Neversoft's Brian Bright announced at a Guitar Hero 5 event that the game is franchise compatible, confirming speculation that Activision's plan for world domination continues unhindered by lawsuit settlements.

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Franchise compatible means no new band sets to replace your old ones and you can keep the music you've downloaded for World Tour as well. But there's more to Activision's plan than just a unified music system. Seriously — they brought Johnny Cash back from the dead both in the game and in the form of a live cover band at the event. And beyond that, they're already thinking about the future of the franchise well down the road from Guitar Hero 5.


Kinda looks like Cash doesn't like his cover band...

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Bright wouldn't say too much about what lies ahead, but he did share some of the things his team at Neversoft has learned over the years. "We learned it's not always fun to play a four piece band," he said. "Sometimes people want to fight over the guitar, sometimes people don't want to play bass even though we added the open note. Some people just suck at drums and don't want to play it, it's intimidating. And we wanted to go green and there's a lot of guitars out there."


It's a lot like taiko drumming.

Bright also said he was excited about Project Natal and other motion-control-related E3 announcements. "We've done prototype motion controls with guitars in the past, with just the accelerometer," he said. "But you just don't get the refined data that you'd get when start throwing in things like they showed at E3. Just the single accelerometer — trying to put the guitar behind your head, the game just doesn't know. Would we be interested [in Natal]? Absolutely. I'm not saying that's what we're doing. But it's cool, it's exciting stuff. Even Wii MotionPlus... there's definitely avenues to be explored there."

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The one thing Bright isn't looking forward to is the typical "Why isn't artist X in the game?" complaint most music games get. "Specifically Led Zeppelin," he added.

He also frowns on people who plan to write Guitar Hero 5 off as "not that different" from Guitar Hero: World Tour. "You have to play the game, you have to experience it. You will never want to go back to playing the old standard game. We take the stance at Neversoft that we're making video games. We're not music snobs, I mean we love music. But ultimately, we're making a video game that's fun to play and a way to experience music. Have fun, lighten up."

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Guitar Hero 5 is out for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii September 1. Here, have some screens: