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Guitar Hero III shows its chops

Wireless Les Paul! Paint It Black!

Activision has just revealed the first details of the next version of Guitar Hero, which may or may not still be called Guitar Hero III.

The game will feature new play modes (including online multiplayer), wireless guitar controllers for all formats, downloadable content, more original recordings, and songs by the Rolling Stones, Muse, Heart and the Beastie Boys.

The game press releases are simply referring to as "the next Guitar Hero" - not counting this summer's PS2 exclusive Guitar Hero Encore: Rocks the 80s, we guess - will be released on PS2, PS3, Wii and Xbox 360.

Activision's clout as publisher has got new Guitar Hero developers Neversoft better deals with record companies, and the game should feature many more actual artist recordings this time around. The following seven tracks will all appear in their original glory:

  • Paint It Black - The Rolling Stones
  • Cherub Rock - Smashing Pumpkins
  • Sabotage - Beastie Boys
  • The Metal - Tenacious D
  • My Name is Jonas - Weezer
  • Knights of Cydonia - Muse
  • Cult of Personality - Living Colour

Meanwhile these four will turn up in "as made famous by" cover version form:

  • Rock And Roll All Nite - Kiss
  • School's Out - Alice Cooper
  • Slow Ride - Fog Hat
  • Barracuda - Heart

We can't stand it. We know they planned it. We're gonna set it straight, this Watergate... just kidding. It already looks like a stunning selection. We know some Heart and Muse fans that will be in ecstasies right now (pansies), but our only thoughts are for thrashing through Sabotage.

"Many of the top bands and songs we've tried to get in the past are now on board, and we've definitely got some giant aces in the hole to say the least," said Dusty Welch, head of publishing at RedOctane, enticingly.

PS3, Wii and 360 owners will get guitar controllers based on the legendary Gibson Les Paul, as wielded by such serious men of rock as Slash and Jimmy Page. The new wireless guitars will have removable, customisable faceplates and a new button colour design that will be "integrated for an even greater authentic feel", apparently. Meanwhile, PS2 Guitar Hero fans will be able to put side their replica SGs in favour of a wireless Kramer, which, we think, looks a bit like a Fender Stratocaster, but we might be wrong.

While retaining all the features of previous games, Neversoft is bringing a few fresh ways to play to the next Guitar Hero. A new, action-inspired multiplayer battle mode and an expanded online multiplayer offering will feature, though it's not confirmed if the latter means actual head-to-head (or co-operative) online play. There will also be, believe it or not, boss battles. It's not confirmed if the boss in question is Bruce Springsteen.

Further downloadable content is also promised for multiple platforms - we're guessing that means PS3 and 360, although it's just possible that Wii will be included, too.

There's no word of a release date for this Guitar Hero sequel yet, but we wouldn't be surprised to see it go head to head with Rock Band from EA, MTV and original Guitar Hero creators Harmonix this Christmas. Look out for more info in the coming months.

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