developed by Neversoft
Neversoft
and Beenox Studios
Beenox Studios
for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, and Wii.[62] Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Van Halen
Van Halen
was released on December 22, 2009,[63] though customers that purchased Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5 under a special promotion received a copy of the game early. Like the other band-centric games, Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Van Halen
Van Halen
includes 25 songs from the band Van Halen, including 3 guitar solos by Eddie Van Halen, in addition to 19 guest acts such as Queen, Weezer, Blink-182, Foo Fighters, The Offspring
The Offspring
and Queens of the Stone Age.[64][65] Another new title to the series, Band Hero, was announced in May 2009. Band Hero
Band Hero
features Top 40 hits aimed at family audiences, and include the full band play style of Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5.[64] The game was developed for the Nintendo
Nintendo
DS, using the Guitar
Guitar
Hero On Tour Guitar
Guitar
Grip, a new "drum skin" to fit the DS Lite, and the DS's microphone to support the full band experience.[66] Musician Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift
appears as a playable character in the game,[67] as do the members of No Doubt. DJ Hero
DJ Hero
was announced by Activision
Activision
in May 2009. Prior to the announcement, the company had purchased FreeStyleGames, a small developer of music games, to help produce localized downloadable content for Guitar
Guitar
Hero games and a then-unannounced music game, later revealed to be DJ Hero.[68] DJ Hero
DJ Hero
uses a special turntable-based controller for players to perform with on various song mixes in the game. The game also incorporates the use of a Guitar
Guitar
Hero controller on ten specially arranged tracks; Bright has suggested that future Guitar
Guitar
Hero games after Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5 may include the use of the turntable control.[69] A sequel, DJ Hero
DJ Hero
2, was officially announced in June 2010 for release in the last quarter of 2010, featuring more than 70 mashups from over 85 artists.[70] The game includes several new gameplay modes, including an "Empire" career mode, head-to-head DJ battles, social multiplayer modes, and a jump-in and out Party Play mode similar to Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5. The game also includes more vocal options for singing and rapping to songs, and a freestyle mode for players.[70] Portable versions Main article: Guitar
Guitar
Hero: On Tour series

The " Guitar
Guitar
Grip", developed by Vicarious Visions
Vicarious Visions
for the Nintendo
Nintendo
DS series Guitar
Guitar
Hero: On Tour provides four fret buttons for the game, while strumming is done on the DS touchscreen by use of a pick-shaped stylus.

Guitar
Guitar
Hero: On Tour was released on the Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS
hand-held system on June 22, 2008. The game includes a peripheral, dubbed the "Guitar Grip", a rectangular device that fits into the second slot of the Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS
or DS Lite. The peripheral only features the first four fret buttons and a strap so the Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS
can be held sideways comfortably for play. The game also includes a guitar pick shaped stylus for use with strumming in the game, which players move across the touchscreen.[71] Guitar
Guitar
Hero: On Tour was developed by Vicarious Visions, who also ported the Guitar
Guitar
Hero games to Nintendo's Wii console. A sequel, Guitar
Guitar
Hero On Tour: Decades, was released in November 2008, featuring music spanning four decades.[72] A third title in the series, Guitar
Guitar
Hero On Tour: Modern Hits, was announced following various rumors of its existence,[73][74] and was released in June 2009, featuring songs recorded since the year 2000.[62][75][76] Both games use the " Guitar
Guitar
Grip" controller, and allow two players to compete against each other using any version of the On Tour series, with songs being shared between versions.[72] Band Hero
Band Hero
was also ported to the Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS
by Vicarious Visions, expanding the play to include vocals (through the DS microphone) and drumming. The drumming uses a special "drum skin" adapter designed for the Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS
Lite to map the unit's face buttons to four drum pads. However, the peripheral is not compatible with the original Nintendo DS model or the Nintendo
Nintendo
DSi. However, since the drum skin is not electronic but a rubber cover switch that duplicates certain buttons on the DS Lite, a player can simply press the buttons in time to play the drums. The game includes four-player local wireless play in a similar manner as Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5 allowing any combination of instruments to be used. The game has a set of 30 songs; some are from Band Hero
Band Hero
and others are from several Guitar
Guitar
Hero games' set lists. Guitar
Guitar
Hero: On Tour does not work on the Nintendo
Nintendo
DSi and Nintendo 3DS because unlike the Nintendo
Nintendo
DS, they do not have Game Boy Advance slots. Band Hero
Band Hero
is limited to vocals and drums on the two consoles for the same reason. Mobile phone
Mobile phone
versions Main article: Guitar
Guitar
Hero Mobile series Guitar
Guitar
Hero III Mobile was released for mobile phones in 2007 and 2008, and was developed by MachineWorks Northwest LLC. The base version of the game includes 15 songs from both Guitar
Guitar
Hero II and Guitar
Guitar
Hero III, and has released a three-song add-on pack every month since January 2008. The title has been downloaded by users one million times, with both Verizon
Verizon
and Hands-On Mobile claiming that over 250,000 songs are played a day on the platform.[77] The two companies produced two other mobile-based Guitar
Guitar
Hero games; Guitar
Guitar
Hero III: Backstage Pass, released in July 2008, adds role-playing elements to manage the band's success in addition to the core rhythm game,[78] while the mobile version of Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour, released in December 2008, expands each included track for play on both lead guitar and drums, mimicking the expansion of the console series to the full band.[79] Glu Mobile
Glu Mobile
developed the mobile version of Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5, released in the last quarter of 2009.[80] Other games

