September 12, 2007 12:58 PM PDT
Next venue for 'Guitar Hero III': PCs, Macs
While Tony Hawk studio Neversoft handles the console versions of Guitar Hero III, Aspyr will be independently developing and producing the two new editions of the game. However, the two new platforms will feature an experience similar to that described in GameSpot's coverage of the console versions, including more than 70 songs in its set list, as well as online multiplayer modes.
Belying its humble roots as a Kentia Hall diamond at the 2005 Electronic Entertainment Expo, the Guitar Hero franchise has grown to become a pop-culture juggernaut.
That's in part due to the ever-growing reach of the game, which expanded onto the Xbox 360 with Guitar Hero II. For the third iteration in the series, RedOctane and Activision have already planned on doubling the number of platforms the series will appear on, with versions for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2 and Wii having already been announced. (A Nintendo DS Guitar Hero game is also planned.)
GameSpot had an opportunity to speak with Chance Copeland, associate producer for Aspyr Media, at this year's Austin Game Developers Conference to get more details on Guitar Hero III for the PC and Mac. Rated T for Teen, these versions will be available this fall.
Q: Tell us why Aspyr decided to make PC and Mac ports of Guitar Hero III. After all, isn't this the kind of game that's best played in the living room?
Copeland: Currently, the music-game genre has very little representation on the PC and Mac platforms, and we think it's past time someone blew that wide open with a powerful franchise like Guitar Hero. Another concept we're trying to transmit to gamers is the idea of "Guitar Hero on the go." Take your laptop with you in the car or on an airplane, put on your headphones, and rock all you want using one of our keyboard configurations for the game. Consoles just aren't travel-friendly the way a good laptop is.
And I'd also like to point out that more and more people are integrating PCs into their primary entertainment system, so playing Guitar Hero III PC in your living room isn't hard to imagine.
Give us an overview of what we can expect from Guitar Hero III for the PC and Mac.
Copeland: We'll assume that the majority of your PC gaming readers are familiar with the Guitar Hero franchise. With Guitar Hero III, the idea was to make incremental improvements that would make the gameplay better and provide an experience that gives the closest feel to playing a real guitar, without actually playing a real guitar, ever. Hammer-on and pull-off functionality has been improved. The timing window for hitting notes has also been increased slightly so there are fewer clinks when notes are missed by the smallest fractions of a second.
Of course, the one thing most people will notice is that the game looks incredible. The new engine created by Neversoft makes everything pop with tremendous detail, and this time around you'll notice that the drummer, bassist and singer's lip-synching all match the song that is being performed. The new venues are stunning, crazy to watch, and all react uniquely and in real time to the song that is being performed.
And of course we have to talk about the music. Guitar Hero III's set list features more master tracks than the previous iterations--more than 70 percent, in fact. These master tracks make a huge difference, and gamers will notice right off the bat when they are playing along with Metallica, the Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam or any of the other legendary acts. The songs are a great sample of almost every era of rock and are a fantastic mix of genres.
Finally, let's not forget online play, the new boss battles and guitar battle mode. There will be so much rocking to do, gamers won't know what to do with themselves.
Will the two new versions have their own unique guitar model?
Copeland: The PC version of Guitar Hero III will ship with a USB Guitar Hero guitar controller. We'll be able to talk more about the exact model soon.