Shortly after the launch of Guitar Hero Live, we sit down to discus GH’s insane new reboot with Freestyle Games’ creative director Jamie Jackson.
X-ONE: It seems a lot of consumers have misunderstood the basic premise of Guitar Hero Live, can you break it down for us?
Jamie Jackson: We wanted to build a platform that was about content delivery – we thought, when we came up with [GH Live], ‘How can we deliver stuff to our players without doing another box, without making another disc? From a design perspective, that’s where it began.
That led to the creation of GHTV [a mode in the game that continuously streams music, with channels for specific genres], this 24/7 platform of music and content that we can add to without ever affecting you, the player. You never have to download stuff – you stream it all. Then we thought, ‘What can we build into that as a game?’ We are putting more modes into GHTV itself later on too, adding even more depth (especially for competitive players).
XO: Do you feel that having these varied ways of playing is the best way to cater to the huge array of musical tastes that your players have?
JJ: People do have such diverse tastes in music. If you’re making a heavy metal fan play through a soft rock set to get to what they want to play, they get really frustrated by it. They just want to get to what they want to get to. Not [locking] anything away was driven by that idea. If you want, you can just jump straight in and play the songs you want.
XO: What sort of music will you be adding in weekly? Will the success of certain channels on GHTV affect this?
JJ: Well, GHTV for us needed to be about communicating with our fans. We can really see what people are liking through that.
If there’s a track that no-one is playing, then we don’t put any more of that in there. But if there’s one track or a band that everyone’s loving, then we can get that in there really quickly. The results of how GHTV works shows us what people really want – a group of people on social media might say something but when you’ve got [the telemetry] there saying something else, you know how to cater for your audience.
You can read the rest of this interview – and our full review of Guitar Hero Live, in issue 131 of X-ONE, on sale 25 November 2015. You can pick up a physical copy in all good shops or from our online store, or read the magazine digitally on your PC, tablet or phone.