Better start exercising those fingers and rehearsing your rock stances: the hugely popular music game Guitar Hero could be about to tune up and hit the stage again.
Launched in 2005 and originally developed by music specialist Harmonix, the Guitar Hero series became a major entertainment phenomenon, selling more than 25m copies and kickstarting a huge industry trend for audio gaming.
Players used a plastic guitar controller to strum along with a series of licensed rock tracks, using a combination of buttons and a slider control to emulate the instrument.
The first title was an instant hit, inspiring four major sequels as well as a range of spin-offs and add-ons, including the turntable-based DJ Hero.
After the Activision purchase, Harmonix was bought by MTV Networks for $175m and later launched a new music series, Rock Band, which added drums to the familiar gameplay.
Activision axed the Guitar Hero series in 2011, after poor sales of the 2010 instalment Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. By this time, the market was saturated, and gamers were tired of constantly purchasing and updating new titles and controllers.
“I think the road to rejuvenating that category goes through innovation,” said Activision chief executive Eric Hirshberg at the time. “The premise of Guitar Hero – that everyone has an inner rock star – it’s something that we’ve all done forever. Some version of singing into a hairbrush, or holding a tennis racket like a guitar, or singing karaoke, or singing into the bathroom mirror – we all do that.”
According to Kotaku, the new Guitar Hero, which is likely to premiere on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, is set to feature a more realistic look in contrast to the exaggerated cartoonish visuals of previous instalments.
It is not clear which studio will be working on the comeback title, though Activision has closed both Neversoft, the team that took over the series after the departure of Harmonix, and RedOctane, the original publisher of the games.
It is unlikely, though, that Guitar Hero will have the stage to itself. There is also speculation that Electronic Arts has plans to rejuvenate its rival Rock Band series, again for the current consoles.
This article was written by Keith Stuart, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 25th February 2015 12.23 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010