Cobain Chaos: Why Harmonix Wins & Activision Gets Sued


"Why Activision "Knows Not What It Means".

There is a big hub bub on the net right now over the use of Kurt Cobain's likeness as an unlockable character in Guitar Hero 5. This means Cobain can be the front man of your band while you perform the hits of Flava Flav and Bon Jovi...

Activision could have easily avoided this mini controversy if it took a little bit of time and evaluated how it utilizes the likenesses of rock icons in Guitar Hero...

The most interesting part of the whole situation is the timing. This comes out at the same time when Guitar Hero's rival, Rock Band, released an entire rhythm game based on The Beatles to critical acclaim.

Harmonix understood that they would be taking liberties with one of the world's most cherished bands and went to deep lengths to make sure they paid sufficient reverence to the band. They ensured that the game was more than a quick money grabber by focusing on the Beatles, their music and their message."

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gaminoz3711d ago (Edited 3711d ago )

That was a good way to show why the Cobain/ Neversoft thing went wrong- comparing it to how the Rock Band Beatles game did it!

Awesome article.

RememberThe3573711d ago

They have been acting as though they can do whatever they want. Now they have shamed an idol. To be honest even growing up in Seattle I never got too into Nirvana(I'm more of an Alice in Chains and Perl Jam kind of guy), but their MTV Unplugged album is a classic.

Those videos of Kurt in Guitar Hero where really bad, and I'm glad someone is at least trying to stop it.

And I also agree, great article.

XboxOZ3603711d ago

Half the time the avatar's and Kurt are performing without an instruments whatsoever. Now that is sloppy design work at its worst.

Activision should be ashamed to put the game out with such flaws in it, let alone the huge gaff they have done with Kurt Cobain.

Seeing a skeleton playing 'air drums, and Cobain using an invisble mic, while others use invisible guitars is one thing, but if you notice at the end, there's multiple Cobains, that would never be tolerated by any living artist . . .

I hope Love does take them to the cleaners, they deserve it in that regard.

creatchee3710d ago

I don't like the fact that this article gives Harmonix a free pass (in fact, it's almost revering them) for doing the same thing that it belittles Activision/Neversoft for.

I guarantee you that Kurt Cobain was a million times more protective of his music than his image. The last thing that somebody as anti-corporate and -establishment as Cobain would have wanted was a bunch of (mostly) kids playing his songs with plastic instruments and singing his lyrics without even having the slightest grasp on what they mean. Harmonix and Activision/Neversoft are equally as guilty here, as they've had Nirvana in large quantities both on-disc and as DLC for both franchises. Add that to the goofy characters in both games, and my point is made for me. Anybody who thinks that Kurt would have stood for that is delusional.

So, bottom line, yeah the Kurt Cobain character should have been locked to Nirvana songs, but don't give Harmonix a pass just because "they care about the music" when they've done things in their own right to undermine Kurt's legacy (as he would have had it be)...

NecrumSlavery3710d ago

they didn't mention how yoko is a money hogging douche and courtney love is a psychotic nutcase.

rock band games are a joke. they are too easy, and don't have the technical skill difficulty you get in GH. Guitar hero will always be a better series because RB is a childs game and GH is instrument simulation.

cornfedgamer3710d ago

@ NecrumSlavery

Fair enough. But they are both games, not simulations. Except for maybe the drums, those are pretty close.

LiL T3710d ago

True but playing a real instrument trumps both games for skill required and yes I do play a real instrument (not a skin flute haha).

Redempteur3710d ago

GH more technical ?

I can't help but laugh ... Are we talking about the same GH games that add notes that don't exist in the songs ???

Yeah yeah more technical ...

Also rock band came first please they're hardly a joke .. GH4 copied the concept !

DRUDOG3710d ago

Couldn't care less either way, but it seems as though the consumer has spoken:

FreeMonk3710d ago (Edited 3710d ago )

Out of all of this, Courtney Love is the main person to blame. She signed over his likeness to Activision and Neversoft, and left them to it. Obviously she never checked the game out before it shipped, or asked the right questions. A simple question of 'Will Kurt be singing just his own songs or others artists as well', will of sorted this problem out before it even started. She said she loves him still, yet didn't go out of her way to protect his image?

Just look at Yoko Ono. Harmonix went on record saying that Yoko Ono 'Gave them hell' whilst making Rock Bank: The Beatles, asking them to change the design of the game when she got concerned it didn't look right, and look what was released....a superb, mesmorising journey into the Beatles catalogue. It excelled in showing what The Beatles phenominon was all about, and that's partly down to Yoko Ono helping the developer whilst looking after the image of her late Husbands and his friends.

Activision and Neversoft on the other hand just raped not only Kurt Cobain, but also Johnny Cash.

