An anonymous Activision source has divulged the existence of a cancelled final Guitar Hero project, titled simply Guitar Hero 7. The game was binned along with the Guitar Hero franchise as a whole in early 2011, and with all due respect to developer Vicarious Visions, it sounds like we dodged a bullet. The project was allegedly a "disaster", an attempt at reinvention crippled by over-reaching ambition and limited resources.
Guitar Hero 7 would have come with a questionable new take on the classic guitar peripheral. "This amazing thing was a six stringed guitar," the source told Kotaku, in one especially eyebrow-raising paragraph. "Not a real guitar, or even full six-stringed. It had the classic Guitar Hero buttons on the neck with one extra new button, and six strings where the strum bar used to be. YAY! Now they have an extra button and five more strum bars!"
Early prototypes of the kit left much to be desired. "The strings were unresponsive and loose, and the guitars cost a fortune to make. No one could figure out a way to make it so your average Joe could buy one."
The absence of singing and drumming was another disappointment, revealed the source, though the prospect of dynamic venues was attractive on paper. One of Vicarious Visions' demos "had camera cuts that were unique to the song being played. The venue was amazing and animated, and each time something in the song changed the venue would also. I didn't even like the song, but the demo gave me goosebumps."
Other venue concepts included "a tomb, the back of a moving truck. The locations were going to match the songs. Each song would have its own music video. It was a nice idea, and some of the concepts looked great." But there was too much flying blind. "Then they realized they didn't have any songs. Everything was being built around 'Turn The Page - Metallica,' and 'A Thing Called Love - The Darkness.' They'd change the venues and animations as the songs came in.
"When the songs started coming in, a great sense of dread came about everyone with an active brain," the source continued. "The game had all of the worst hits from the 1990's. They realized that, with our lack of budget and time, they couldn't get quality music so they bought bargain basement music like 'Closing time' and 'Sex and Candy.' There were some songs in there that had been used at least three times in the GH franchises before.
"They realized that with a setlist of over 80 songs, a music video unique to each song was out of scope as well. So pretty much every song was in the tomb or the back of the moving truck, with different lighting and camera cuts, and maybe a little graffiti. So they had a game that looked bad, had bad music, had very limited venues, and more was getting cut as time went on."
Activision's Bobby Kotick has said Guitar Hero will return as and when "we can deliver a really high level of innovation". By the looks of things, Guitar Hero 7 was innovation for the worst.