Not long ago, Activision announced they’d be bringing back the Guitar Hero franchise with a new twist.
If you haven’t seen the trailers for Guitar Hero Live yet, take a second and familiarize yourself with it now:
The announcement came around the same time that Harmonix announced a new Rock Band project, and we also got wind of a brand new Tony Hawk Pro Skater, and I swear that something smelled an awful lot like teen spirit that day.
See, for those of us old enough to remember gaming before 2005, a new Guitar Hero game is about as innovative as a new flavor of Mountain Dew.
Yeah, it’s always cool to see what color chemical dye they’ve managed to make edible this time–but the end result always tastes the same: a complicated mix of sugar and sadness.
However, when squeezed between announcements of another Rock Band and a new Tony Hawk Pro Skater, Guitar Hero Live is not just a bad idea in-and-of-itself, but it is also indicative of an issue with the entire industry at large.
Somehow, while designing consoles that were supposed to be the pinnacle of the gaming experience with graphics so good your eyes bleed, we managed to let innovation slip, and suddenly it seems like we’re moving backwards at an alarming rate.
So what exactly is wrong with the current generation of console gaming? The cardinal sin can be summed up in two words:
I don’t know how we, as an industry, are letting it happen without making a peep, but we are roughly two years (three, if you start at the WiiU release) into what was the “next-gen” and you could count the original IPs across consoles on one hand. Yes, we have some standout titles available as “Indie” games, but the major studios are pumping out games that came out three or more years ago with a fresh coat of paint and expecting that to be enough.
Congratulations Sony and Microsoft, you released two new systems without backwards compatibility, failed to release any kind of a sufficient launch library for either within two years time, and have somehow convinced people they need to buy their old 360 and PS3 games again at full price.
Even worse, with day one vital patches and day one DLC, more often than not these remastered editions are being hastily rushed to market, incomplete either by accident–The Master Chief Collection and Assassin’s Creed Unity–or on purpose–Evolve–with the hopes of squeezing just another dollar or so out of every gamer who buys them.