WTF Happened To Guitar Hero?

From millions gained to millions lost.

Guitar Hero 3 Performance

Allow me to set the scene for you: it’s 2007, earlier in the year the very first iPhone has been introduced, rock hero Keith Richards is fighting accusations that he smoked his late father’s ashes, and Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis is number one in the charts.

In the gaming world, people are raving about an amazing new puzzle game called Portal, and Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare has made the bold step to a more modern setting. In amongst all these remarkably dated memories, you’re certain to have another thing knocking about somewhere in your brain - a link between music, technology and gaming all at once.

This is of course the rise of the humble rhythm game, more specifically the shooting star success that was Guitar Hero. By the aforementioned 2007, Guitar Hero was on its third release (Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock) and was absolutely in its prime.

Publicity around the title was pumping, with people rushing to try their hand at the trickiest new tracks on offer, and this third entry to the franchise was breaking records - with Activison claiming that it was the first single videogame to sell more than one billion US dollars at retail.

The first of the Guitar Hero franchise was released in 2005 on Playstation 2 and was not expected to become the behemoth it eventually morphed into. Out of seemingly nowhere the game started raking in millions, with critics and players alike declaring their love for its simple premise and charming execution. It’s safe to say when developers Harmonix were looking at their game initially they weren’t seeing it launching a billion dollar franchise, a million sequels and rip-offs and expansion across multiple consoles and devices.


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