Activision has launched a $99 Guitar Hero Live bundle for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, that includes a six button plastic Bluetooth guitar controller.
After the rise in popularity of music games featuring plastic instruments in the late 2000s, the once-popular genre quickly died out. Fast forward to 2015 and both Harmonix, the studio behind Rock Band, and Activision, the publisher of the Guitar Hero franchise, are attempting to revive music games with new entries in both series, Rock Band 4 and Guitar Hero Live.
While Rock Band 4 is largely the same game as its predecessors, Guitar Hero Live has taken a slightly different approach to the concept of a music title. The game features a first-person perspective and real world full motion video (FMV) graphics. Also, if your performance isn’t going as well as planned, the game’s crowd will heckle you and your band.
Guitar Hero Live for iOS is set to feature a single-player and multiplayer mode, 200 free songs and what Activison is calling “touch-based gameplay” for those not interested in using a plastic guitar.
A digital bundle of the game that doesn’t include the plastic guitar is priced at $49.99, and a two guitar bundle will retail for $149.99. While $49.99 might sound like a hefty price tag for an iOS title, if you take into account the licensing cost required to develop a game like Guitar Hero, this amount of money feels significantly more justified. If you’re on the fence when it comes to the idea of using a plastic instrument with your iOS device, a trial version of Guitar Hero Live that comes with two free songs is also available.
Guitar Hero Live is compatible with the iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad mini, iPad mini 2, iPad mini 3, iPad Mini 4, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6s Plus and iPod touch (6th generation). The game requires iOS 8 or later and you’ll need at least 3GB of storage available on your device.
Whether or not music games will find the audience they once had remains to be seen, but targeting a more casual audience with an iOS and Apple TV release is definitely a step in the right direction for the series. The addition of a plastic guitar accessory will also likely encourage more people to pick up the mobile version of Guitar Hero Live.
It’s important to point out that the Rock Band and Guitar Hero franchise have received mobile releases in the past, but this is the first time a mobile music game has been accompanied by the release a plastic guitar like its console counterpart. Back in 2012, the iOS version of the Rock Band franchise was pulled from the App Store. The Guitar Hero series’ original mobile counterpart found itself in a similar situation when it was removed from the iOS App Store in 2014.
It’s unclear if Activision also plans to release an Android iteration of Guitar Hero Live at some point in the future.
A version of Guitar Hero Live for the Apple TV is also in the works.