When Activision recently revealed the new Guitar Hero game, they also introduced a new guitar controller, replacing Harmonix’s original five-button configuration with a new, six-button design. The new control scheme is an intelligent evolution of the concept, and while it’s unfortunate that the new game won’t be compatible with the older controllers, that’s just the cost of progress, right?
Harmonix doesn’t think it has to be. Its Rock Band 4 will also be coming out this fall, alongside Guitar Hero Live. However, unlike Guitar Hero Live, Rock Band 4 will support your old guitar controllers, no matter what game they were made for.
“We’re planning to support everything that we can: That includes all of the old Rock Band controllers, and all the old Guitar Hero controllers,” Harmonix project director Daniel Sussman recently told Business Insider. Call them sentimental, but while Activision and FreeStyleGames are shedding the past in favor of a new design, Harmonix is sticking to the design it originally pioneered in the first Guitar Hero, before striking off on their own and filling in the rest of the instruments for Rock Band.
More than involving loyalty to their own design, Sussman explained this as a pro-consumer decision:
“Our position is really all about respect for our consumers and for the money that they have spent to get into the game space in the first place. They spend a fortune on games: on consoles, on hardware, and we’re sensitive to that. We play those games too. We buy all the same stuff. A world where you need to have three different guitars and two drum sets and all this stuff is … we don’t want to support that world.”
Sussman could not confirm whether they would also support the new Guitar Hero controller, but did not rule out the possibility. “I don’t see anything on it that makes me think that we couldn’t figure out a way to support it, and yet I won’t know for sure until we get one in the office.”