Guitar Hero II

Key events

Prince turned down Guitar Hero deal

Wants kids to learn to play the real thing.

Prince has said he turned down a deal to put his songs in Guitar Hero. (That's the artist formerly known as the funny symbol thing Prince, not the one who talks to plants or the one who likes to dress up as Nazis or the one who's a massive racist.)

Guitar Hero outsells Rock Band in US

Guitar Hero outsells Rock Band in US

But gap narrows as music games decline.

Investment analyst Ben Schachter of UBS has been poring over the sales figures of Guitar Hero and Rock Band in the US, and has found that the Activision Blizzard series outsold the EA games by over a million copies in November.

The picture isn't quite as clear-cut as it seems, though. Schachter - as quoted by GameSpot - found that Guitar Hero sales are in decline compared to last year, while Rock Band's are increasing sharply. Overall, the huge US market for music games created by the original Guitar Hero seems to be in decline.

Over 1.7 million Guitar Hero games of all versions and formats were sold in the US in November, of which 978,000 were copies of the latest version, Guitar Hero World Tour. This compares with 628,452 copies of Rock Band and Rock Band 2.

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Nickelback singer slams Guitar Hero

Tells "kids" to pick up a real instrument.

Nickelback frontman Chad Kroeger has taken a pop at Guitar Hero, saying players would be better off learning a real instrument.

Rock star slags off Guitar Hero

Nothing like the real thing, says Mayer.

Guitar-playing American pop star John Mayer has had a go at Guitar Hero, arguing nothing can compare to playing a real musical instrument.

Gibson launches Guitar Hero lawsuit

Gibson launches Guitar Hero lawsuit

Claims patents have been infringed.

Gibson Guitar has filed a lawsuit against Activision, claiming the Guitar Hero games infringe one of the company's patents.

According to Reuters, Gibson has a 1999 patent for technology used to simulate a musical performance. It sent a letter explaining this to Activision in January.

"Based on our preliminary analysis, the Guitar Hero software (including any expansion packs) and the guitar controller provided by Activision being used as a musical instrument (packaged with the software or sold standalone) are covered by the ... patent," the letter read.

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Be a Guitar Hero record breaker

Guinness needs your help.

UPDATE:The venue for the Guitar Hero record attempt has now changed and will not be HMV Oxford Street as previously reported. More news soon...

Guitar Hero II solus for Xbox 360

Buy it without guitar this month.

Activision has confirmed to Eurogamer that it is set to release a standalone version of Guitar Hero II for Xbox 360 in the UK so that people who started off with the third game in the series can go back and see what the fuss was about.

Indie DLC for Guitar Hero II

Yes, two. On 360.

Xbox 360 owners may be rocking out with Guitar Hero III at the moment, but it's Guitar Hero II that's receiving attention on Xbox Live at the moment with the "Indie Label Pack II" for Xbox Live Marketplace.

GC: Quiz RedOctane's Kai Huang

You call the tune.

The battle of the gaming bands is upon us. While Guitar Hero is pounding groupies backstage, biting the the bat's head off the rhythm-action genre, a cocky young upstart has emerged, threatening to topple the veteran rocker from its perch of poodle-haired posturing.

Three more songs for GHII 360

More from the PS2 original.

RedOctane's offering Guitar Hero II Xbox 360 owners another slice of the original game in the form of the fourth track pack on Xbox Live Marketplace.

RedOctane admits to Guitar Hero II patch problem

Guitar Hero II publisher RedOctane has admitted that some users are experiencing problems with a patch released for the Xbox 360 version over the weekend.

The update, released on Saturday, was supposed to help users whose copies of the game were refusing to acknowledge input from the Xplorer controller's whammy bar.

However forum threads quickly sprang up on and the official Guitar Hero website complaining that the patch was followed immediately by system freezes and, in some cases, the dreaded ring of death - the only answer to which is returning the console to Microsoft.

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Guitar Hero II song packs

Up on Marketplace now.

Anybody strumming through the excellent Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero II will be pleased to hear that there are three song packs available on Xbox Live Marketplace today.

Guitar Hero II

Guitar Hero II

God gave rock and roll to you.

It's an widely accepted fact that the most popular games of all time reach such status through their simplicity. Tetris, Super Mario Bros. and countless others fall into this category, as does much of the rhythm action genre. But it's taken until now, dance mats aside, for a peripheral-based music game to really set people's imaginations and pulses racing. Without being too patronising, Guitar Hero is an extremely simple concept that even a child can pick up within minutes but that even the most fleet-fingered gamer will never truly master.

It's a game that offers an incredibly empowering experience, putting you in the shoes of some of your axe-wielding heroes and provides more of a sense of satisfaction for nailing a tough passage than any other game we can think of. It's a game that is as unending as your desire to improve on your previous performances, work your way up through the difficulties and eventually clear Expert mode with your head held high. We've had Guitar Hero in some shape or form since Christmas 2005 and we've played it pretty much every day since then - that's how good a game it is. More to the point, we were still running around like kids on Christmas morning when we heard we'd be getting code for this slightly updated version of GH2. And with the extras in this new Xbox 360 version, there can be little denying that this is THE quintessential guitar game.

