The DS with Guitar Hero: On Tour accessory  (Source: IGN)
Guitar Hero goes portable this summer

As rumored for months now, one of gaming’s hottest franchises will be going portable this summer. Activision revealed to the press today Guitar Hero: On Tour for the Nintendo DS.

One of the biggest questions surrounding the move from home console to portable for Guitar Hero would be the handling of the crucial external peripheral. A typical Guitar Hero controller would be an illogical solution for on-the-go gaming, so Activision developed an accessory that plugs into the Game Boy Advance port on the bottom of the Nintendo DS.

Players then grip the DS in a “book format,” and strum on the touch screen with an included guitar pick according to notes played on the top screen. Unlike the home games, however, there are only four fret buttons rather than five.

Vicarious Visions, known for its outstanding translations of Activision titles such as Tony Hawk to handhelds, is handling the development duties for Guitar Hero: On Tour.

Karthik Bala, CEO of Vicarious Visions, told Yahoo! and IGN that the developer went through more than 20 prototypes of the fret attachment before settling on the version presented today. “At some point, we hit upon the idea of creating a peripheral that would have the fret buttons plugging into the GBA slot of the DS,” he recalled. “We figured that attaching a full-size guitar or even a mini-guitar would be too awkward to play on the road, hence the design of the more compact Guitar Grip, which gives you the tactile sense of the fret buttons, with the touch screen depicting the strings of the guitar.”

Bala also said that there would be more than 20 songs in the final game, with many of them being master tracks and new material not found in the previous Guitar Hero games. Guitar Hero: On Tour will also support four-player multiplayer, with both competitive and cooperative modes. Bala also shot down the idea of a PSP version in the near future.

Guitar Hero: On Tour will hit this summer in North America, Europe and Australia. No price has been announced.

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