Guitar
Guitar
Hero Arcade

Activision
Activision
and RedOctane
RedOctane
also worked with Basic Fun, Inc. to produce Guitar
Guitar
Hero Carabiner, a handheld electronic game that features 30 and 60-second clips of ten of the songs from Guitar
Guitar
Hero and Guitar
Guitar
Hero II.[81][82]

Activision
Activision
and Konami, who had previously worked together to make sure that the Guitar
Guitar
Hero series meets with Konami's patents on music games, developed an arcade console version of the game, titled Guitar Hero Arcade, distributed to arcades in early 2009. The game is completely based on the Guitar
Guitar
Hero III gameplay, but reducing some of the features such as the use of the Whammy bar, Star Power Button (Star Power may only be activated by lifting the Guitar) and Practice Modes, but keeping the ability to download new songs for the cabinet from the Internet.[83] The arcade game has come under some scrutiny by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers
American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers
(ASCAP), who believe the use of the game in arcades is equivalent to "public performances" and seek additional fees to be paid by operators of the game.[84] Planned games The double release of Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5 and Band Hero
Band Hero
in 2009 were the last of the series' games to be released on PlayStation 2.[85] It was expected that the 2010 entry for Guitar
Guitar
Hero, Warriors of Rock, would be the final entry developed by Neversoft, based on claims that Neversoft
Neversoft
would be letting go of its Guitar
Guitar
Hero division, with Vicarious Visions
Vicarious Visions
likely poised to take over future development.[16] Further industry rumors pointed at the closure of RedOctane
RedOctane
Studios and Underground Development
Underground Development
(the development studio for Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Van Halen) as further results from the scaling-back; Activision
Activision
moved the controller hardware development within their own division to continue to support the series,[86] with RedOctane
RedOctane
founders Kai and Charles Huang remaining with Activision.[87] A week prior to these announcements, the Guitar
Guitar
Hero division CEO at Activision, Dan Rosensweig, left the company, leading to some speculation on whether Rosensweig's departure influenced these changes.[88] Activision
Activision
and RedOctane
RedOctane
had trademarked the titles " Guitar
Guitar
Villain", "Drum Villain", "Keyboard Hero" and "Sing Hero".[89][90] RedOctane
RedOctane
originally trademarked the titles "Drum Hero" and "Band Hero", but the work performed towards the Drum Hero title was eventually folded into the gameplay for Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour, and Band Hero
Band Hero
became its own game.[46] Later, as of October 2009, Activision
Activision
reapplied for a Drum Hero trademark.[91] Pi Studios, which had previously helped to port Rock Band
Rock Band
to the Wii, had started work on the karaoke title Sing Hero before Activision
Activision
cancelled its development.[92] Dance Hero would be in development before being cancelled.[93] Several ideas for the game later made it into Shake It Up. Dave Mustaine, frontman for Megadeth, stated he had been in talks with Activision
Activision
and Neversoft
Neversoft
for a Guitar
Guitar
Hero-related product.[94] It was later revealed that Dave Mustaine
Dave Mustaine
was working with Activision
Activision
for music in Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Warriors of Rock, including an original track ("Sudden Death") recorded specifically for the game. Two Guitar
Guitar
Hero products that were announced but never released were a Red Hot Chili Peppers-themed title[95] and a PlayStation Portable title that would have featured a drum component.[96] Gameplay

Gameplay of a single player playing Pantera's "Cowboys From Hell". The player in Guitar
Guitar
Hero must play the colored notes on the fret board in time with the music as they scroll through the target at the bottom. The score and current score multiplier are shown on the bottom left. The Rock Meter dial and Star Power indicator are shown on the bottom right. The remainder of the screen shows the player's character and band as they perform to the music.

