Guitar Hero 7 would have lost drums, vocals, and probably lots of money.
Guitar Hero had an oddly appropriate life cycle for a game about rock stars. Coming from humble beginnings with a single game and a unique idea, the series experienced a meteoric rise over the next few years before overexposing itself and dying an ignominious, early death. Before the series went "on hiatus," Vicarious Visions was hard at work on a Guitar Hero 7, which would have made a few major changes. Instead of the standard "guitar/vocals/drums" setup from the previous few games, GH7 would have shipped with an unusual six-string guitar facsimile and no support for other instruments that might make you spontaneously combust.
GH7 was canceled in early 2011, but had a considerable amount of developer heft behind it prior to that. A source close to the project describes an ambitious, but potentially ridiculous new six-string guitar controller that Vicarious Visions had developed. "Not a real guitar, or even full six-stringed," he explains. "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." While the design was unorthodox, the source was not thrilled with the final product, especially since the peripheral in question was unwieldy, expensive, and unattractive. "The strings were unresponsive and loose, and the guitars cost a fortune to make."
The game had other grand ambitions beyond its semi-six-string guitar. Originally, Vicarious Visions wanted to redo Guitar Hero's recognizable art style, amass a collection of rock and metal classics, and provide each song with its own unique music video and location. However, cost and technical issues beset the production at every turn. "[Vicarious Visions] realized that, with our lack of budget and time, they couldn't get quality music so they bought bargain basement music like 'Closing Time' and 'Sex and Candy,'" says the source. "There were some songs in there that had been used at least three times in the GH franchises before." Furthermore, a tracklist of over 80 songs made individual music videos impossible, so the same two sets started getting reused over and over. "They had a game that looked bad, had bad music, had very limited venues, and more was getting cut as time went on."
While Guitar Hero 7 had some promising ideas, given its diminishing nature, it's probably just as well that it never saw the light of day. Guitar Hero is a franchise whose time may yet come again, but in the meantime, at least the gaming community has plenty of good memories from it.