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Analysts have predicted the death of the music game genre for some time now. Clearly no-one told Ubisoft, makers of Splinter Cell and the Assassins Creed trilogy of games. Its offering to the music gaming genre is Rocksmith and it allows gamers to jam on real guitars.
Ubisoft executive director Laurent Detoc said, “We’ve had at least 100 people try this game and we have yet to find one person who says it doesn’t work. People will get a lifelong skill if they stick with this game. It is very validating to think how many new guitarists Ubisoft will create.”
Ubisoft says that it is excited at the possibility of “improving lives” and not merely “serving as diversions”.
Detoc said that the idea was formed when he chatted to his team about various Guitar Hero titles which used plastic instruments which were “barely in tune with real instruments”.
“How many parents are there out there with teenagers who spent 100 hours playing ‘Guitar Hero’ or ‘Rock Band’ but didn’t learning anything? How much waste — wouldn’t you rather play the real thing instead?”
In order to integrate real guitars into the gaming environment, Ubisoft bought a startup that specialises in sound conversion from analogue to digital. Gamers will be able to plug in electric and acoustic guitars with quarter-inch jacks. The cable will come with the Rocksmith game or as a package deal with a Les Paul Jr. Guitar. It is believed that it will retail at US$200.
“A plastic guitar you will throw away at some point. A real guitar you are going to keep.” In terms of gameplay mechanics, there will be an animated “note highway” which displays an on-screen fret board of the guitar neck laid on its side. The notes will slide up towards the player and it will be their job to “hit” each not as it launches towards them.
“Here is a great way to learn to play music that fits with our modern lifestyles. We knew we could get people to play, we just didn’t know it would work so well.”
Rocksmith is expected to launch on 18 October.