I myself prefer to play Guitar Hero against Rock Band, just because Guitar Hero offers a little bit more of a challenge when playing the tracks, but seeing Kurt jumping around on stage, sing Bon Jovi tracks is wrong, and takes the enjoyment out of it all.

Here's hoping that Neversoft and Activision learn from there mistakes, and do what Harmonix did....respect the artists they are portraing, alive or dead.

Afreelunch3710d ago

Did somebody just say that Guitar Hero was an "Instrument Simulation?"

Get real man!

Rock band and guitar hero can both eat a d*ck. Courtney love is the reason the music and likeness are available to them, so she is very much to blame. If you give a kid some candy, he's gonna take it. That doesn't mean it's right, it just means that activision and harmonix got their candy. According to Cobain's philosophy at the time of his death, he wouldn't want to be featured in either product, but that obviously doesn't matter to the developers OR the consumers, or we would be seeing some real action instead of just tons of complaining.

Mantiz3710d ago

@ creatchee
If you think that someone as intelligent as Kurt wouldn't be able to comprehend that RB is a new way to interact with music and that getting you message out is more important than how you do it, why was Nirvana on MT FCKING V!!!? or the radio ? damn didn't really think that one out did you.


First of all guitar hero Looks like absolute horrid shiite, the note charts are trash aesthetically and even worse @ recreating the fingering necessary to play a given part on guitar ( I play guitar IRL ), not to mention that none of that matters cause all that really matters in a rhythm game is song selection, and Rock Band blows guitar hero away so utterly it's sad really. when you have a choice between some of the best classic & Southern rock, metal, punk etc... or you have the Pop and new metal/ Nickalbackish SHIITE that guitar hero puts out outside of the occasional Hendrix or something which again is charted Fuuckterrible so who cares.

creatchee3710d ago (Edited 3710d ago )

Apparently I thought out my comment way more than you thought out yours.

You do realize that artists have virtually no control on whether or not they are played on the radio, right? And as to them playing on MTV unplugged? Are your really calling into question one of the greatest acoustic performances of our generation (if not of others) by saying Kurt wouldn't do it because it was MTV? You're forgetting that back then, MTV played music videos 1000 times more than they did today and was still a viable medium of artists getting alternative genres of music out - not the reality-fest that it has become. And I seriously hope that you can draw a distinction between playing a concert on MTV and having Judy Nails or Moosejaw Boudreaux singing your songs and playing your instruments on-screen while a bunch of people played in plastic bands on their couches.

Kurt was intelligent as you said, but if you knew anything about him, you'd know that he didn't really care about who heard his music - just that it was there to be heard. And again, there's no way in hell he'd want it in either Guitar Hero or Rock Band.

Mantiz3707d ago

Clearly you didn't "think" @ all. "Kurt didn't care who listened to his music" wow obviously you know nothing about the man as his suicide notes show that your statement is blatantly false. " No artist has control over if they get played on the radio" you are sadly mistaken sir, listen if you never give your label rights to play you on the radio or you make your own label and release indy like mc chris & you don't have to get played on the radio and You could sue them if they did because they are making advertising $$ off you,if you sign those rights over to your label you know full well what your doing as Nirvana clearly did, so obviously your argument their is false as well, as for MTV im not talking about unplugged OBVIOUSLY IM TALKING ABOUT ALL THE VIDEOS THEY SHOT!!!! Commercial videos, TO SELL RECORDS AND MAKE $$$ I might ad so much for your argument


+ Show (10) more repliesLast reply 3707d ago
jack_burt0n3711d ago

Its bobby kuntek at it again.

stevenhiggster3710d ago

I don't even care about either of these games at all, but I'm so happy to know that Bobby K might well be getting shafted.

What goes around comes around Bobby boy.

Gabe EatsWell3711d ago

Gabe EatsWell > Bobby Kotick

Press Agree.

darkmurder3711d ago

Poor old Kurt, never getting any peace.

Kurt Russell3710d ago

He's dead - I am sure he couldn't give a toss about anything, as he is nothing more than a bunch of rotting matter in a hole somewhere.

LeonSKennedy4Life3710d ago

To be fair...

...his body is pretty much decayed at this point.

His soul is really the debate here. : )

If Heaven and Hell are any indication...Kurt's not doing too well right now.

Whether he's depicted properly in a video game is the LEAST of his worries right now.

cornfedgamer3710d ago

Actually, he was cremated and scattered in the Wishkah River.

And when you're gone all that you leave in this world are things you have created and people you have touched. So his image is paramount and protecting it is the last gift his survivors can give him.

NaiNaiNai3711d ago

RB > GH.

always and forever.

Godem3711d ago

naw GH > RB at least it seems to be in Australia..

CernaML3710d ago

For once I can finally agree with you! See... there has to be at least a little common sense in everybody.

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