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Guitar Hero: World Tour

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox 360
Genre: Rhythm
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Vicarious Visions
Release Date: Oct. 26, 2008

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'Guitar Hero World Tour' (Wii) - Developer Interview

by Adam Pavlacka on Sept. 18, 2008 @ 9:00 a.m. PDT

Guitar Hero: World Tour will feature guitar, vocals, drums, the ability to create your own songs (and upload them on GHTunes), four-player on/offline co-op, and an eight-player battle of the bands multiplayer mode (4vs4).

Guitar Hero World Tour will transform music gaming by marrying Guitar Hero’s exhilarating guitar gameplay, with a cooperative band experience that combines the most advanced wireless instruments with revolutionary new online and offline gameplay modes. The game will feature a slick newly redesigned guitar, a genuine electronic drum kit and a microphone, as well as an innovative Music Studio music creator that lets players compose, record, edit and share their own rock and roll anthems, along with online Band Career and 8-player “Battle of the Bands.”

Delivering the largest on-disc set list in a music-rhythm game to-date, Guitar Hero World Tour is comprised entirely of master recordings from some of the greatest classic and modern rock bands of all-time including Van Halen, Linkin Park, The Eagles, Sublime and many more. Additionally, the game will offer significantly more localized downloadable music than ever before on all of the next-generation consoles. Budding rock stars will also be given creative license to fully customize everything from their characters’ appearance and instruments to their band’s logo and album covers.

WP: Who has the honor to speak with us? State your name, rank, and occupation!

I'm David Nathanielsz, executive producer of Vicarious Visions.

WP: Let's start with Guitar Hero World Tour for the Wii. At what point did Vicarious get involved in the design process? Were you working with Neversoft from the very beginning? Was it something where they got farther along on the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions and handed it to you and said, "Here, port it"? How did that work?

DN: We worked pretty closely with Neversoft in sort of a co-development relationship. Some of the features in World Tour were things that we were kicking around back when we were making Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. Through the last year since we released Guitar Hero III, we've been working with Neversoft on World Tour. We kick ideas between the two studios and work very well with them. Just to plug them, we love Neversoft. We think they're amazing, and they made a great game on the 360 and the PS3, and we've taken some of the design work that they've done and some of the design work that we've done, and put it into Guitar Hero World Tour.

WP: Visually, the Wii doesn't have the resolution, but otherwise, the Wii actually seems to have more features. There's a jam mode in the Wii version that's not in the other two versions. Can you talk about that a little bit?

DN: Yeah, we spent the last year really dedicating ourselves to getting all the features for Guitar Hero World Tour onto the Wii. We've got the core game, we've got all the songs, we've got the music studio where you can create your own songs, we've got Guitar Hero Tunes where you can upload and share them with users, we've got downloadable content with an in-game music store, and then like you said, we've got Mii Freestyle, which is a mode exclusive to the Wii. It's really sort of a pick-up-and-play, create your own music jam, improvise mode for Wii users to bring their Miis into the game and see them rock out on stage.

WP: We've heard reported with the various music games over the last year or two that doing downloadable content on the Wii either was impossible or wasn't allowed. What was it that allowed you guys to actually implement the downloadable content? The fact that users couldn't buy songs with Guitar Hero III was one of their biggest complaints. Now they can do it with World Tour. How did that come about?

DN: We wanted to get downloadable content into Guitar Hero for a while, but we didn't want to release it until it was done right. It's true, the Wii can do it! We've got an in-game music store, accessible right off the main menu, so from the game, you can pull up the store, see what's available for DLC, purchase it in-game, download it your system memory, put it on an SD card, and back it up. It's all seamless in-game in terms of how you play that downloadable content. You just go to the setlist page and build your setlist. You can put on-disc songs, you can put downloadable content in your setlist, you can even put GH Tunes songs that other players have created and you've gone and downloaded. It's all very seamless, and loading those songs in on your system memory for you in your setlist, I promise you it can be done. (laughs)

WP: Let's talk about the hardware for a second. The new guitars have a slider bar that wasn't present on the original. Does World Tour know which guitar you're using? If you're using an older guitar, will it not give you those notes? Can you use the older guitars, or do you need to have the new guitar to play World Tour?

DN: Yeah, you can use older guitars or the new guitars. The new guitar has a lot of features on it. It's got the slider bar, which is used for functionality in the main game as well as some really cool uses in the music studio and Mii Freestyle. It's got a little longer whammy bar, and it's got a star power button on the guitar, which is also used for Mii Freestyle palm muting and other accenting of notes in Mii Freestyle. It's got a little bit of a longer, thicker body and neck so it's a little sturdier. It's got a lot of new features, but the slider bar is not required so you can use your guitar if you got it with GH3 or if you got it with GH: Aerosmith. You can use that in-game. The functionality of the slider notes in-game can be used on the slider, or you can use the buttons as well.

WP: Let's talk briefly about Guitar Hero On Tour: Decades for the DS. What makes it more than just a new song pack?

DN: Song sharing is what makes it more than a new song pack. To say that it's just a new song pack — the one thing that we've heard a lot people say is that they want more songs. We had 26 songs on On Tour, and it was the most number of songs that a music/rhythm game on the DS had ever delivered before, but still, people might have felt that it wasn't the same as 85 songs for World Tour, so they're asking for more content, so we've got a whole new set of songs, but we also have song sharing. You can take those songs and you can find someone who owns the other version of Guitar Hero On Tour, and you can share your songs between the two of you. You can play head-to-head, you can play co-op, you can play any of the songs from those two games that you want to, and it pretty much doubles your content with song sharing. That's what makes it more than a song pack!

WP: Nice. Have there been any upgrades to the fret hardware that comes with the game?

DN: No, we're using the same guitar grip that was part of On Tour. That way, the two games are compatible. If you want to make them feel different, get a customized skin and make it Decades-appropriate.

WP: OK, back to Guitar Hero World Tour. The Neversoft guys were showing us on the PS3 and Xbox 360 that they had some custom songs that were created by the team and loaded in. Are there any Vicarious-created custom songs on the Wii version?

DN: You know what? Our audio team and our musicians focused on composing and recording all of the music in Mii Freestyle, so we didn't create any custom songs in GH Tunes. What we want to see is all of the Wii users, what kind of music they can make, and we'll go download that and play it in the office.

WP: Is there anything about either World Tour or On Tour: Decades that we haven't talked about that you wanted to add?

DN: You know, I didn't get to talk about the air drums in Mii Freestyle, which I think is a pretty key thing because in Mii Freestyle, you can use the drum kit to freestyle on the drums, or you can take the Wiimote and Nunchuk and essentially play air drums. So if you don't have a kit or you just want to have that sort of freer experience, you use the Wiimote and Nunchuk, very simple, intuitive system where just a couple of buttons will modify whether you're playing a snare or a cymbal, a crash cymbal or toms. We have an auto-looping function in there so you can record your drum loop, and it's actually going to match it to the beat so if you're a little off rhythm, it'll correct it for you so you don't have to be the perfect drummer to sound good. You can lay down that loop, you can do drum fills over that, you can even lay down that loop, put them down, and pick up a guitar and play over it. There are a lot of features there that you don't even need the drum kit for, which is pretty cool.


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