Guitar Hero’s Facebook fanbase 5 times the size of Coachella’s, and other reasons why the game was made

Unveiled earlier this week, Guitar Hero Live is an overhaul of Activision’s classic plastic-guitar rhythm game. But why did the company decide now, five years since the last release of a Guitar Hero game, was the right time to release a sequel?

Activision Publishing CEO Eric Hirshberg took to the stage in New York City earlier this week to explain.

Guitar Hero’s Facebook page has 10 million active users. Coachella, he pointed out, only has 2 million.

“Guitar Hero has five times that and we haven’t had a game in five years,” he said.

He also explained that the company didn’t want to rehash or port over an existing Guitar Hero; it was an entirely new experience or nothing. So they started looking for ways to do that.

“When we looked back at the Guitar Hero franchise we realized that the rock star fantasy ended at that guitar-shaped controller,” he said. “What was happening on the screen didn’t do much to further that fantasy. It was highly stylized, looked cartoonish and your point of view was looking up at the stage like you were in the audience.

“We thought, ‘What if we made a game that really made you feel like a rock star?’ We asked ourselves, ‘Could a Guitar Hero game actually give you stage fright?’ That question started the process that ended here today.”

Guitar Hero Live features live actors taking on the role of your bandmates and the audience. The actors react to how well you play. The game also includes a redesigned guitar, a Guitar Hero Live video jukebox mode and the ability to play the game on mobile devices, something we got our first brief glimpse of in this video.

“Our goal,” Hirshberg said, “was nothing short of trying to make the most visceral, most realistic rhythm game ever made.”

Watch the video to see the full presentation, including gameplay sessions with members of Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance, and then head over to our feature on Guitar Hero Live for all of the details.