Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Neversoft: We 'Lost Our Souls' With Rock Band

Project director of Guitar Hero, Brian Bright, has admitted that what he described as the "arms race" with Rock Band forced the developers into an uncomfortable position in trying to keep pace.
“With Guitar Hero World Tour [2008] we kind of lost our souls a bit... We lost that spark by trying to cater to everyone. We were in this arms race with our competitor [Rock Band 2], and in the end I felt like we sold a bit of our souls”.
Mr. Bright, however, is predictably excited for Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock, which is reported to be the final Neversoft-developed Rock Band title.

Unfortunately, Mr. Bright wouldn't mention the gigantic elephant in the room, so it's my sad job to point it out. I really hate beating on the same drum over and over again, but it should be stated: Neversoft's parent company is on record as stating that they are only interested in franchises that they can - their CEO used this word - "exploit" routinely. It shouldn't take much to guess this was Activision's Robert Kotick, and once Guitar Hero became popular, it became fashionable to order so many games to be developed that it was inevitable that the market would collapse on itself.

Most worrying to me is what happens after the fact. We've seen what happened to Infinity Ward and Red Octane once they fell out of favour with Activision's executives. I have a bad feeling that once Warriors of Rock is out the door that the reported 50 redundancies the company went through in February will seem small. I hope I'm wrong, but Activision's history is pretty clear on this.

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