Earlier this year, Activision effectively killed off Guitar Hero and DJ Hero. We can’t say we didn’t see it coming. The franchise had not sold as well as it had in the past, and people were just getting tired of hoarding plastic peripherals every time Activision got a bright idea for a new gameplay feature. You may be surprised to know that Activision isn’t done with Guitar Hero yet. It’s coming back, but it will be different.
In an interview with Forbes, Activision CEO Booby Kotick explained what went wrong with Guitar Hero and what the company plans to do to restore its name. Kotick said Activision bought RedOctane, the developers of the original Guitar Hero, because Activision felt it could grow the franchise beyond what RedOctane could do. Activision used its music industry connections to bring more officially licensed songs to the franchise. In the midst of its success, Activision started to develop DJ Hero which was a “passion project.” As we all know, DJ Hero wasn’t as successful as Activision hoped it would be.
“But we created this critically acclaimed, highly rated game –and these are the hardest failures, when you put your heart and soul into it and you deliver an extraordinarily well received game, and nobody shows up to buy it,” Kotick said. “So that’s what happened with DJ Hero.”
Kotick believes the devotion and time that went into creating DJ Hero ended up hurting Guitar Hero.
“At the same time we were so excited about going down this new direction with DJ Hero, I think we abandoned a bit of the innovation that was required in the Guitar Hero franchise.”
Activision is keeping Guitar Hero under the radar for now. Kotick said Activision is “going to go back to the studios and we’re going to use new studios and reinvent Guitar Hero.”