The core gameplay of the Guitar
Guitar
Hero games is a rhythm game similar to Konami's Guitar
Guitar
Freaks[38] and to a lesser extent Harmonix's previous music games such as Frequency and Amplitude. The guitar controller is recommended for play, although a standard console controller can be used instead.[97][98] However, the guitar controller has been required for play ever since the inclusion of drum and vocal parts in the series. The game supports toggling the handedness of the guitar, allowing both left-handed and right-handed players to utilize the guitar controller.[97][98] While playing the game, an extended guitar neck is shown vertically on the screen (the frets horizontal), often called the "note highway", and as the song progresses, colored markers or "gems" indicating notes travel down the screen in time with the music; the note colors and positions match those of the five fret keys on the guitar controller. Once the note(s) reach the bottom, the player must play the indicated note(s) by holding down the correct fret button(s) and hitting the strumming bar in order to score points. Success or failure will cause the on-screen Rock Meter to change, showing how well the player is playing (denoted by red, yellow, and green sections). Should the Rock Meter drop below the red section, the song will automatically end, with the player booed off the stage by the audience. Successful note hits will add to the player's score, and by hitting a long series of consecutive successful note hits, the player can increase their score multiplier. There is a window of time for hitting each note, similar to other rhythm games such as Dance Dance Revolution, but unlike these games, scoring in Guitar
Guitar
Hero is not affected by accuracy; as long as the note is hit within that window, the player receives the same number of points.[97][98] Selected special segments of the song will have glowing notes outlined by stars: successfully hitting all notes in this series will fill the "Star Power Meter". The Star Power Meter can also be filled by using the whammy bar during sustained notes within these segments. Once the Star Power Meter is at least half full, the player can activate "Star Power" by pressing the select button or momentarily lifting the guitar into a vertical position. When Star Power is activated, the scoring multiplier is doubled until Star Power is depleted. The Rock Meter also increases more dramatically when Star Power is activated, making it easier for the player to make the Rock Meter stay at a high level. Thus, Star Power can be used strategically to play difficult sections of a song that otherwise might cause the player to fail.[97][98] In the earlier entries of the series (up until Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Aerosmith), activating Star Power meant that players could not accrue more Star Power until the Star Power meter was fully drained and the effect ended. Starting with Guitar
Guitar
Hero: World Tour, more Star Power can be collected even if the effect is active by completing more Star Power phrases, extending the Star Power's duration by doing so. When playing in cooperative play (with a bassist/rhythm guitarist in Guitar
Guitar
Hero II through Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Aerosmith
Aerosmith
or as a band in Guitar
Guitar
Hero: World Tour), Star Power is shared between all the players and activation of Star Power is dependent on all players simultaneously activating it. Notes can be a single note, or composed of two to five notes that make a chord. Both single notes and chords can also be sustained, indicated by a colored line following the note marker; the player can hold the sustained note(s) keys down for the entire length for additional points. During a sustained note, a player may use the whammy bar on the guitar to alter the tone of the note. Also, regardless of whether sustains are hit early or late, if the fret is held for the full duration of the hold, the game will always award the same amount of score increase for the note. In addition, the games support virtual implementations of "hammer-ons" and "pull-offs", guitar-playing techniques that are used to successfully play a fast series of notes by only changing the fingering on the fret buttons without having to strum each note. Sequences where strumming is not required are indicated on-screen by notes with a white outline at the top of the marker instead of the usual black one, with Guitar
Guitar
Hero III: Legends of Rock adding a white-glowing effect to make these notes clearer.[97][98] Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour features transparent notes that are connected by a purple outline; players may either simply tap the correct fret for these notes without strumming or utilize a touchpad on World Tour's guitar controller to mimic the slide technique. In addition, notes can now be played while a sustained note is being played. World Tour also adds an open string note for bass players, represented by a line across the fret instead of any note gems, that is played by strumming without holding down any fret buttons (the sixth installment, Warriors of Rock, features an open note sustain for bass instruments as well).

Gameplay of a whole band in Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour playing Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell". On top are vocals, bottom from left to right: lead guitar, drums and bass guitar.

Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour introduced drums and vocal tracks in addition to lead and bass guitar. Drum tracks are played similar to guitar tracks; the player must strike the appropriate drum head or step down on the bass drum pedal on the controller when the note gems pass the indicated line. Certain note gems, when using a drum controller that is velocity-sensitive, are "armored", requiring the player to hit the indicated drum pad harder to score more points. Vocal tracks are played similar to games such as Karaoke Revolution
Karaoke Revolution
where the player must match the pitch and the pacing of the lyrics to score points. Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5 allows players to create a band of up to four players using any combination of instruments.[99] While the song is playing, the background visuals feature the players' chosen avatar, along with the rest of the band performing in one of several real and fictional venues. The reaction of the audience is based on the performance of the player judged by the Rock Meter. Guitar
Guitar
Hero II added special lighting and other stage effects that were synchronized to the music to provide a more complete concert experience.[97][98] The games developed by Neversoft
Neversoft
feature a simple storyline, usually about a band's quest for fame, which is told through animations played throughout the game. These animations were created by Chris Prynoski
Chris Prynoski
and his studio, Titmouse, Inc., who have also done animations for the animated show Metalocalypse.[100] Game modes

In Guitar
Guitar
Hero III's two-player "Battle Mode", each player attempts to interfere with their opponent's performance using special power-ups while avoiding being distracted by those thrown by the opponent.

