In 2011, Activision cancelled all future games in the music series that began with Guitar Hero, after a massive drop in sales attributed to an over-saturation of the market. Among the games cancelled were Guitar Hero 7, DJ Hero 3 and a free-to-play browser-based MMO envisioned as the game that would tie the future of the Hero IP together.
Details regarding Hero World have been unearthed by Liam Robertson for his latest Unseen 64 video, embedded below. The game was designed by Freestyle Games, the British studio that developed the DJ Hero series and last year's Guitar Hero Live revival of the IP. However, the team were tied to DJ Hero 3 and so had to pass on development duties.
Enter Virtual Fairground, who got the job thanks to their work on browser-based game Club Galactik – based on French cartoon Galactik Football. Hero World would use the engine behind Club Galactik – called The Ride –which Virtual Fairground had built themselves.
The game would be free to play with minimal, cosmetic micro-transactions, and utilise a universal currency that would work across all Hero games regardless of platform. In it, players would create a character or import one from a future Hero game, set up a club by fitting it out with items bought with the currency and then hire out real DJ Hero or Guitar Hero players to perform and attract large crowds of NPCs, generating revenue.
Those real-world performers would be incentivised to play these "gigs" by large pay-outs of the universal currency which they could use to purchase songs in either DJ or Guitar Hero, or in their own Hero World game.
The video, complete with extensive footage from the cancelled project, can be seen below.
With an "adventure game style narrative", Hero World players would seek to own multiple clubs across the game's over-world, and also ward off a rival "faction". How do they fend them off? With turn-based dance battles of course. It's said these battles could also take place with other human players through multiplayer.
A stripped-down but similar Facebook game, about setting up music festivals instead of clubs, was also briefly in the works. But the app never made it to the prototype stage.
Scheduled for release in late 2011 alongside DJ Hero 3, the game and all other Hero titles in development were cancelled. The series remained dormant until 2015's revival.