Activision-owned developer Neversoft has come on-board as a developer for the Guitar Hero
franchise. The series is currently being developed by MTV-owned Harmonix, which also holds the relevant US patents.
No official word has been given on Neversoft's involvement but a quick glance at its website shows the front page split between Tony Hawks Project 8
and Guitar Hero
. The Guitar Hero
half of the page bears the legend: 'Positions Available'.
Although the Guitar Hero
trademark belongs to Red Octane (e.g. to Activision), the patent for a ?Method and apparatus for displaying musical data in a three dimensional environment? belongs to Harmonix (US Patent 6,429,863) - as does patent 5,627,335 for ?The input device (which) generates rhythm-related input signals and pitch-related input signals in response to manipulations of the input device by a user attempting to create and play a solo.?
In short, as MTV via Harmonix now owns the technology underlying the hardware and software that is Guitar Hero
, it looks to SPOnG like there are two ways to go: either NeverSoft and Activision re-engineer the software and hardware OR Activision is teaming up for some kind of joint venture with MTV (or its parent company Viacom).
Although sources close to the deal have told SPOnG today that it's not unusual for two developers to work on the same project, it is unusual for two developers owned by separate companies to do so. The chances of both Harmonix and NeverSoft continuing a joint-development appears highly unlikely.
As we reported back in September last year
regarding the Harmonix/MTV deal:
While of course it?s superb news for the guys at Harmonix, who we imagine will have been seriously rocking out all weekend, is this such great news for the future of Guitar Hero? Or for whatever similar type of game MTV/Harmonix produces in the future?
SPOnG has contacted RedOctane and Activision but no comment is available at this point.