The main mode of play in the Guitar
Guitar
Hero games is Career Mode, where the player and in-game band travel between various fictional performance arenas and perform sets of four to six songs. It is by completing songs in this mode that the songs are unlocked for play across the rest of the game. Players can choose their on-stage character, their guitar of choice, and the venue in which they wish to play. In this mode, the player can earn money from his/her performances that is redeemable at the in-game store, where bonus songs, additional guitars and finishes, your characters clothing and bonus content can be unlocked. Quick Play mode is a quicker method of playing songs, as it allows the player to select a track and difficulty, selecting the character, venue, and guitar and guitar skin for the player based on the song chosen. After successfully completing a song, the player is given a score, a percentage of how many notes they hit and a rating from three to five stars, and two in rare cases depending on his/her final score on the song, with money being awarded in Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour.[97][98] The games have also added multiplayer modes. Cooperative modes allow two players to play lead and either bass or rhythm guitar on the same song, working together towards the same score. A competitive Face-Off mode allows two players to play against each other at different difficulty levels, each attempting to earn the best score on a song. Each player plays different portions of the song. There is also a Pro Face-Off mode, where two players battle at the same difficulty level. Unlike standard Face-off, each player attempts to play all of the notes in a song, while still trying to earn the highest score. In Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour this was advanced on, as players could play a Pro Face-Off game against each other on any difficulty level, the lower your difficulty, the more points were awarded so a player on a low difficulty could potentially beat a player on a more challenging difficulty. Guitar
Guitar
Hero III introduced Boss Battles, in which two players face off against each other, attempt to collect "distractions" to throw at their opponent, trying to make them fail. With Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour, up to four players can play cooperatively on lead and bass guitar, drums, and vocals, while a total of eight players can compete in a Battle of the Bands. The Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii versions of the games support multiplayer modes over their respective network services. The four difficulty levels for each song afford the player a learning curve in order to help him/her progress in skill. The first difficulty level, Easy, only focuses on the first three fret buttons while displaying a significantly reduced number of notes for the player to play. Medium introduces the fourth (blue) fret button, and Hard includes the final fret button while adding additional notes. The addition of the orange fret button forces players to move their fingers up and down the neck. Expert does not introduce any other frets to learn, but adds more notes in a manner designed to challenge the player and to simulate the player's hands to move in a sequence similar to a real guitar. A difficulty added in World Tour is Beginner, which only requires the player to strum to the basic rhythm; holding the fret buttons becomes unnecessary.[97][98] Another new difficulty only for drums was added to Metallica
Metallica
known as Expert+, which uses the double bass pedal. Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Warriors of Rock is the sixth installment in the franchise and introduced a new take on the Career mode of previous games. Rather than being a quest for fame and glory with the band travelling through different venues, Warriors of Rock features the "Quest Mode" as the primary campaign mode. Quest Mode tells the story of an ancient warrior who was defeated by a powerful monster and his mystical guitar was lost. The player must amass a team of rockers to help recover this guitar and defeat the monster (called "The Beast"). As the player progresses through the mode, the rockers joining them will transform based on the number of stars earned from songs played. These transformations will empower the player with extra abilities in a song such as constant score multipliers or Star Power bonuses. These abilities are each unique to the individual rockers and by using them effectively, it is possible now to earn up to forty stars for a single song. Characters and customization When playing through Career mode or in other parts of the Guitar
Guitar
Hero games, the player has the option to select one of several pre-created avatar characters, who will be shown performing on stage as the player attempts a song, but otherwise has no effect on the gameplay. A certain number of characters are available at the start of the game, but the player must spend in-game money earned by successful performances to unlock other characters. Many of the characters reappear throughout the series, with the character roster changing as new characters are added or removed. Standby characters that have appeared in nearly all the games include the metalhead Axel Steel, extreme/Viking/thrash metalhead Lars Ümlaut, punk rocker Johnny Napalm, alternative rocker Judy Nails, and hard rocker Casey Lynch. The developers utilized these characters in more detail within Warriors of Rock, where each was given a unique setlist and venue based on their musical style, as well as a unique power within the game's Quest mode. Several games in the series feature caricatures of celebrity artists, such as Slash, Tom Morello
Tom Morello
and Bret Michaels
Bret Michaels
in Guitar
Guitar
Hero III, Ozzy Osbourne and Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
in World Tour, Kurt Cobain
Kurt Cobain
in Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5, and Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift
and the band No Doubt
No Doubt
in Band Hero. The band-specific games, Aerosmith, Metallica, and Van Halen
Van Halen
also feature the members of the respective bands. However, in late 2009, both Courtney Love
Courtney Love
and the members of No Doubt
No Doubt
sought legal action against Activision
Activision
for the misuse of their in-game characters singing or performing songs by other artists, which the musicians believe fell outside of their contract. The ability for the players to create their own avatars was added in Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour, and was based on Neversoft's existing character creation tools from the Tony Hawk series. Later games on the Xbox 360
Xbox 360
and Wii
Wii
allowed players to use the respective console's avatars as members of the band. In addition to unlocking characters, in-game money can be used to buy clothing, accessories and instruments that they are seen playing with. The guitars can also be customized with special finishes purchasable through the in-game store. Guitar Hero World Tour includes the ability to fully customize any component of the guitar. The in-game store in the series is also used to unlock bonus songs or special videos with interviews about the game or with the artists involved. Soundtracks Most of the games in the Guitar
Guitar
Hero series feature a selection of songs ranging from the 1960s to present day rock music from both highly successful artists and bands and independent groups. Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s features songs primarily from the 1980s, while Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Aerosmith, Metallica, and Van Halen
Van Halen
feature music from the respective bands and groups that inspired or worked with the bands. Songs with profanities have been censored. Many of the Guitar
Guitar
Hero games developed for the recent generation of consoles (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii) support downloadable content, allowing players to purchase new songs to play in the respective titles. Songs each cost approximately $2 through the various online stores for the console's platform. Prior to Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5, downloadable content for earlier games will not work in other games in the series, save for songs from Metallica's Death Magnetic, which were available for Guitar
Guitar
Hero III, World Tour, and Metallica.[101] Existing World Tour downloadable content for World Tour will be forward-compatible with Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5, Band Hero[99] and Guitar
Guitar
Hero Warriors of Rock, and for a small fee, some songs from both Guitar Hero World Tour and Guitar
Guitar
Hero Smash Hits can be exported to both Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5 and Band Hero, limited by music licensing.[102] Activision
Activision
has also stated that they are considering a monthly subscription service to deliver downloadable content to user for future games.[103] Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour introduced a music creation mode that will allow players to create and share songs (excluding vocals) via the "GHTunes" service, which was also used in all other Guitar
Guitar
Hero games and Band Hero
Band Hero
since its inclusion. The creation tools were improved with Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5 and Band Hero
Band Hero
to allow longer songs and other means of generating songs in real-time. In the first two games and the 2007 expansion Guitar
Guitar
Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s, the majority of the songs on the main career mode set lists are covers of the original song; for example, a song may be presented as " Free Bird
Free Bird
as made famous by Lynyrd Skynyrd".[104] Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock introduces a much larger range of original recordings, and World Tour featured a setlist that contained all master recordings. The covers throughout the games are mostly recreated by WaveGroup Sound who has worked before to create songs for Beatmania, Dance Dance Revolution, and Karaoke
Karaoke
Revolution,[105] making small changes to the guitar portions to make them more adaptable for gameplay.[106] Almost all of the unlockable bonus songs are songs performed by the original artist for the game (the only exception is the song "She Bangs the Drums" by The Stone Roses, which is featured in Guitar
Guitar
Hero III: Legends of Rock). Prior to the release of Guitar
Guitar
Hero III: Legends of Rock, Activision worked with the iTunes Store to provide more than 1300 tracks of Guitar
Guitar
Hero-related music across more than 20 compilations, including most of the tracks from the games in the series, called " Guitar
Guitar
Hero Essentials". These compilations, such as "Killer Guitar
Guitar
Solos" and " Guitar
Guitar
Anthems of the '80s", include songs related to but not contained within the Guitar
Guitar
Hero series. Dusty Welch of RedOctane stated, "Where there’s music, there’s Guitar
Guitar
Hero, and with iTunes, we are able to provide fans with a central location for downloading their favorite rock anthems."[107] Following the merger of Activision
Activision
and Blizzard, the new company announced plans to create an alternative to iTunes based on the Guitar
Guitar
Hero brand that would allow for downloading songs and their associated note tracks for the Guitar Hero games.[108] Reception and sales

