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Guitar Hero Live is coming late October

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Guitar controllers will be returning in time for Halloween. Activision has announced that Guitar Hero Live is coming October 20th for all platforms. The price will be $99.99 for the game and guitar. October looks to be a surprisingly busy month for a rhythm game revival, with retailer leaks suggesting Rock Band 4 will launch October 6th. But whereas Rock Band 4 seems to be a visual overhaul of the classic Rock Band style, Guitar Hero Live is introducing a new controller— with a three-by-two grid of buttons instead of the classic five large buttons going up and down the neck.

We had a chance to play some more Guitar Hero Live ahead of E3 to try out harder difficulties. If you're used to the older Guitar Hero or Rock Band games, there's gonna be a bit of a learning curve here. Sure, there's less traveling for your hand, but it took us several songs to learn how to read the new on-screen highways. There are now just three such highways instead of five, but now you need to keep an eye out for three different icons representing pressing down the top row of buttons, the bottom row, or even both.

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One of the big questions we've had since launch is the business model for Guitar Hero Live, and while it still isn't entirely clear, we have a somewhat clear idea of what Activision is planning. At this point, there are two currencies in the game — one earned through playing songs and accomplishing challenges, one that's earned by paying real cash. Unlockables include themes for the note highway, guitar powers (aka score multipliers), and "premium" 24-hour music video channels for Guitar Hero TV. Most, if not all songs can be played without paying any money — but if you don't want to grind, money is an option, too. Activision is planning to have a party pass of sorts for unlocking everything in the game for a limited amount of time.

At launch, Guitar Hero Live will be available on PlayStation 4 and PS3, Xbox One and 360, Nintendo Wii U, and select mobile devices (representatives from Activision still won't tell us which mobile devices specifically).