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Vicarious Visions talks Guitar Hero: On Tour Decades

We were able to conduct a Q & A with David Nathanielsz, executive producer, Jesse Booth, producer, Greg Oberg, lead engineer, Jeremy Russo, lead designer, and Matt Helsom, lead artist, from the Vicarious Visions team responsible for Guitar Hero: On Tour Decades for the DS. They answered a lot of questions about the upcoming DS game, including fielding a question or two about the Nintendo DSi.

So, head past the break for our write-up and see what the fine folks had to say about the upcoming title!

First of all, what about this Nintendo DSi business? With the new handheld eliminating the GBA slot, it means that the guitar grip peripheral will be incompatible with the new handheld. While the team couldn't go into anything specific, they did say that they're "very excited about the [Nintendo] DSi." But, with the Nintendo DSi being a long ways off, if they have any intent on working with the platform, they'll have plenty of time to create as polished a product as On Tour was and On Tour Decades will be.

What separates On Tour Decades from the original? Well, for one, the new game will have "28 songs" total, which is two more than On Tour and brings the total between the two games to above 50 (over 80% of the songs between the two games are "exclusive to the DS"). That kind of volume competes with the home console titles, which traditionally ship with around 70 songs or so (obviously things have changed a bit thanks to DLC). Not too shabby.

On Tour Decades will also have a more comprehensive single-player campaign, offering up different career paths depending on whether you're playing lead guitar or rhythm guitar. The progression through the single-player campaign also has you going backwards through time, as the title opens up with songs from the modern era and takes you back through time as you progress and the songs become more challenging.

Another area the team stressed would be improved is the strumming recognition. In the first game, some folks complained about the touch-screen's recognition of their strumming (they read the message boards, folks!). This time around, the team was able to "go in and clean up the code" first, making sure that the game is as friendly to all forms of strumming as it can.

That's not the biggest new feature in On Tour Decades, however. The game will allow friends to hook up wirelessly with each and get their game on. No big deal, right? Wrong. The best part is that this new functionality will extend to the original game, On Tour, allowing friends to share set lists even though they're using different games. The songs will "stream right from the game" to one another, on the fly. Impressive tech? You bet!

Much like the first game, On Tour Decades will come in a bundle (which includes the guitar grip), as well as a standalone game. When asked about a custom DS Lite bundle, like they did with Guitar Hero: On Tour, we were told that it wasn't going to happen this time around. Also, unlike the first game, On Tour Decades will not feature any licensed instruments.

So there you have it. Plenty of info to digest about next month's release. If you enjoyed Guitar Hero: On Tour, then it's looking like On Tour Decades won't disappoint. Stay tuned for a full set list, which will be making its way to our inbox "soon."

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