True Crime: Hong Kong Would Have Scored 80+
You can't keep a good franchise down - and Activision has spoken out to confirm that they haven't culled Guitar Hero indefinitely. Rather, they've just put it on hiatus for a while until the market picks up (and, we suspect, music licensing prices decrease). Not only that, but they've recanted on their earlier statement that True Crime: Hong Kong wasn't "good enough" - and that it would have scored in the mid-eighties. Apparently it just didn't fit into their "monster" franchise plan. Full details below.
Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Activision head of developer relations Dan Winters explained that Guitar Hero isn't truly dead despite the shock culling of several franchises this February. It's just slumbering for a year to let the market rejuvenate.
Actually, just to clarify, we're just putting Guitar Hero on hiatus, we're not ending it. We're releasing products out of the vault - we'll continue to sustain the channel, the brand won't go away. We're just not making a new one for next year, that's all.
So there, guitar heroes. We hope that DJ Hero will also make a return, as Freestyle Games managed to deliver a cracking music franchise against the odds. I daresay Activision will be following the progress of Ubisoft's Rocksmith to test the waters and consumer confidence in the rhythm games genre.
Winters also discussed True Crime: Hong Kong with was reportedly nearly ready to release when it was canned earlier this year. Activision previously stated that it simply wasn't "good enough," but apparently, it was actually set to be rather impressive.
The question was really the size of the prize based on how good it could be. We are confident that thing would of been 80 plus. 85 maybe. They're a really talented group at United Front.
We were really confident that they were tracking towards a very good game.
So why was it canned? Well... basically because it doesn't fit into Activision's business model of concentrating on a tiny number of major titles. Expansion and variation? Nah. Who needs that in a portfolio?
[True Crime] would have been, and still might end up being, a very successful mid-tier opportunity for someone. But, as I said, we changed our business model to where we were going to change our business model to focus disproportionately on three big, huge monsters. Those three monsters are the Bungie, Call of Duty and Spyro titles.
So that left the True Crime title being a mid-tier opportunity which we felt was an opportunity cost against other things.
Considering the massive redundancies suffered at developer United Front Games, it's unlikely that they're saving it for a rainy day. Shame. [GI]