Konami comes full circle, swallows its pride and joins forces with Activision-Blizzard and Raw Thrills to take the industry's biggest rhythm title to the arcades.
Pop quiz, hot shot. Activision-Blizzard is in control of a one billion dollar empire that you've essentially created. It's pumping out sequels, landing major endorsements, outselling its competition and has turned rhythm games into a full-blown cultural phenomenon. Meanwhile, your answer to this predicament, Rock Revolution, managed to sell less than 3,000 copies total, across all consoles, in the month of October. Raw Thrills, the developer behind such critically acclaimed titles as Big Buck Hunter and Big Buck Hunter 2 is set to bring this unstoppable army of rock to your last bastion of relevance within the genre: the arcades.
What do you do, Konami? What do you do? You cash in any way you can.
The oft-rumored Guitar Hero Arcade will be making its debut Tuesday, November 17, as the expo doors of the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) open in Orlando, Florida. Details as to which version of Guitar Hero it's based on and what songs are featured are rather sparse, but what we do know is that the game is being developed by Raw Thrills of Illinois, best known for the bar-friendly shooter, Big Buck Hunter.
So while the advent of Guitar Hero Arcade is not surprising, the inclusion of Konami as a publishing partner most certainly is. Konami is no stranger to the field, having essentially prototyped the entire genre for the rhythm-gaming developers of today with their brand of Bemani arcade titles. The entire concept of full-band gameplay is old hat to Konami as well, as its Guitar Freaks (1998) and DrumMania (1999) titles could be linked together by arcade operators, turning the two games into a three-player rock and roll show. In true Konami fashion, the Japanese company has taken such "copycats" to court for frivolous reasons, but unfortunately for them, rolling over the likes of MTV isn't quite as easy as a small, Texas developer.
Konami's inclusion on this deal is rather simple. The master of patents, Konami owns the rights to some of the more vital pieces of the technology required to make an arcade machine like this work. And since both Konami and Raw Thrills have distrubution agreements with Betson Enterprise, getting the two developers together to make something of this magnitude possible doesn't seem like much of a stretch.
Guitar Hero Arcade is due for release in 2009.