METALLICA's ULRICH, HAMMETT Talk 'Guitar Hero'

Mike Snider of USA Today conducted an interview with METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich and guitarist Kirk Hammett, as well as Activision lead designer Alan Flores, about the upcoming Guitar Hero: Metallica game, due early in 2009. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Q: How did this game come about?

Flores: I think their interest in the project really fueled it. Both Lars' and (singer) James (Hetfield's) kids play Guitar Hero and they were really excited about it. They wanted to do it and, of course, we wanted to do it, so it made sense.

Ulrich: I think my kids decided for me. I was first introduced to Guitar Hero in my house about a year ago by my kids (sons Myles, 10, and Layne, 7; he also has a 1-year-old son, Bryce, with his girlfriend, actress Connie Nielsen). They became big fans of DEEP PURPLE and BLACK SABBATH and all the bands I grew up on. It seemed like this was the first video game that really brought the family together.

We were all sitting there and we were all sharing it. It wasn't something that was just about the person playing, it was about everybody. It became a collective thing. This thing on a worldwide basis was obviously turning into a phenomenon. There is a saying in Metallicaland: "This is what we call a no-brainer."

Hammett: I don't play video games very much, but I love what Guitar Hero does for young kids, actually kids of all ages.

Q: What is the story line?

Flores: It doesn't play out chronologically. We couldn't do that because then you would play something off of (the band's first album from 1983) "Kill 'Em All" and you would throw the controller against the wall and stop playing. We have to do it based on difficulty. (At the start) you play two songs as METALLICA, and you are so inspired by METALLICA that you decide to create your own band. Then you follow METALLICA around to all these iconic venues they have played.

Ulrich: We wanted a little bit of a different slant. Basically, you start out and you play some songs and you get warmed up, and there's a competition. We're trying to pick a band to play with us and go on the road with us.

Hammett: There is one venue called The Stone, a nightclub in San Francisco that we would play regularly at the beginning of our career, and another in London, The Hammersmith Odeon (now called the Hammersmith Apollo) we would play in the late '80s. It's nice to be able to travel back to that point in your career and relive it in the game.

Q: So is there a final reward at the end?

Flores: There is a particular venue that METALLICA has played that they sort of view as the pinnacle of their success. It's funny, out of all the venues they have played, there are so many huge ones, for them to really pick one out and single that out, it's kind of interesting.

Read the entire interview from USA Today.

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