Of the ten new tracks for the 360 version, you've got a real mixed back on your hands. Possum Kingdom and Rancid's turgid Salvation both crop up in the first set, so they're pitifully simple. Moving down the list, Alice Cooper's Billion Dollar Babies is something of a highlight and Rock And Roll, Hoochie Koo is an unexpected gem, while a middling Pearl Jam track and Hush (the Deep Purple version) just sort of lilt along inconsequentially. Things are a lot better towards the end, with My Chemical Romance's rather splendid Dead! falling just shy of The Trooper, the Guitar Hero debut by obvious choices Iron Maiden. And sure enough, it's one of the best tunes to play in the game and you couldn't ask for it to fit the feel of the game any more perfectly.

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Celebrity Guitar Hero controllers

Selling for charity now on eBay.

Celebrities from all over our little round planet have teamed up to sign and design Guitar Hero II PS2 controllers, which will be sold on eBay to support the MusiCares charity.

Effects pedal for Guitar Hero?

Port found on 360 controller.

The Xbox 360 Guitar Hero controller - based on the Gibson Explorer - features an as-yet unused port designer for use with an effects pedal peripheral.

UK date for Guitar Hero on X360

Following US announcement.

Guitar Hero II for Xbox 360 is ready and set for a Good Friday release in the UK, senior retail sources told Eurogamer this morning, despite the fact that, er, most of the shops will be shut.

Guitar Hero II 360 to have 'most DLC ever'

Producer makes big claim.

Guitar Hero II will boast "more online content than anyone has ever seen in a game to this date," associate producer Ted Lange has boasted, referring to the downloadable add-ons set to be offered after the game's release.

Guitar Hero in 'capable hands' - Harmonix CEO

New devs "really talented".

Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos says he believes Guitar Hero is in "capable hands" at Neversoft, and that "fans of the franchise will be happy with" the Tony Hawk developers attempts to follow in Harmonix' stead.

FeatureAnyone can play Guitar Hero

Dusty Welch talks future plans, demos and more.

Guitar Hero has been in the headlines recently, but not just because of the PS2 sequel's success - or even because it's due out on Xbox 360 in the near future. No, these particular headlines focused on news that original developer Harmonix would no longer be working on the series, which would instead continue on at Tony Hawk developer Neversoft.

Guitar Hero 360 DLC hints

Songs from Guitar Hero 1.

RedOctane's head of publishing says we can probably expect to see songs from the original Guitar Hero made available for Xbox 360 owners to download when Guitar Hero II launches on the Microsoft system this spring.

Guitar Hero II bonus songs

Exclusive 360 content.

The sacred dial of rock is being turned even higher for the Xbox 360 version of Guitar Hero II, as Activision announces exclusive finger-cramping tracks, power-chording them into our collective puddle of melted faces.

Baseball man hurts arm with Guitar Hero

Had to miss games and all.

The Detroit Tigers (baseball, apparently) have admitted that one of their pitchers (ball-chucker) Joel Zumaya was sidelined recently not because of the aches and pains of the sport, but because he was playing too much Guitar Hero.

Guitar Hero 2

Guitar Hero 2

Rock 'n' Roll (part 2).

I walked six miles in order to get my hands on an American copy of Guitar Hero this time last year. Despite having THREE separate pre-orders, the damn thing was so scarce at launch that come November 8th, 2005, I was completely lacking in miniature Harmonix-branded plastic guitars. I had to wander for an hour in search of a mysterious import shop in some creepy suburb, which had a sole unreserved copy left under the counter. Of course, now Guitar Hero is all popular, obtaining the sequel was an absolute breeze - two different copies made their various ways to my door before the game was even out. This is not how it should be. We should all have to walk six miles across some Godforsaken corner of Dorset at the beginning of November without a coat on, but nooo - now any old person can wander into a shop and buy eight copies of Guitar Hero, thanks to its tremendous and entirely deserved success.

Of course, six miles isn't even very far, and being able to buy Guitar Hero practically anywhere in Britain is an Extremely Good Thing, and I should probably shut up about having to walk about for a bit when I know someone who actually went to America for Guitar Hero, only to come home empty-handed because airport Customs men seem to fear tiny plastic guitars. However, it is important to note that although obtaining Guitar Hero 2 will be relatively easy for eager importers, completing it will be extremely hard. Guitar Hero 2 is excellent fan service - it caters superbly for top-end players, rewarding their dedication with a larger, faster and considerably more difficult selection of tracks and re-adjusted gameplay that seems specifically designed to bring those ridiculously fast solos just within the realms of human possibility. There is more of an emphasis on shredding rather than memorable riffs, which will please some tastes more than others, but considering the vastly improved multiplayer and the addition of a Training mode to offset the increase in difficulty, it really is difficult to complain. Guitar Hero 2 recaptures the exhilaration and obvious passion of its predecessor and, with the help of what must have been a much bigger budget, houses it within an altogether better framework.

