A source with inside knowledge of Vicarious Visions and Activision claims that the two companies collaborated on the creation of Guitar Hero 7 as late as 2011, with concerns over the quality of the experience leading to the cancelation of the project.
The source is quoted by Kotaku as saying that the series was supposed to go back to its roots and focus exclusively on the guitar, abandoning drum and vocal play that was added with Warriors of Rock.
The source described the six-string guitar that would act as the virtual instrument, saying, “Not a real guitar, or even full six-stringed. It had the classic Guitar Hero buttons on the neck with one extra new button, and six strings where the strum bar used to be.”
Apparently, the ambitious plastic instrument was a problem because it was unresponsive and also cost a lot to manufacture.
It also did not appeal to the core gamer, with Vicarious Visions struggling to actually create a game experience around it.
The developer did do better while creating the visual style of Guitar Hero 7.
The source adds detail on game locations, which included: “A tomb, the back of a moving truck. The locations were going to match the songs. Each song would have it’s own music video. It was a nice idea, and some of the concepts looked great.”
Apparently, the testing process was only done with Turn the Page from Metallica and A Thing Called Love from The Darkness and the developers panicked when they realized their song list only included old hits that did not appeal to a modern audience.
Seemingly, the entire development process was canceled when Eric Hirshberg, who presides over the publishing division at Activision, looked at the game and was not impressed.
Harmonix, the creator of the rival Rock Band franchise, also moved away from the music game business.