Rock Bands, Guitar Heroes, Recriminations and Comedy Litigation

All the latest Rock Band rumours rounded up and debunked right here

Posted by Staff
Rock Bands, Guitar Heroes, Recriminations and Comedy Litigation
SPOnG informed you earlier this weeks of EA/Harmonix/MTV’s plans for the rhythm-action game to end them all – the collaborative, online-enabled ‘jam’ that is Rock Band.

While we hope and pray that EA and MTV just provide the mountains of cash and let the boys at Harmonix make all the creative decisions, both in terms of game design and music choice, we have fairly predictably seen a rash of Rock Band rumours doing the rounds in the last twenty-four hours.

Firstly, Harmonix’s Jason Booth, programmer on Rock Band, seemingly revealed that the Guitar Hero II controller on 360 will be compatible with the new game, stating on the game’s official forum, "For some reason, IGN posted that Rock Band will not be compatible with Guitar Hero guitars. I thought I'd drop in and let you know that this is not correct."

Secondly, US retailer GameStop is already taking preorders for Rock Band, listing the game at $60, the lead and bass guitar controllers for $60, a wireless guitar for $80, a microphone peripheral for $40, and a drum set at $80. Which all seems fine, providing you don’t want to start an online one-man band.

“Nothing to date has been announced on pricing so I don’t know where those figures came from,” an EA rep told SPOnG today, so it seems fairly safe to assume that someone somewhere at GameStop just plucked them right out of thin air.

Our man at EA also informed us that, "We don't comment on rumour or speculation regarding the peripherals. An official announcement about Rock Band peripherals will be made in due course."

Meanwhile, SPOnG has to ask itself whether or not Red Octane’s Guitar Hero dream is over, in what seems to be a fairly traditional rock and roll manner – self-implosion amidst bitter recriminations, comedy litigation and unfounded, bizarre rumours. Though, to be fair, nobody involved with Guitar Hero (to date) has admitted to snorting their dead dad's ashes.

Red Octane has put the legal handcuffs on former employees John Tam and Corey Fong – both of whom are now legally prohibited from working on rhythm games. Tam and Fong had formed a new studio, Lodestone Entertainment, and had been working with PR firm the Reverb and Guitar Hero-a-like peripherals company The Ant Commandos on a demo for a dance/guitar game.

According to the injunction Red Octane slapped on them, Tam and Fong worked with Reverb and The Ant Commandos, "to compete with Activision using Activision's confidential and proprietary information."

"Lodestone intended to target a confidential and proprietary Activision corporate opportunity for the Guitar Hero franchise involving a certain confidential third party that was known to Tam and Fong by virtue of their employment with Activision," the injunction states. "Tam, working with Fong, directed an Activision employee and Activision independent contractors to develop, at Activision's expense, a demo of Defendents' game..."

Gamespot reports that, "The demo incorporated elements of Guitar Hero and StepMania, a free dance game for the PC that supports dancepads and includes a step editor...As part of the injunction, the pair are prevented from taking steps to develop drum-, guitar-, or synthesizer-based games for the next year."

Erm, Red Octane…Did you not think about tightening up the contract you had with Harmonix in order to prevent them taking “ steps to develop drum-, guitar-, or synthesizer-based games for the next year”?

Oops, looks like that particular horse has bolted! Right into the welcoming arms of MTV and Electronic Arts.

In the meantime, a mobile phone version of Guitar Hero has just been released. Stop laughing at the back!

Guitar Hero II on 360 is out on Friday. Buy it. And watch out for SPOnG's full review shortly.


Joji 4 Apr 2007 17:05
What a debacle. Red Octane are good but they've got the fear. Now its chewed them up and spat them out.

When these larger companies get involve in rhythm games scene, it has me worried but excited too.

I pray Ea don't mess up.
zoydwheeler 4 Apr 2007 17:08
Yeh, I also pray Harmonix don't get blinded by the cash and agree to including any old tat that MTV want to promote... EA is just handling sales and distribution, so should hopefully be kept at arms length on any creative matters. Phew.
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