The changes to the gameplay are subtle; most only make themselves apparent on the Hard and Expert difficulties. Though Easy and Normal are about as challenging as they were in the original, Hard is a notable step up - it's only slightly less difficult than Expert used to be. Although this does upset what used to be a sublime learning curve, the step-up from Normal to Hard will be of little import to dedicated players, and the Training does ease the frustration of getting stuck halfway through songs. It quickly becomes apparent that the only way to get through many of the later stages of Hard and most of Expert is by learning to abandon the strum bar, and thankfully the hammer-ons and pull-offs have been tweaked enough to make even two-handed tapping entirely viable. The timing is more lenient and it is no longer necessary to hold down the preceding button whilst attempting them, which effectively means that Guitar Hero 2 feels even more like playing an actual guitar than its predecessor did - you can actually slide up and down the fret buttons, and indeed doing so is often the only way to pull off some of Expert's more evil chord transitions. There's also the three-button chords, which only ever turn up about twice in Hard, but make more frequent and even more unwelcome appearances in the middle of particularly cruel sequences in Expert.

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Guitar Hero II

It's customary to try to be loudest during practice.

As the game rightly points out, you only need one person with a mohawk in your band. But do you only need one Guitar Hero game in your life?

Foos and Rage in Guitar Hero II

More big bands onboard.

Guitar Hero II's track listing is falling gradually into place with the news that Foo Fighters and Rage Against The Machine will be on the disc too.

Fuller Guitar Hero II songlist

23 on it now, inc. Spinal Tap.

Yet more of Guitar Hero II's track listing has been revealed in the October issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly, following last month's excellent revelation that we'll be rocking out to Freebird and Sweet Child O' Mine.

Huge songs for Guitar Hero II

Freebird and Sweet Child o' Mine.

RedOctane has announced that Guitar Hero II will feature two rather awesome headline tracks - Freebird and Sweet Child o' Mine.

Try Guitar Hero II at EIEF

Tickets available free.

Guitar Hero II will make its first public appearance in Europe on August 22nd at the Edinburgh Interactive Entertainment Festival.

More GHII tracks confirmed

More GHII tracks confirmed

Guitar Heroes listen up.

Those of you waiting with bated guitars for news of Guitar Hero II's full tracklist now have a little bit more to go on thanks to an Australian promo event.

Over there, IGN reports, RedOctane revealed that Stone Temple Pilots' "Trippin' on a Hole in a Paper Heart", Anthrax's "Madhouse" and Motley Crue's "Shout at the Devil" will be in the line-up.

That's on top of Black Sabbath's "War Pigs", Butthole Surfers' "Who Was in My Room Last Night?", KISS' "Strutter", Rush's "YYZ", Reverend Horton Heat's "Psychobilly Freakout" and Van Halen's "You Really Got Me", all of which were mentioned prior to E3.

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Guitar Hero to go online?

RedOctane talks next-gen.

RedOctane president Kai Huang says we can expect the publisher's music games on next-generation consoles to include downloadable content and online play.

New Guitar Hero controller

Released by third party.

Guitar Hero fans may be interested to know that a third-party controller for the game is now available over at Lik-Sang.

Gibson seeks Guitar Heroes

To play on stage at Donington.

Calling all Guitar Heroes - Gibson (the guitar manufacturer, not the one in the hat) is offering you the chance to show off your skills at this year's Download Festival.

Guitar Hero man to visit UK

And show off the sequel.

Good news for fans of rockin' PS2 title Guitar Hero - creative director Josh Randall will be visiting the UK this weekend to tell us all about how it came into being and show off the sequel.

FeatureGuitar Hero II

E3: Onboard the Harmonix tour bus.

E3 is distinctly NOT rock and roll. Some of you might have visions of us running around a room packed with game developers, swigging Martinis and shooting the breeze about our Geometry Wars score, pausing to pose with totty and then sprinkling a few hundred inebriated words into a document. Which - well, to be fair, I am drunk - but the point is that the reality is different. Really we all just stand around moaning, play some games while being jostled by thousands of people, who inexplicably paid $200 to wander around the same room as us collecting brochures and then pass out with six bags on each trunklike arm, before slugging our way crosstown to hammer two thousand words into a vaguely coherent, you know, thing. Me-do.

Activision snaps up RedOctane

Guitar Hero to go next-gen?

Activision has acquired RedOctane, the publisher best known for bringing recently released and completely brilliant (as Kristan and Tom would agree) Guitar Hero to PS2.

Partial Guitar Hero II tracklist

Plus talk of E3 concerts.

RedOctane and Harmonix have announced a few of the songs that should make up the 55-strong playlist in Guitar Hero II, due out in the US this November.

Indies sought for Guitar Hero II

Get your music in it.

RedOctane and Harmonix are looking for independent musicians interested in having their work featured in Guitar Hero II, due out in the US this November.

Guitar Hero II this November

New songs, co-op, more.

Guitar Hero II will be released in the US this November, publisher RedOctane has announced - confirming CEO Kelly Sumner's recent comments, which also stated we could expect genre spin-offs within the next 12-15 months.