There's a Battle of the Bands scenario brewing now that a new contender has arrived on the "play along to your favorite tunes with a game controller instrument" scene. Seven45 Studios has just released details of its new gaming system called PowerGig where the buttoned and plunger interface of the familiar Guitar Hero and Rock Band gaming interface has been tossed out in favor of a real six-string guitar.
Seven45 Studios has taken a more hands-on approach to its game and interface development than most other gaming companies in that it will develop and publish the software and manufacture the hardware. The game is to be called "Power Gig: Rise of the SixString" and will "transport players to an entirely new universe, with its own mythology, politics, settings, heroes and villains, where music rules all".
In response to requests for a more realistic approach to gameplay, Seven45 Studios has designed and manufactured a new gaming interface which is not only shaped like a guitar but also has six strings straddled atop 20 frets and a genuine guitar pickup to allow players to plug into an external amplifier and hear themselves rock out. There will be two modes of play on offer - the familiar beat matching kind of thing where players follow color-coded onscreen prompts and a chord play option.
Adding a more challenging aspect to the game, power chord finger placement prior to striking a note will be a new requirement, offering users a more realistic tactile experience as well as providing fundamental playing knowledge. In other words - as well as playing along to your favorite tune, by the time the song is mastered a user should actually be able to play it for real.
The company's Bernard Chui said of the development: "We believe that there is something unmatchable about the feeling of an authentic guitar in your hands, and Power Gig brings that excitement to all gamers with an instrument that absolutely anyone can pick up and play." The fact that Seven45 Studios is partnered with instrument manufacturer First Act should ensure that any instrument interface released will be of decent build quality.
Power Gig: Rise of the SixString is penciled in for a Fall 2010 release on the PS3 and Xbox 360 but made its alpha debut at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco earlier in the week. As a guitarist I will be looking forward to actually getting some degree of satisfaction from the band game genre and welcoming TV interviews of the future where noted players proudly lay claim to learning to play thanks to a video game.