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Guitar Hero Live Announced: Revamped Guitar, New Style

Yes, a new Guitar Hero is on the way.

Activision has announced the revival of the once-blockbuster franchise; the new entry will be called Guitar Hero Live and it will undoubtedly compete with Harmonix's previously confirmed Rock Band 4 .

But this isn't just another Guitar Hero . A lot has changed since you saw it last, as developer FreeStyleGames ( DJ Hero ) is working to deliver an entirely new experience. The cartoon-y visuals are gone, replaced by footage of real crowds that will respond accordingly to your performance. They're also putting in music videos.

As for the iconic guitar peripheral, that's undergoing a transformation as well. Instead of the five colored buttons on the neck of the guitar, there are a total of six; three on top and three on bottom. These buttons are only black and white. As creative director Jamie Jackson told GameSpot :

"As soon as you had to use the pinky, it all got a bit dangerous. So we built this around the concept of keeping the fingers in one position, but adding complexity at the higher levels."

Beginners can play with just three buttons, but intermediate and expert players can go for all six. In regards to the available tracks out of the box, the full list will be displayed at E3, but here's a brief sampling of the Guitar Hero Live artists:

Jackson says there will be a goodly assortment of music right out of the box, although there will be some progress and unlocks.

Perhaps the biggest draw, however, will be Guitar Hero TV. The game's online network will be hefty and rewarding:

"When you go there, it's going to throw you into a TV channel with music playing. And you can play that track wherever it is in the music. If you come in halfway through, you'll just join halfway through. There'll be a ton of people playing, and it'll match-make you against people that match your skillset. If you don't like that song, you just press a button to open up a channel guide. Change the channel and see what's on another channel, see what's on another show. And if you still don't like what you see, you can jump into the song on-demand section and just pick a song play it on-demand."

This is where you will find those music videos, and you can even jump between channels to find the music you like. You don't actually select individual songs in this mode; you play whatever comes your way, and the genre will depend on the show in question as opposed to the channel. It sounds like a very cool – and exceedingly dynamic – idea.

Oh, and they want to make it clear that this isn't just the first in a long string of new Guitar Hero games. This is the game; they'll simply build on it the same way you would an MMO. And that's especially good to hear, given how Activision drove this franchise into the ground via over-saturation before.

So, what do you think?