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James Corden and Bobby Kotick hint at new Guitar Hero game

James Corden and Bobby Kotick hint at new Guitar Hero game
Are you ready to rock like it’s 2005? (Picture: Activision)

As Activision prepares for its acquisition by Microsoft, its execs, and a celebrity guest star, have discussed the future of their business.

Next time you read about Activision Blizzard cutting staff, which probably won’t be long given the current state of the industry , remember this story and the fact that they paid James Corden to chair their most recent company meeting.

Yes, James Corden. That well known games industry expert and businessman. He hosted an ‘all-hands meeting’ in which execs congratulated themselves over the imminent Microsoft acquisition and offered some hints about their future plans.

The meeting was supposed to be secret but while there was seemingly nothing substantial about Call Of Duty or any Blizzard titles, Activision CEO Bobby Kotick did name drop Guitar Hero and seemed to imply a reboot was on its way.

The plastic guitar craze of the late 2000s must seem a very strange thing to younger gamers, who never lived through it, but back then Guitar Hero was one of the biggest franchises in gaming, inspiring yearly sequels and multiple spin-offs, as well as all manner of other plastic instruments, from drums to turntables.

Despite the huge success, Activision managed to run the franchise into the ground within just a few years, with far too many games released far too frequently. Rock Band, by the developer that created the original Guitar Hero, lasted a few more years but the music game genre has never recovered.

As part of this week’s meeting, Kotick discussed the Microsoft acquisition and future technologies, mentioning Elon Musk’s brain interfacing Neuralink as a possible means of controlling games in the future – although primitive examples of mind control already exist.

There was also a lot of talk about AI and machine learning, as Kotick praised Microsoft’s research into the area and hinted that Activision Blizzard was poised to take advantage of it. That no doubt means replacing human creators, at least to some degree, with Kotick seeming to imply that he wanted to use AI to voice and operate non-player characters in games.

The last Guitar Hero game was in 2015 (Picture: Activision)

You can read a fuller transcript at Windows Central but one of the clearer points was what seemed to be an admission that Activision has started work on a new Guitar Hero.

‘The reemergence of Guitar Hero and other things would not be possible without the different types of resources. And so, you know, just the endless possibilities for the future that are just incredibly exciting,’ he said.

Perhaps he’d forgotten a new Guitar Hero hadn’t been announced yet, but the last entry was the ill-fated reboot Guitar Hero Live in 2015.

What a new reboot would look like is unclear, but it’s hard to imagine it being entirely dependent on a plastic instrument controller.

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As you can see, Kotick seems to hint at other reboots, which chimes with previous comments he made, where he claims to have discussed bringing back both Guitar Hero and Skylanders with Xbox boss Phil Spencer.

As for the Microsoft acquisition, it’s widely expected to be confirmed on Friday, October 13 (which seems an inauspicious day for it) but that’s not certain and it’s still dependent on an official go-ahead from the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).

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