E3 2010: DJ Hero 2 PreviewBy Andrew Pfister - Posted Jun 10, 2010
What We Already Know:
DJ Hero 2 is the sequel to last year's music game that swapped plastic guitars for a plastic turntable. Most of us in the office were hopeful but skeptical about DJ Hero, but in the end, we were pleasantly surprised by how solid the first effort turned out to be. DJ Hero 2 builds on that momentum with some significant improvements and changes to the game structure.
What We're Seeing Now:
The cat was mostly let out of the bag a couple of days ago when Activision released their official press release (thanks, guys!), but the biggest change to DJ Hero is the addition of a second turntable and a microphone for vocal tracks. By introducing a second DJ and singing, FreeStyleGames is emphasizing the social aspect of the game (by our experience, "social" simply translates to "party time") and getting more people off the couch watching and on the stage playing -- a logical parallel to the instrument explosion in the guitar-based games. Many of the game's 70 tracks will feature some sort of vocal element.
Utilizing the second turntable allows FreeStyleGames to concoct appropriate multiplayer modes, most appealing of which is the DJ Battle. This is set up like a traditional DJ battle would be, with a call and response structure that starts out with one DJ playing a segment, the other DJ matching that segment while adding a little something extra, and then it escalates from there with both players freestyling and crossfading for max points.
What's to freestyle, you ask? The developers seem to be loosening the chains on what you can muck around with during the songs. Instead of being limited to pre-set and sonically-irrelevant samples to trigger, you'll be given samples that are reworked from the song you're playing that actually make sense in the part of the song where you're at. (YEAH, BOYEE!). You'll also have moments of freestyle scratching, as well as freestyle crossfading that will let you jump between the two tracks at will. We haven't been able to play it ourselves yet, but it does seem to allow more creative expression during play.
As you may have read in the press release, the known artists who have contributed tracks to the game include Deadmau5, Dr. Dre, The Chemical Brothers, Kanye West, Metallica (!), Rihanna, and the Lady who is Gaga. (Deadmau5 is actually a "playable" avatar in the game, goofy mouse head and all.) If you were wondering, no changes are being made to the DJ Hero turntable hardware; all the improvements and alterations are being made on the software side, including a revamped career mode that Activision's not ready to talk about in detail just yet.
We'll definitely have more on DJ Hero 2 in the coming months.