Aggregate review scores As of December 25, 2010.

Game GameRankings Metacritic

Guitar
Guitar
Hero (PS2) 91.96%[109] (PS2) 91[110]

Guitar
Guitar
Hero II (X360) 92.29%[111] (PS2) 92.07%[112] (X360) 92[113] (PS2) 92[114]

Guitar
Guitar
Hero III: Legends of Rock (Wii) 86.26%[115] (X360) 85.75%[116] (PS2) 85.50%[117] (PS3) 83.77%[118] (PC) 78.00%[119] (Wii) 86[120] (X360) 85[121] (PS3) 83[122] (PS2) 82[123] (PC) 79[124]

Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour (Wii) 86.28%[125] (X360) 84.44%[126] (PS3) 83.33%[127] (PS2) 81.20%[128] (Wii) 86[129] (X360) 85[130] (PS3) 84[131]

Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5 (Wii) 89.58%[132] (PS3) 86.58%[133] (X360) 85.66%[134] (PS2) 45.00%[135] (Wii) 89[136] (PS3) 86[137] (X360) 85[138] (PS2) 71[139]

Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Warriors of Rock (Wii) 80.07%[140] (X360) 75.20%[141] (PS3) 74.35%[142] (Wii) 77[143] (PS3) 74[144] (X360) 72[145]

Guitar
Guitar
Hero Live (WIIU) 83.75%[146] (PS4) 81.91%[147] (XONE) 80.93%[148] (WIIU) 84/100[149] (XONE) 81/100[150] (PS4) 80/100[151]

