Aware that it's been all talk and no action so far, Travis and crew perform a live demo of the recording studio. Okay, they're experts, but in under five minutes they've bashed out a perfectly respectable cover of the first verse of Smells Like Teen Spirit which can be played back in the game. We can be cynical buggers at times, but right now, like, wow.

So what to do with all this creative expression? Time to introduce GHTunes. It's an online service where you can upload your creations and download the best efforts of the rest of the World Tour community.

"We're using a ratings system similar to Amazon and YouTube," reveals Bright. "We've done a lot of research on user ratings and how good stuff pops up to the top." So expect to be able to search by Song of the Week, Showcase Song of the Day, All-Time Best, Rising Star. "We'll be able to measure it like the Billboard Hot 100 - how fast people go up and down the charts.

Remember that Create-A-Rocker nonsense you turned your nose up at earlier? How do you fancy using those tools to create your own cover art, which you can then 'publish' online? And Neversoft will give the very best artists their own 'record deal', awarding special promotion of their tracks.

You'll be limited to uploading four-to-five tracks at any one time, each with a limit of around five minutes in length. (Note to Neversoft: this means we can't waste months of our life trying to record Paranoid Android. This makes us weep inside).

5
They didn't show us this. Wimps.

"This could get f***ing huge," Jewett casually notes. At this still early stage, we wouldn't necessarily disagree. Even if you can't be bothered to use the studio yourself, chances are that someone out there will knock up a cover of your favourite track.

That's the Big New Stuff dealt with. As for the core game, there'll be careers for each individual instrument, a full band career, and online co-op career. Those infuriating boss battles in Guitar Hero III, Neversoft admits "didn't work so well". These will be "very different" in World Tour, but that's as much as we get, aside from a pledge of more star cameos.

As for the track-listing, Bright can't resist a gloat at the competition. "There'll be considerably more than 73 tracks" out of the box. "The most tracks you've ever seen in a music-based videogames on disc" in fact. We'll hold you to that.

Artists confirmed so far include Van Halen, Linkin Park and The Eagles. We see others during our demo, but we're not allowed to talk about them. Especially not the really exciting classic track by that massive popstar who had a really high profile court case a few years ago. Move along, nothing to see here.

Oh, and Neversoft is going to "support the game in a big way with downloadable content. We are fully committed." We sincerely hope the commitment is fuller than it has been for previous Guitar Hero titles, because Rock Band has wiped the floor with them on DLC so far. Must try harder. Vicarious Visions, developer of the Wii version, incidentally, is "looking into DLC on Wii".

Exciting stuff, we're sure you'll agree, Eurogamer music fan. There's one big problem: what if you've already broken the bank for Rock Band? Unless you're rolling around in cash and free space, or a bit mad, would you really want to buy another full kit?

Neversoft doesn't really have a convincing answer to this. "Given the investment that's required from the consumer, I want mine to be the best," insists Jewett. "I try to imagine that maybe they would buy both if I can make it good enough."

And there's no concrete info on the price yet - upon which, much will depend. "There's a lot of things there that will be worth whatever the price it comes out at - which I don't know yet," says Bright.

One Activision staffer, with a nod and a wink, suggested off-the-record that World Tour will be cheaper than Rock Band, especially, they noted, after the PR disaster that EA suffered in Europe. But whispering and doing are two very different things, and with so many factors to consider, we'll retain a healthy dose of scepticism until there's official word. Although it should go without saying that it would be forehead-slapping business stupidity of Gizmondo proportions if it came out more expensive.

As impressed as we undoubtedly are with World Tour, we must stress that during our visit we don't get a full hands-on, the drum kit isn't finished, and the new guitar is nowhere to be seen. Nevertheless, in concept and demonstration it's a brutal and compelling riposte to Rock Band.

As our Neversoft experience draws to a close we suddenly recall that chatter about a Beatles version of Guitar Hero. "Are you doing it?" we ask.

"We would love to do it," Bright dodges.

"Have you spoken to Sony about it?"

"Well, if we did, we couldn't tell you about it,"

"Well, you could..."

"Well, we could, but she'd freak out..."

He gestures at the unimpressed PR lady. Death Stare. Still, Bright does add more broadly: "In terms of the band games stuff, the Aerosmith one is really, really fun. If people have their own favourite band, be it The Beatles, Led Zeppelin or AC/DC, we could totally make a game for them. It'd be amazing."

Over to you, Harmonix.

Guitar Hero: World Tour will release on PS3, 360, Wii and PS2 this autumn.

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Johnny Minkley

Johnny Minkley

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Johnny Minkley is a veteran games writer and broadcaster, former editor of Eurogamer TV, VP of gaming charity SpecialEffect, and hopeless social media addict.

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