Guitar Hero only 'on hiatus,' True Crime: Hong Kong cancellation explained

Activision's Dan Winters has revealed that Guitar Hero is only "on hiatus," as well as the reason for cancelling True Crime: Hong Kong.


In February, monolithic publisher Activision announced that it was closing its music games division and cancelling True Crime: Hong Kong. While the former was not entirely unexpected due to the crowded rhythm game market, the latter was a little surprising. Speaking to recently, Activision's VP of developer relations and acquisitions Dan Winters explained a little more.

"Actually, just to clarify, we're just putting Guitar Hero on hiatus, we're not ending it," Winters explained to the site. "We're releasing products out of the vault--we'll continue to sustain the channel, the brand won't go away. We're just not making a new one for next year, that's all."

For now, Activision is keeping the brand alive with periodic downloadable content releases. Initially, it planned only to only release DLC until the end of February but new tracks are still coming. The latest were released only today.

There's no word on whether the DJ Hero franchise is similarly only taking a break, though.

Winters also explained that while True Crime: Hong Kong was shaping up to be "a very good game," Activision wasn't sure it'd fit in with its ghastly business model.

The challenges in the market place right now, when you're talking about open-world games that are going to compete with titles like Red Dead Redemption, expectations for the consumer are really high.

    That would have been, and still might end up being, a very successful mid-tier opportunity for someone. But, as I said, we changed our business model to where we were going to change our business model to focus disproportionately on three big, huge monsters. Those three monsters are the Bungie, Call of Duty and Spyro titles.

    So that left the True Crime title being a mid-tier opportunity which we felt was an opportunity cost against other things. But we have a lot of confidence in the quality of the studio and the quality of the title, just not in the scale of the opportunity.

While on the subject of milking franchises, Tony Hawk has revealed that he's working with Activision on yet another skateboarding game. "We're going to do something probably for next year but I can't give too much away," he said.

Internet, you may resume your raging.

From The Chatty
    • reply
      April 12, 2011 2:44 PM

      It's funny to see the various business practices that companies are taking. It is an exciting time to see how publishers are going to find ways to sustain themselves. EA tried New IP and that didn't work out so well for them (Mirror's Edge, Dante's Inferno, etc). Activision spits out the "summer blockbuster" games that everyone eats up, and the emerging self published indie crowd is where a lot of the excitement is. I am not an analyst so it will be interesting to see where things go from here.

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      April 12, 2011 2:56 PM

      First off, Spyro is a "monster"-title/franchise for them? Seriously? I keep wondering why the Spyro games still exist but apparently somebody buys them.

      Secondly, it was a real bummer to hear about the True Crime cancellation - especially since it was a EGM cover story which made me actually quite interested in the game

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        April 12, 2011 8:13 PM

        The Spyro game sell millions pretty routinely.

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        April 12, 2011 8:24 PM

        As far as i'm concerned there hasn't been a good spyro game since the ps1 days. Insomniac has moved on to greater things. But activision will continue to do what they are good at. Milking a franchise to death. You would of thunk that the poor little purple dragon would have ran out of steam by now.

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        April 13, 2011 3:56 AM

        I had the same thought - that's the third tent pole of their circus? Wow.

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        April 13, 2011 8:21 AM

        hah, i had to google spyro before i knew what the hell they were on about :/. massive title ahoy!

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          April 13, 2011 11:13 AM

          I google'd it too and I still have no idea what it is.

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        April 13, 2011 3:26 PM

        Maybe he meant it in a literal sense. You know, Spyro's a dragon, also called a monster... ? ;)

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      April 12, 2011 4:16 PM

      At least he's not tiptoeing around his company's M.O. of "focusing disproportionately on huge monster" titles. Activision wants a slam dunk, or nothing. Look at how they nonchalantly pushed out Blur and Singularity in 2010, or how True Crime: Hong Kong went from Black Lotus to cancellation.

      Remember that "independent game competition"?
      Did that actually finish? Was there a winner? OneOfSwords started a Shacknews account to clarify on that news article; surely he can announce the winner or status here.

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      April 13, 2011 2:47 AM

      "We're releasing products out of the vault--we'll continue to sustain the channel, the brand won't go away.''

      Haha stupid marketing speak makes me laugh.

      Fry - 'I'll tell you for why 'grows' the brand'

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      April 13, 2011 3:55 PM

      I'd rather play a new True Crime then either Tony Hawk or Guitar Hero at this point.... And did they just mention Spryo the freakin Dragon!?!? Yea like that last one isn't a total waste of money.

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