Games in the Guitar
Guitar
Hero series have been generally well received by critics. The initial games were highly praised by reviewers.[152][153][154][155] Neversoft's first entry to the series, Guitar
Guitar
Hero III, was considered to be too difficult, with many difficult songs presenting players with "walls of notes"; the developers later acknowledged this.[156][157][158] Subsequent efforts in Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Aerosmith
Aerosmith
and Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour were seen to have some improvements, with Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Metallica
Metallica
considered to be a well-polished title and, at that time, the best Guitar
Guitar
Hero title Neversoft
Neversoft
has produced.[159][160] Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5's improvements toward social gameplay were complemented by reviewers and considered a further improvement upon the series. Entertainment Weekly
Entertainment Weekly
put it on its end-of-the-decade, "best-of" list, saying, "An addictive videogame provides the illusion of musical mastery for even the least gifted:. How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Tap, tap, tap."[161] Upon release, the first game was seen as an unexpected hit, earning over US$45 million with about 1.5 million copies sold.[162][163][164] Guitar
Guitar
Hero II was significantly more financially successful, with over 1.3 million copies sold and sales over US$200 million.[162][165] Guitar
Guitar
Hero III, according to Activision, was the first single video game to sell more than US$1 billion at retail, with nearly 3.5 million copies sold during the first seven months of 2008.[166][167] World Tour continued the series' high sales records with 3.4 million units sold in the United States during 2008.[168] More than 60 million downloadable tracks have been purchased across the series as of February 2010.[15] Both Guitar
Guitar
Hero III and World Tour were listed on a March 2011 list from the NPD Group of top grossing games in unadjusted sales in the United States since 1995; Guitar
Guitar
Hero III tops the list with total sales of $830.9 million.[169] Overall, the Guitar
Guitar
Hero series has sold more than 25 million units worldwide, earning US$2 billion at retail. Activision
Activision
claimed the series to be the 3rd largest game franchise in 2009 after the Mario and Madden NFL
Madden NFL
franchises.[170][171][172][173] Cultural impact Main article: Cultural impact of the Guitar
Guitar
Hero series The Guitar
Guitar
Hero series has made a significant cultural impact, becoming a "cultural phenomenon".[42][174] The series has helped to rekindle music education in children, influenced changes in both the video game and music industry, has found use in health and treatment of recovering patients, and has become part of the popular culture vernacular. Several journalists, including 1UP.com,[175] Wired,[176] G4TV,[177] the San Jose Mercury News,[178] Inc.,[179] The Guardian,[180] and Advertising Age,[181] considered Guitar
Guitar
Hero to be one of the most influential products of the first decade of the 21st century, attributing it as the spark leading to the growth of the rhythm game market, for boosting music sales for both new and old artists, for introducing more social gaming concepts to the video game market, and, in conjunction with the Wii, for improving interactivity with gaming consoles. Legal and practical issues PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3
incompatibility Sony's PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3
console has no compatibility with the PlayStation 2 Guitar
Guitar
Hero controller on the system. While Guitar
Guitar
Hero and Guitar Hero II are fully backward-compatible through the hardware PlayStation 2 emulation in the initial North American release of the console, it was impossible at launch to use the guitar controller to play either game. Kai Huang, of RedOctane, states that they are "working on that with Sony right now – looking at how we can get all the PlayStation 2 guitars that are out there, and all the owners of them, to use them on the PlayStation 3."[182] Nyko, an accessories company, was poised to make a special PlayStation 2
PlayStation 2
controller adapter for the PlayStation 3, but put the product on hold due to technical difficulties. Tac, another accessories company, also made a PlayStation 2
PlayStation 2
controller adapter for a PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3
game console so players could use their Guitar
Guitar
Hero guitar controllers that were made for the PlayStation 2 with a PlayStation 3.[183] However, the May 2007 PlayStation 3
PlayStation 3
V1.80 system update has made the guitar controller compatible with generic PlayStation 2
PlayStation 2
controller to USB adapters when playing Guitar
Guitar
Hero and Guitar
Guitar
Hero II.[184] In addition, Pelican Accessories has released a special controller adapter that supports both games, including the ability to switch the handedness of the guitar.[185] Patent litigation Gibson Guitar
Guitar
Corporation, whose guitar likenesses have appeared in the Guitar
Guitar
Hero series from the first game to Guitar
Guitar
Hero Aerosmith, informed Activision
Activision
on January 7, 2008, that it believed the games infringe its U.S. Patent 5,990,405. Gibson claimed that this covers technology that simulates a concert performance via pre-recorded audio and a musical instrument. In response, Activision
Activision
filed a suit seeking a declaration that it was not in violation of the Gibson patent; Activision
Activision
also asserted that Gibson had given an implied license by waiting to assert the patent and that the patent was invalid.[186] On March 17, 2008, Gibson sued six retailers (GameStop, Amazon.com, Wal-Mart, Target, Toys "R" Us
Toys "R" Us
and Kmart) for selling Guitar
Guitar
Hero products.[187][188] Subsequently, on March 21, 2008, Gibson also filed a lawsuit against EA, MTV, and Harmonix
Harmonix
over their game Rock Band
Rock Band
also for violation of its patent, to which a Harmonix
Harmonix
spokesperson stated that Gibson's claims are "completely without merit".[189] Activision lawyer Mary Tuck stated in their legal filings that they believe that Gibson initiated the lawsuit due to the fact that " Activision
Activision
was not [interested] in renewing the License and Marketing Support Agreement" with Gibson Guitars.[190] In February 2009, the United States District Court for the Central District of California ruled against Gibson in their case against Activision, stating that the controllers are not musical instruments but "toys that represent other items", and that Gibson's patent only covers instruments that send out analog signals.[191][192] Activision
Activision
and Gibson settled the suit following this ruling.[193] Activision, through John Devecka,[194] owns all of Devecka Enterprises' US and international patents[195][196][197] that deal with music games. All patents issued by the USPTO are presumed valid.[198][199] In February 2010, Activision
Activision
was sued by the Patent Compliance Group (PCG) for releasing Guitar
Guitar
Hero products with false patent claims, with the PCG asserting that games like Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5 and Band Hero were marked with up to 10 patents that are not used within the games along with several other improper patent pending claims. PCG claimed that "Acts of false marketing deter innovation and stifle competition in the marketplace." PCG's qui tam lawsuit was seeking up to $500 per unit sold if Activision
Activision
was found liable.[200] However, by June 2010, PCG had withdrawn the case without prejudice.[201] Oversaturation

