Guitar Hero Live is adding a new competitive multiplayer mode for Guitar Hero TV, and they’re doing it soon. Like, today. In fact, it should already be live right now.
Rival Challenges is a one-on-one score battle that will run twice in every half-hour block of Guitar Hero TV. You know how you see those scores from other players on the left side of the screen when you play Guitar Hero TV? Imagine that, but with only one other player, who’s actually playing live at the same time as you. The winner gets an extra 100 Status XP, along with the warm feelings that usually come from beating strangers at videogame activities.
Rival Challenges is a surprise for Guitar Hero fans, but it’s rooted in what the community wants. “We spent a lot of time combing the internet and reading on our own forums to see what kind of stuff people like,” James Norris, FreeStyle Games designer, tells us. “Nine times out of ten people are telling us we have to put their favorite band in the game. But a lot of people are also asking for features and one of the main ones we saw was that they wanted a more competitive multiplayer experience. As GHTV works right now you’re paired up with nine other people of similar skill level to do battle during a song and whoever wins gets the most status. We’ve taken that a step further and at two points during a half-hour show block a Rival Challenge will be initiated, and that’s going to be a head-to-head, one-on-one match against basically the closest person that’s playing on line at that time, matched to your skill level.”
Rival Challenges will be freely available for all Guitar Hero TV players, although they’ll have to be at level 10 to access the new mode. There are practical reasons for that level minimum, Norris explains. “We’ve had some time to look at data and take a look at how much time it’s taking for people to get to specific parts of the game and we feel that level 10 is a good time frame for people to have really sunk in. They have access to guitar upgrades, they have access to a lot of the competitive hero powers at that point, so we feel level 10 is a good place for you to be competitive and get into this mode.”
The challenges will appear twice during every half-hour Guitar Hero TV show, with their own intro graphics that let you know what’s about to happen. You can turn it off if you don’t want to deal with the pressure of head-to-head play.
Norris tells us this wouldn’t be the last surprise update for Guitar Hero fans. ”[The game] just lives on line. We don’t have to do massive patches or anything like that, so it’s easy for us to put stuff in. We just shipped the thing not too long ago and we’ve been working on rivals ever since, so you can expect to see stuff in the future. As to when and what and who and how, that is all extremely top secret, but we’re paying attention. One thing I like to always reiterate is we can only give the people what they want if they tell us what they want.”
Norris reiterates that players should tell FreeStyle what they want to see in the game. “Even just go onto Reddit,” he says. “I check Reddit every day, I’m always reading Reddit to see what people are saying. The Freestyle Games website, GuitarHero.com—just let us know what you want to see. Again, nine times out of ten it’s music, but we also pay attention to what kind of songs you guys want to hear, and if somebody has a big detailed idea of what they want to see in the game, put it on there. We read all that stuff and we take it into consideration. It goes up on a board and we look at how much time we have and what features the people want and what features we were already planning and we smash it all together until we have something awesome like Rival Challenges.”
Rival Challenges will start showing up in Guitar Hero TV today, at no cost to the player.
Garrett Martin edits Paste’s comedy and games section. Follow him on Twitter.