CCC: How many songs did you start out with when first compiling the song list for GH2?
Ted: Since we had done Guitar Hero, we knew exactly how to tackle the second list of songs. We really only had a list of maybe 100 songs. We spent a lot of time listening to music so that we could compile a list of about 100 songs that were to be on our dream list. When we did GH1 we had tons and tons of songs, but we found that keeping the list smaller helped us to focus on the exact songs we wanted.
CCC: What were some of the songs you weren't able to use?
Ted: The same ones as in Guitar Hero. Metallica still wouldn’t give us a song and the same went for Zeppelin. We also got turned down by the Beatles. I really wished we could have gotten a Beatles tune. My main pick was “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey” I love that song and I liked the fact that it wasn’t a song that everyone would have expected us to put in if we got approval from the Beatles.
CCC: Did you find that the success of the first game opened doors in regards to obtaining permission for songs in the sequel? Any specific examples of artists that said "No" for Guitar Hero, but changed their minds for GH2?
Ted: Guns N’ Roses is the main one that comes to mind. We wanted them in Guitar Hero, but were either turned down or never got a response. This time around it almost seemed easy. We were thrilled that they said yes. They are another band that all the fans have been asking for so we were glad to be able to give it to them.
CCC: What kind of criticism did you get from the first version and did you address any of it?
Ted: Hammer-ons and Pull-offs were very hard for people to pull off in Guitar Hero, so we tweaked them a bit. Players can now hammer-on and pull-off like a true professional guitarist. This really adds to the gameplay and it’s also a technique that players are going to need on some of the insane solo’s we have in the game.
CCC: Any actual guitar players on the Harmonix team?
Ted: Definitely, a bunch of the guys at Harmonix play guitar or have full bands. Some of the music you find in the unlock section of the game comes from Harmonix fronted bands. There are also a few guitar players at RedOctane, and even inspired some people at the RedOctane to learn how to play.
CCC: Have you had any comments or endorsements from professional musicians?
Ted: Almost any actual artist or endorsee that has played it has said to us that it really does give you the feeling of playing real guitar, but without all of the years of practicing. A bunch of the guys at Wavegroup (the studio where they record the music for the game) said that the game actually gave them the same feeling as they have had playing for a live crowd.