A timeline of the major North American releases for the Guitar
Guitar
Hero series from 2005 to 2011

Many critics believed that the number of releases of Guitar
Guitar
Hero games was "milking" the brand name and oversaturating the market.[14][202][203] PaRappa the Rapper
PaRappa the Rapper
creator Masaya Matsuura stated that the video game market was growing stale and needed to move beyond games that simply challenge the player to mimic the playing of licensed music.[204] Ryan Geddes of IGN
IGN
stated that he "hit the wall with play-along music games", and challenged the game makers to explore other ways to combine music and video games.[205] Analysts stated that such games must continue to innovate instead of just providing more songs in order to prevent "genre fatigue".[206] Jesse Divnich of Electronic Entertainment and Design Research commented that, much like Dance Dance Revolution, Guitar
Guitar
Hero and other music games explosively grew initially due to significant new features from other games but have become stagnant due to focusing on content over features, and suggested that for the genre to continue to grow, they must look to incremental changes as done with the first-person shooter genre.[207] Former CEO for RedOctane, Kelly Sumner, believed that Activision
Activision
"abused" the series, as "they tried to get too much out of the franchise too quickly".[208] The series has also been criticized for its release model in contrast to the Rock Band
Rock Band
series, causing some players to hold contempt towards Activision.[209][210] Harmonix
Harmonix
considered the Rock Band
Rock Band
series as a "music platform", and supported it with downloadable content and the ability to import songs from its games and expansions into most other games of the series.[211] Critics argued that Guitar
Guitar
Hero should have been doing the same, either through releasing expansions that could be incorporated into the main games of the series, or by issuing the songs as downloadable content.[212][213][214][215] The release of Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Smash Hits, reworking older songs from the series to full four-instrument band support but otherwise adding no additional material, was called "the definition of 'milking'" by reviewers, with no observable technical limitation as to why the songs could not be added as downloadable content.[209][213][216][217][218] Ars Technica recognized that licensing issues might have limited when songs from one single game could be played in others of the series (such as the case for The Beatles: Rock Band), but that such cross-compatibility should have been a high priority for rhythm games.[219] Furthermore, some expansions were praised for the additional content beyond the note-matching gameplay; Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Metallica
Metallica
is considered to be one of the series' best works to be developed by Neversoft
Neversoft
in part due to the care that the developers took with imaging the band and the available extras for the game.[212] Activision
Activision
later revealed that both Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5 and Band Hero
Band Hero
would support playing songs from both Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour (both on-disc and downloadable content) and Guitar
Guitar
Hero Smash Hits, with music licensing being the only limiting factor on which songs could be made forward-compatible.[102] The large number of Guitar
Guitar
Hero and Rock Band
Rock Band
titles on the market is considered to be partially responsible for the sharp decline of music game sales in the latter half of 2009, along with the effects of the late-2000s recession.[12][14][202][220] The market for rhythm games was $1.4 billion in 2008, but dropped to $700 million in 2009 even though more titles were available that year.[221] Former Neversoft project director Brian Bright noted that at one point in 2009, they were responsible for the release of three games that year ( Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5, Metallica, and Band Hero) and supporting other studios for the development of two additional games, causing the studio to lose focus both in development and marketing efforts.[222] According to Bright, sales of all the Guitar
Guitar
Hero games released in 2009 totaled the number of sales of the 2008 title World Tour, demonstrating the dilution of the marketing.[222] Though Activision
Activision
had originally planned on tripling the offerings of the Guitar
Guitar
Hero series in 2010,[223][224][225] the company readjusted their plans, reducing the number of offerings and focusing more on selling digital downloadable content for the series.[226] Only two titles, Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Warriors of Rock and DJ Hero
DJ Hero
2 were released in 2010,[15] both scheduled for the "back half of 2010".[227] Analysts believe that the market will evolve to support a smaller number of titles each year, averaging at a "healthy" value $500–600 million in revenues annually.[221] Kotick believed that part of the downfall of Guitar
Guitar
Hero was due to Activision's introduction of DJ Hero, which they gave too much focus and left the core Guitar
Guitar
Hero games without the "nourishment and care" needed to continue to innovate in the series.[24] Activision
Activision
Publishing chief executive Mike Griffith, in response to questions about Activision's approach to the Guitar
Guitar
Hero market, noted that Guitar
Guitar
Hero continues to outsell the Rock Band
Rock Band
series in both number of sales and revenue, with consumers continuing to buy the separate games on the market, and considered the market acceptance of the multiple games as validation for their model.[228] Regardless, after releasing 25 different SKUs (between games and bundle packages) in 2009, Activision
Activision
opted to reduce that number to 10 in 2010, recognizing the music game genre was not as profitable as it once was.[15] Activision
Activision
later opted to put future development of the series on hold in early 2011 citing weak sales in the rhythm game genre, a move that many journalists attributed to Activision's earlier oversaturation.[229][230][231][232] List of games All games are published by Activision, except the first Guitar
Guitar
Hero and the PS2 version of Guitar
Guitar
Hero II, which were published by RedOctane.

