DJ Hero developer FreeStyleGames has officially survived "the great Activision music genre culling of 2011." The fate of the developer was still undecided earlier this year, but Creative Director Jamie Jackson announced today that the studio "will continue [its] strong partnership with Activision."
There was some collateral damage, as a studio rep confirmed 35 positions would be lost. The developer is currently working on a "new, innovative" unannounced project. The studio plans to share details about the upcoming title in the coming months.
The mysteriously replenishing spring of DJ Hero 2 DLC has turned out yet another batch of downloadable mixmasterpieces -- and it might just be the most danceable selection of new additions to date. Well, we're assuming they possess a high danceability, considering the dance-centric lineage of their inventors: There's a track by Benny Benassi, Deadmau5 and Yolanda Be Cool and DCUP, all of which have been remixed by the folks at FreeStyleGames.
We've contacted Activision to find out exactly how many mashed-up downloadables they've got left in the chamber. Hopefully, the answer is "a lot" -- we're still waiting on pins and needles for that totally dope Crosby, Stills and Nash remix. For now, check out this week's new additions after the jump.
This is just silly: The DJ Hero 2 turntable bundle has been marked down from $59.99 to $29.99 on Amazon and GameStop. No reason for the massive discount is given on either retailer's site, but we're just going to assume its a national holiday dedicated to the honorable craft of Disc Jockeying.
If you like your beats fresh and your hip-hop obscure, DJ Hero 2's latest three-song DLC bundle was carefully tailored for your very subset of desires. The "Indie Hip Hop Mix Pack" is available now through the in-game music store, and includes a trio of mashed-up selections featuring works by RJD2, Jaylib, Atmosphere and Peanut Butter Wolf, who is obviously the most delicious wolf of all time.
Check out which tracks have been blended after the jump -- or start blending them yourself by picking up the pack for 640 Microsoft Points or $7.99, or separately on the Wii for 300 Wii Points a pop.
Though the DLC well for the Guitar Hero and DJ Hero franchises was supposed to dry up at the end of this month, it seems that Activision's not quite ready to retire the ol' pump (or bucket, depending on how old-timey the well in question is). The official Twitter feeds for both series have announced that more DLC is planned for their respective stores, citing "continued support" from their communities for the change in position.
Both feeds promised that more information about the new content is coming "soon" -- we'll let you know when we learn more. That is, after we scold Activision for playing with our emotions so recklessly. Seriously, this is like the time our parents told us our hamster died, and then a week later, told us that they were just kidding about the hamster thing, only we later found out that, yes, our hamster was actually totally dead the whole time.
If you've had your fingers crossed that FreeStyleGames would make it through Activision's culling of around 500 jobs unscathed -- well, keep those digits twisted. The DJ Hero developer's creative director Jamie Jackson and commercial director Chris Lee announced this morning in a joint statement, "We continue positive discussions with Activision around possible routes for FreeStyleGames," adding, "We have not reached an agreement as of today, however we are in continued dialogue and hope to have more news soon."
The statement didn't include any other hints about how these dialogues are going, but did mention, "Messages from the industry and gamers alike have been warmly received and we are incredibly grateful for the support." Here's another for the pile: DJ Hero games are awesome, and we sincerely hope you get to keep making them.
With two weeks left in February, each DJ Hero 2 or Guitar Hero DLC pack released seems like it could be the last one, thanks to Activision's announcement that it will curtail Hero DLC after this month. The latest set of tracks to make it out during this series countdown clock is a set of three tracks from the Australian group Pendulum. Interestingly, this pack had yet to be announced ahead of time, despite Activision's assertion that only what had already been announced would be available, and will be available today.
The Pendulum Mix Pack includes "Watercolor," "Set Me On Fire," and "Salt in the Wounds" -- that last one maybe hitting a little close to home for DJ Hero/Guitar Hero fans -- andcosts 640 Microsoft Points or $7.99. Tracks can be purchased independently on Wii for 300 Wii Points each.
Despite reports of "severe layoffs" at DJ Hero development house FreeStyleGames yesterday, a statement issued by creative director Jamie Jackson, design director David Osbourn, and commercial director Chris Lee says that "no decisions have been taken at this stage" regarding the future of the studio. Furthermore, the trio noted, "We're actively working with Activision on various options going forward" -- it all sounds very reminiscent of Bizarre Creations' recent closing, frankly.
It certainly doesn't help that plans for future downloadable content in the DJ Hero and Guitar Hero franchises have been dissolved, not to mention Activision's statement during yesterday's financial call that "We simply cannot make these games profitably based on current economics and demand." Neither Activision nor FreeStyleGames have commented regarding yesterday's alleged layoffs.
7 Studios, part of Activision's music game division, has been shut down, according to staff posting on Twitter. Following Activision's announcement yesterday that its Guitar Hero business unit would be disbanded and no new music games would be released this year, 7 Studios producer Damon Conn tweeted, "Directly affected me. Our music games division really took a hit today."
"Activision is shutting down the Guitar Hero business as of today. This includes my studio," another 7 Studios staff member named Alex confirmed last night on Twitter, "Anyone know of any open associate producer jobs?" (This appears to be the Twitter account of 7 Studios' Alex Beckers, who has updated his LinkedIn profile to reflect the end of his employment at the studio.)
