Red Octane on Guitar Compatibility
So you've invested in Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock and now are itching to get Rock Band which only brings one guitar in it's bundle, but luckily your Guitar Hero guitar is ready to rock...not just yet. As it has been a recent topic of discussion, the Guitar Hero guitar is not compatible with Rock Band and now Red Octane, developer of the controllers for Guitar Hero since day one, has responded to the issue.
Red Octane's co-founder and VP of Business Development, "I totally understand where the consumer is coming from. Quite honestly, you're not buying a $40, $50 or $60 game. You're buying a $100 Guitar Hero bundle, a $170 Rock Band bundle and suddenly you're finding out you just spent $270 and things aren't going right," said Huang in a recent interview.
As for the PS3's side of things, neither Red Octane nor Harmonix get their peripherals to run over Bluetooth, forcing them to develop USB dongles on their own.
"Red Octane was in development on Guitar Hero and Harmonix was in development on Rock Band, and we would take our guitars and our software into Sony and show them what we're going to build. They would test them and say 'fine, that works.' Harmonix would do the same with Rock Band controllers and Rock Band and Sony would test them and say 'fine, that works,'" explained Huang. "Sony's supposed to be a neutral third-party and they're not supposed to tell us what Harmonix is doing and they're not supposed to tell Harmonix what we're doing, so they can't release any information to either side that say 'well, Red Octane, you're guitars aren't working with their software.'"
Although it seems as both companies don't have a problem working together (as both have worked together on Guitar Hero II on the Xbox 360), Red Octane isn't jumping at fixing the issue of the Rock Band guitar not working on Guitar Hero III. Huang went on to state, "I don't think we're too interested in having their guitars work on our game, because they're having a lot of issues with their guitars, from our standpoint, to be quite honest, if you know a competitor's product has issues, there's not a whole lot of motivation to make these problematic controllers work with your game. Why would you want to cause yourself the headache?"
The whole situation has left Huang a little unhappy. Before launch, Harmonix said their guitars adhered to an "open standard" on each platform making it seem that if a guitar didn't work in their game, it was the manufacturer's fault.
"There is no such thing as an open standard on PS3 for guitar controllers. That's just a crock. Open standard is something like USB or 802.11 [a wireless protocol]. They publish the spec and if you want to build a USB anything, you follow these specs. I defy anybody to show me, before our games were released, to show a published spec of how to build a guitar controller on PS3," said Huang.
With the impending patch that Harmonix plans to be releasing for Rock Band, it may just be a matter of time before Red Octane and Activision will have to fold and please the consumer by providing support for the Rock Band guitar in Guitar Hero through a similar patch.