Year Title Developer(s) Platform

PS2 PS3 PS4 360 Xbox One Wii Wii
Wii
U Win Mac DS Phone Other

Main games

2005 Guitar
Guitar
Hero Harmonix Yes No No No No No No No No No No No

2006 Guitar
Guitar
Hero II Yes No No Yes No No No No No No No No

2007 Guitar
Guitar
Hero III: Legends of Rock Neversoft Budcat Creations
Budcat Creations
(PS2) Vicarious Visions
Vicarious Visions
(Wii) Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No No No

2008 Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No No No

2009 Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5 Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No No No No No No

2010 Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Warriors of Rock Neversoft Vicarious Visions
Vicarious Visions
(Wii) No Yes No Yes No Yes No No No No No No

2015 Guitar
Guitar
Hero Live FreeStyleGames No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No No No Yes No

Band-centric games

2008 Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Aerosmith Neversoft Budcat Creations
Budcat Creations
(PS2) Vicarious Visions
Vicarious Visions
(Wii) Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No Yes Yes No No No

2009 Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Metallica Neversoft Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No No No No No No

Guitar
Guitar
Hero: Van Halen Neversoft Underground Development
Underground Development
(X360) Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No No No No No No

Expansion games

2007 Guitar
Guitar
Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s Harmonix Yes No No No No No No No No No No No

2009 Guitar
Guitar
Hero Smash Hits Beenox Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No No No No No No

Band Hero Neversoft Budcat Creations
Budcat Creations
(PS2) Vicarious Visions
Vicarious Visions
(Wii/DS) Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No No No Yes[Note 1] No No

DJ Hero

2009 DJ Hero FreeStyleGames Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No No No No No No

2010 DJ Hero
DJ Hero
2 No Yes No Yes No Yes No No No No No No

Portable games

2008 Guitar
Guitar
Hero: On Tour Vicarious Visions No No No No No No No No No Yes[Note 2] No No

Guitar
Guitar
Hero On Tour: Decades No No No No No No No No No Yes[Note 2] No No

2009 Guitar
Guitar
Hero on Tour: Modern Hits No No No No No No No No No Yes[Note 2] No No

Mobile series

2007 Guitar
Guitar
Hero III Mobile Machineworks Northwest No No No No No No No No No No Yes No

2008 Guitar
Guitar
Hero III Backstage Pass No No No No No No No No No No Yes No

Guitar
Guitar
Hero World Tour Mobile No No No No No No No No No No Yes No

2009 Guitar
Guitar
Hero 5 Mobile Glu Mobile No No No No No No No No No No Yes No

Other

2007 Guitar
Guitar
Hero Carabiner Basic Fun, Inc. No No No No No No No No No No No Yes

2009 Guitar
Guitar
Hero Arcade Raw Thrills No No No No No No No No No No No Yes

2010 Guitar
Guitar
Hero (iOS) Vicarious Visions No No No No No No No No No No Yes Yes

^ Compatible only with Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS
Lite. The Guitar
Guitar
Grip peripheral plugs into SLOT-2 of the Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS
Lite, which the DSi and 3DS do not have, and the drum peripheral is only sized to fit the DS Lite. ^ a b c Not compatible with Nintendo
Nintendo
DSi series or Nintendo
Nintendo
3DS, as the Guitar
Guitar
Grip peripheral plugs into SLOT-2 on the Nintendo DS
Nintendo DS
and DS Lite, which the DSi and 3DS do not have.

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Guitar
Guitar
Hero (video game).

Alex Necochea and Bryn Bennett: the ' Guitar
Guitar
Heroes' of Bang Camaro on Wikinews " Guitar
Guitar
Queer-O", an episode of South Park Rocksmith, a 2011 video game similar to Guitar
Guitar
Hero that uses a real guitar to teach players songs.

Notes

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Hero investment pays off". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2009-01-17.  ^ "Next venue for ' Guitar
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