Guitar Hero: Warriors Of Rock brings with it more than just 90 new tracks and some additional game modes; it'll include the biggest controller redesign since the original title in the franchise. And it's axelicious.
While new Guitar Hero games will continue to be backward compatible with older guitars—all of the buttons remain unchanged—the new wireless controllers have consolidated all of the electronics into the neck and fretboard, leaving the body free of any responsibilities beyond aesthetics.
Without any integrated circuitry, you can swap these guitar bodies at will, which attach to the fretboard in two-part wing formation. The lead shot is the standard controller that will come with the game. This second guitar is a Gamestop-exclusive design, which will be available to those who preorder Warriors of Rock in addition to the body that everyone else receives:
Of course, without any electronics, these custom wings won't be able to alter the game experience beyond how a cellphone faceplate might impact a phone call. (Indeed, you can even play the guitar just fine without any wings attached at all.) And bodies glowing with LEDs won't be possible since the wings don't have access to the guitar's power source.
The new guitars will be available for Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii versions of Warriors of Rock. Activision wouldn't reveal pricing for any of the components, nor would they share future design partnerships we should expect.
But when I brought up the possibility of, say, an acoustic-styled set of wings or something straight out of the 80s, Activision reps said this level of customization was entirely the point. So no, not every design to come would necessarily be so metal-influenced, but they are expected to take stylistic cues from the game itself rather than historic rock traditions.
Usually, I'm against more superfluous gaming peripherals. However, I will say, if the Guitar Hero franchise actually sticks with this plan for many games to come (they wouldn't commit to how long they'd retain this specific design, though hinted it could be for a while), it could offer consumers a way to buy a fresh guitar without actually buying all the plastic and e-waste of a whole extra controller. And from that standpoint, I hope it works out. But as a guy who already has like 100 music peripherals to trip over on the way to the living room, I can make do with the game itself.