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DJ Hero

Interview: Developer FreestyleGames on the disc-spinning series' future

DJ Hero was one of the most enjoyable - and expensive - new games of last year. This week, CVG grilled FreeStyleGames commercial director Chris Lee about the evolution of the series in 2010...

What have the fans been telling you they want for the next game in the series?
The first request from fans has been for even more music, so thankfully our DLC plans will provide some of what they're after. We're also getting lots of requests for specific tracks and artists, so we'll work hard to explore what we can do.

We're already talking to some of the most incredible musicians on the planet about working together down the line, so who knows what the future holds. As for new features, we've had a host of great ideas and requests. Way too many to mention.

What has been the secret to the original DJ Hero's success - and can it be a long-term sales force?
There are a number of reasons people have enjoyed DJ Hero. The first and most obvious is the music. We worked extremely hard to ensure we could provide completely original and groundbreaking remixes, with world class content and DJs producing the content.

It's been an amazing achievement to think that we have shipped 93 original mixes and worked alongside the likes of Jazzy Jeff, Grandmaster Flash, DJ AM, DJ Shadow, Z-Trip, Daft Punk, Jay-Z, Eminem and many others along the way. FreeStyleGames also worked extremely hard to ensure this was a completely original and innovative take on music rhythm gaming, with a new game mechanic, authentic turntable controller and accessible learning curve.

It wasn't an easy task, especially with so many successful and proven products in the music rhythm space, but the reaction to the game when people start playing has been fantastic to watch and has certainly repaid the investment we made to make it unique.

Do you have any exciting DJ Hero DLC lined up for 2010?
We're working on a variety of DLC for 2010. We've already completed and released the David Guetta Pack which was great fun to work on and something David himself became extremely excited and passionate about.

It was often difficult to get him out of the office on days he'd been working with the team. We're also hard at work on content from Jay-Z and Eminem, as well as a few surprises you'll find out about soon. It's also worth checking out the Xbox Live Marketplace DJ Hero avatar content. We've done some really cool DJ themed items fans can pick up. My avatar is currently sporting a Cool Papa G Coat along with his Ghetto Blaster. Not a bad look...

David Guetta has made a nod to DJH2... Any chance this will arrive this year?
We're not in a position to talk too much about the future. However, working with David on DJ Hero has been a great experience, and we're very hopeful that he'll continue to be part of the team through 2010 and beyond.

Are there any more genres you'd consider working into the game that aren't in it already?
Our music team of producers & DJs are always looking into a whole host of genres. The team has created some very unusual remixes that have been fantastic.

Part of the fun of working on and launching DJ Hero was surprising people with the music we were able to deliver, not just in the quality of the remixes, but some of the mad choices that on paper don't look as though they're going to work together. Vanilla Ice vs. MC Hammer or Marvin Gaye vs. The Gorillaz was just the beginning.

Would you consider bringing out more peripherals for future DJ Hero titles?
A key part of the success of DJ Hero has proven to be the turntable peripheral. We invested over two years in the design, prototypes, concepts and various iterations to reach a final turntable that gave a balance between accessible and fun gameplay and a real authenticity to the look, feel, weight and style of the controller.

We also love that fact that lots of people are playing head to head using the Guitar and also plugging in the microphone to host their own party. DJ Hero has always been focused on making people the life of the party and providing a social experience. This will definitely continue to be the theme in the future.