Guitar Hero Live has done much worse than you anticipated. Rock Band 4 has outperformed you and there are quite a few reasons for this. Instead of giving up on the series, now that GH Live is being discontinued, I would suggest a new game. A new Guitar Hero. And here I will suggest how to do it.
1. The controllers
A) The Guitar
Guitar Hero Live’s controller, while being a great idea and still very fun to use, was ultimately not a very sustainable one. Many long-time fans of the series felt that even though it was fun and all, the 5 button controller worked so much better in so many ways. Many fans still play previous games or clone games (such as Clone Hero) because they prefer the 5 button controller. Of course, you can’t abandon the 6 button controller yet, can you? So here is what I propose: sell both a new 6 button controller and a new 5 button controller. Add the compatibility for both, so people can choose to play with whichever controller they please. Yes, you will have to chart the tracks for both, but believe me, it’ll be worth it. And even have optional Bluetooth support. Also, allow for previous controllers to also be used, that’s a no-brainer.
B) The Drums
Definitely bring the drums back. One of the features that was sorely missed in GH Live was drum support, and it would be a godsend if you brought it back. A new drum controller would also need to be created (of course) and maybe you could even introduce another color alongside the traditional black, like white, for example. And why not have multiple colors for the guitar controller too? Also, have optional Bluetooth support.
C) The Microphone
Not much needs to be said about the microphone except that it should have Bluetooth support.
2. The backgrounds
Sure, the GH Live backgrounds were fun and all, but they probably cost you a lot of time and meant that you had to film live performances for each song on the set list. Also GHTV songs were limited to using the music video versions of songs, making them excruciatingly short. Don’t do this to yourselves, Activision. Let us choose our characters from a wide selection. Let us choose our venues from a wide selection.
3. The set list
A) New songs
I would love to see some new songs from this decade in the next Guitar Hero. I would not, however, want to see more songs without guitars, like how so many were in GHTV. Also, it would be nice to have more of a focus on the Rock and Metal genres, like previous games so greatly did.
B) Returning songs
It would be amazing to see some of the greatest hits from Guitar Hero’s past make a return in the next game. I’m thinking titles like One by Metallica, Through the Fire and the Flames by Dragonforce, Jordan by Buckethead, Slow Ride by Foghat, The Devil Went Down to Georgia by The Charlie Daniels Band, and such. Putting the new songs and the returning songs together, you have a very sizable set list that shouldn’t be too expensive to get the licenses for it.
4. Story mode
The story mode should be simple: you play as a guitarist in a band working his way up from the smallest venues in your home town up to the biggest stages in the country/world.
5. The name
Now, this game would be the 8th game in the main Guitar Hero series. The name could simply be Guitar Hero 8. Or it could be formatted like GH2 and 3 to be Guitar Hero VIII. There could be a subtitle attached, like Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock, or the name could just be the subtitle, like Guitar Hero: Warriors of Rock. I personally think the game should be titled Guitar Hero 8 or Guitar Hero VIII.
6. The platforms
Guitar Hero 8 should run on all the latest consoles, including PC. Perhaps even make an iOS version again, that was fun, especially with the 4 button gameplay. This means in total: Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch (hopefully, it would work really well), PC and iOS. A PC version of Guitar Hero Live would have been amazing but unfortunately it was overlooked. Don’t make the same mistake again, Activision.
7. The marketing
You should try to market the game to as many audiences as possible. Market to old fans of the game by showing how great the new set list and controllers are. Market to new fans by introducing the game as an awesome rhythm game that makes you feel like a true rock star when you play it, not only by yourself but with friends too.
8. The pricing
I think the game by itself should be about $30-40, with the guitars costing about $15 each, the drums $10 and the microphone $20, with the bundle being about a reasonable $60. There could be two different bundles, one with a 6 button guitar and one with a 5 button guitar. If you do decide to have different colors for both of the guitars, then there could be 4 different types of bundles in total, giving a very wide selection, which is always good.
I really hope you take this on board, Activision. Believe me, a true revival to the series like this would do very well. Having two types of controllers might seem pointless, but believe me, it would be very well received by everyone, both those who are new to the series and returning fans.
Best of luck,
N & The Guitar Hero Community.