Fans anticipate the ultimate rock-off with release of new games
By Samantha Johnson
The feud between “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band” has been going on for years, and this month only adds fuel to the fire. The wait for gamers and rockers alike will soon be over, but it rages on between the newest games, “Rock Band 4” and “Guitar Hero Live.”
“Rock Band 4” will be released on Oct. 6, and was developed by the company Harmonix. It will be available on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles.
The rivalry between the two games began when “Rock Band” was first developed in 2007. Harmonix developed the game after splitting from the producing company of “Guitar Hero,” RedOctane, which was bought out by Activision in 2006. The last game that was released in the “Rock Band” series was the spinoff, “Rock Band Blitz,” in 2012.
“Rock Band 4” promises its fans thousands of new songs from newer and older bands, from Arctic Monkeys, Imagine Dragons, Elvis Presley and The Cure to Lynyrd Skynyrd and Aerosmith. It claims to have the “most music available of any music game,” according to the “Rock Band 4” website, with 1,500 songs at the player’s disposal.
New features for “Rock Band 4” include the ability to play guitar solos freestyle, although there have been rumors that the player still has to follow a specific set of notes. Gamers are saying that the full-band dynamic is more engaging visually and gives the player a nostalgic experience but with newer songs. The variety of music is also a selling point of the game, but there have been debates about the quality of the song choices.
“Guitar Hero Live” will be released three weeks after “Rock Band 4” on Oct. 20, and it was developed by FreeStyleGames and published by Activision. It promises a greater availability, with titles for the Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4 and Wii U consoles, as well as for AppleTV, iPhone, iPad and “select iPod devices,” according to the “Guitar Hero Live” website.
The last “Guitar Hero” game, “Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock,” was released in 2010, not long after an attempt at a band-centered game, “Band Hero,” in 2009. There have been many expansion games and mobile games in between, but this will be the first main game released in five years. The first and second “Guitar Hero” games were developed by Harmonix before their split in the early 2000s.
“Guitar Hero Live,” in contrast to “Rock Band 4,” claims to be unlike any other music game before it, with the ability to play over music videos and a live audience simulation. The previews for the game made it seem as if the player is performing on a stream to a live audience, but in reality the audiences were recorded ahead of time and will react to the player’s performance similar to the original games before it.
In multiplayer mode, the user can choose from a live playlist, and the level of play between users can be adjusted and paired with someone with a similar skill level.
Fans are already expressing doubts about the live playlist. There are rumors that if the player wanted to repeat a song and play it again, they would have to gain credits by completing songs already set up in the list, or by buying credits with real money. Regardless, fans are still claiming that “Guitar Hero Live” is more accurate regarding how a real guitar is played versus “Rock Band 4,” especially in the expert modes. Fans also say the game gives the user a nostalgic experience with a new twist by creating a more true-to-life concert simulation.
Only time will tell which one achieves more success, but in the meantime fans can go to their websites to find out more at www.rockband4.com and www.guitarhero.com.
Samantha Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SamRayJohnson.