Guitar Hero World Tour is the fourth true entry and seventh overall game in the Guitar Hero series (counting spinoffs), and is the direct sequel to Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. It has been confirmed for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, and PlayStation 2 and was released on October 26, 2008. The game was originally titled Guitar Hero IV but the inclusion of other instruments caused a name change. The game's name, Guitar Hero World Tour, was officially announced by Activision on May 21, 2008.
While the game continues to feature the use of a guitar-shaped controller to mimic the playing of a real guitar to rock music, Guitar Hero World Tour also expanded to include the use of drum and vocal peripherals. Furthermore, the game allows users to create custom songs separate from those shipped with the game, creating everything but lyrics, and may also be able to upload and share other songs with other users.
Guitar Hero World Tour builds on the existing Guitar Hero gameplay from previous Guitar Hero games. The traditional single player Career Mode has been reworked, following a similar mechanic as Rock Bands Band World Tour mode. A player will encounter gigs during career mode which they can select songs from to play, but are not required to complete all songs to proceed. Furthermore, while the difficulty levels (Easy, Medium, Hard, and Expert, along with the new Beginner difficulty, which is for new players and is simpler than Easy) remain in the game, this Career Mode will allow to drop to a lower difficulty without restarting their career if they have difficulty with one song. The player will also be able to switch to a different instrument during the same Career without having to restart. There are four total instrument career modes within the game: lead guitar, bass guitar, drums, and rhythm guitar.
There is also a Band Career mode, which mirrors Rock Bands Band World Tour mode as well. However, this mode can be advanced by oneself or with others offline or online. A player that has not progressed as far as another player's band will still gain benefits for successfully completing songs when playing together. The interface for playing with others is described by Game Informer as being the same as Rock Bands.
The game adds in an "Easy Rhythm" guitar difficulty that is aimed to allow parents to have their children participate in the game; notes are generally simple straight lines in time with bass drum beats, and only require any fret button to be held while the note is strummed. The bass guitar player has been given new mechanics, including simulating the open E string on real bass guitars during play. A player on drums will activate Star Power by striking both cymbal pads on the controller at the same time. The drummer will also have special sections of songs open for drum solos, emphasized by in-game choreography that focuses on the drummer.
The Boss Battles that were present in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock will return with new characters to face off against; however, the format has been tweaked to remove the focus on attack power-ups.
Users are able to use a "Create-a-Rocker" mode, and an advanced character creation scheme. Players are able to affect their character's poise, clothing, tattoos, makeup, and age. Selected characters from previous Guitar Hero games, including ones discontinued from Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock such as Clive Winston and Pandora, will also be available as starting templates for creating a rocker. As a result of the present lawsuit with Gibson Guitars, the player are also able to customize their own guitar for the game to a high degree. Drum sets will also be customizable, as well as microphones.
Unlike previous versions of Guitar Hero, the band plays a large part in the game. Even just a quickplay session makes money for your band. Like the "Create-a-Rocker" mode, the band's logo is fully customizable, and plays a part in the venues of Career mode and in cut-scenes.
Guitar Hero World Tour added two new instruments to guitar and bass that have not been in other Guitar Hero games, drums and vocals. Game Informers preview revealed that a six-piece drum controller will be developed for the game, with two cymbal pads, a snare, two toms, and a bass drum pedal. The drum kit was designed with help from John Devacka who is credited with creating the first music game, MTV Drumscape, and who developed key patents used for most modern music games that are now owned by Activision.
Sony and Nintendo have seen to it that Rock Band 2, Rock Revolution and Guitar Hero World Tour instrument peripherals will be compatible with each other.
Guitar Hero World Tour allows players to create their own songs and to share them with others through the Xbox Live or PlayStation 3 network capabilities. Vocals can not be recorded in this mode due to copyright concerns, but keyboard tones can be used to emulate vocal lines.
The "Advanced Studio" mode allows the creation of completely new pieces of music, and is stated by Game Informer to be similar to Apple Computers GarageBand software. The player can create the tracks for each song by playing it in real or slowed time, with the game quantizing offbeat notes to the nearest beat as set by the player, or tracks can be constructed one note at a time. Both guitar and drum effects can be set and changed through the song.
Custom songs will be able to be uploaded to the "GH Tunes" service, which will be used to allow other players to rate songs, and to search and download songs by these ratings, and will include a Showcase by Neversoft to offer some of the best user works alongside new songs from popular artists. Players are only be able to upload five songs to the service at the start, but players that have highly rated songs will gain the ability to upload more. The PlayStation 2 version of the game features custom song creation, but does not support the uploading service.
Guitar Hero World Tour was announced shortly after the merger of Activision and Vivendi Games in December 2007. The inclusion of additional instruments into the Guitar Hero series was hinted at by trademarks registered by Activision and RedOctane for Guitar Villain, Drum Villain, Keyboard Hero, Drum Hero and Band Hero. Analysts speculated that future Guitar Hero games in 2008 will need to include additional instrument peripherals in order to compete against former Guitar Hero developer Harmonix's Rock Band.It was announced on April 21, 2008 that Guitar Hero World Tour will branch out into other instruments including vocals.
According to a Game Informer preview, the addition drum functionality came from work initially done towards the Drum Hero title, but later folded into Guitar Hero after Neversoft was chosen as developer of the series.
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