"Lame day, but [I'm] optimistic about the future [and] wish the best to all my current/former colleagues," added 7 Studios creative director Dan Lehrich on his Twitter account. "Good luck to all, let me know if I can help." Lehrich later exchanged tweets with Alex in a heartfelt goodbye.
7 Studios was acquired by Activision in early 2009, an action that launched a still-ongoing series of lawsuits with publisher Genius Products, which had contracted 7 Studios to create Scratch: The Ultimate DJ (pictured) before Activision stepped in and scooped up the studio (halting Scratch's development). In October 2009, Activision reportedly reduced 7 Studios' staff by half, leaving the developer with approximately 30 employees (LinkedIn currently lists 36).
7 Studios was assumed to be the DJ Hero "B-team," supporting Freestyle Games as needed, including work on DJ Hero 2. "I can't tell you what they're doing, but they're doing some cool stuff," Activision exec Dave Stohl told us last July. "They have supported FreeStyle a little bit, but they're doing something new and different." According to Lehrich's LinkedIn page, 7 Studios was involved in the creation of the Guitar Hero VIP Pass DLC hub, in addition to "Unannounced Projects" for iOS and "Various Prototypes/Concepts" for a number of platforms.
Both Conn and Veckers additionally list involvement in last year's Space Camp.
If you're looking for a rhythm gaming experience that can elevate your consciousness to a higher state of being, your best shot is a new DLC pack for FreeStyleGames' DJ Hero 2. The "Trance Anthems" pack contains three mashed-up jams containing samples from techno masterminds such as Paul Van Dyk, Paul Oakenfold and Armin Van Buuren.
The tracks are available as a package deal today on 360 and PS3 for 640 Microsoft Points ($8), or separately on the Wii version of the game for 300 Wii Points a pop. Break out your glowsticks, and check out the track list and a couple of demo videos after the break!
You're telling us you didn't finish all of your holiday shopping two weeks ago, like everyone else in the civilized world? You're cutting it close -- maybe you can polish off your list with the GameStop Power Saver sale, with offers like a $50 DJ Hero 2 bundle, or $10 off a few dozen EA games?
Activision has announced three more weeks' worth of DJ Hero 2 DLC. And, in keeping with the concept of the game, it's a pretty eclectic mixture. Today, you'll be able to download a track mixing The Pixies' "Debaser" and The Prodigy's "Invaders Must Die," and a track that combines the Beastie Boys' "Body Movin'" with Lenny Kravitz's "Rock and Roll Is Dead." Well, is it dead or is the body movin'?
On December 14, an "Old Skool" pack will include combinations of the Fat Boys and Mantronix, Tag Team and 45 King, and Beastie Boys with Tone Loc. We're a bit worried about that last one, as we'd be terrified of the side effects after changing the composition of the Funky Cold Medina. It's volatile on its own!
On December 21, the promised Linkin Park remix DLC will be available. We're listin' all the DLC after the break.
Whoa, Target. Slow your roll, guys. We've only got enough energy for exactly one three-day period of soul-crushing retail immersion, and that three-day period is next weekend. You can't just come in here with your "we're going to offer deals in the four days preceding Black Friday" attitude. It's not fair. It could kill us.
We're just going to post all of Target's video game-themed "Pre-Black Friday" deals -- which will be available Nov. 21 to Nov. 24 -- after the jump, and ignore their relative savoriness. Oh, $30 off the purchase of a DSi? $20 off a new Wii? DJ Hero 2 Turntable Bundle for $75? Psh. We can ... we don't need to ... we are going to run out of money.
The promised free "Compatibility Pack" for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions of DJ Hero 2 have arrived on their respective digital stores, giving owners the ability to import DJ Hero 1's DLC into the sequel. The game's official Twitter representation announced as much today, clarifying that "some DJ Hero 2 functionality is not supported in this update," specifically listing "freestyle cross-fading, freestyle scratching, and vocals" as the main culprits.
Finally, you can once again lose yourself in the music, the moment, you own it, you better never let it go ... sorry! Got a little carried away for a moment there.
Determined to get the most out of his appearance in DJ Hero 2, Tiesto has cut a music video for his track "Speed Rail" using only footage from the game. Well, background footage, anyways. The video doesn't show the player desperately trying to keep up with Tiesto's high-speed crossfading antics.
DJ Hero was a profoundly innovative game -- spun off from a franchise and a publisher rarely applauded for their profound innovation -- tapping into new genres of music and methods of interacting with it. It was, for lack of a better term, lightning in a bottle and, for all its inherent freshness, an awfully difficult act to follow.
DJ Hero 2 manages to iterate on the series' debut outing not by introducing new modes or instruments -- okay, it tries to do both of those things with moderate success -- but rather, by polishing the very mechanics of virtual mixmastering to a near-perfect sheen.
A portion of a Dtoid review…
Sure, I can already hear the buzzing of the publisher’s worker bees slapping together code for the next title in the series. But if they’re as enjoyable as this sequel, they’ll make a welcome addition to my next house party.