Guitar Hero: Interview with Greg LoPiccolo (Harmonix)

I recently chatted with Greg LoPiccolo, VP of Product Development for Harmonix and one of the brains behind Guitar Hero, an innovative game with great reviews. The conversation:

Guitar Hero comes bundled with a mock guitar. What are the risks associated with creating a peripheral for a console game?

Well, there’s developmental risk. The peripheral gets made in China. Hardware changes happen slowly and over great distances, which can be a problem when you’re rapidly iterating through a game’s development. Most of our development is done in one-year cycles, which makes this especially challenging. You’re flying blind, developing game features for hardware that doesn’t exist yet. We specked the whammy bar on faith alone. Fortunately, things worked out great…

Read the rest of the interview!

One response to “Guitar Hero: Interview with Greg LoPiccolo (Harmonix)

  1. Great interview.

    I was a little surprised to learn that reviews don’t have so much influence. I guess it makes sense – a lot of people aren’t enough into the scene to do anything resembling research, a lot of dads are walking in to Best Buy on December 24th, and frankly you can’t trust the major review sites to not be whored out to their sponsors anyway.

    W.R.T. innovation, Greg is right that there’s a misperception that the ‘evil empire’ is resistant to publishing innovative games, because of all the business reasons outlined. However, the correct perception is that the evil empire is resistant to innovating their _business model_ to make it easier for innovative games to flourish. Or to innovate a business model that actually takes advantage of the freaking internet. Vivendi actively attacked Valve for publishing online, instead of developing their own online distribution platform.

    Will they learn/change? Probably not. We’re going to have to wait for a new breed of startups (such as Greg Costikyan’s) to take over for them.

    Oh, and I really want to get Guitar Hero, but I’m not sure where I’d keep a 3/4 scale guitar. Under the couch?