The “Guitar Hero” franchise hasn’t made a fan in Axl Rose, who recently filed a $20 million suit against video game publisher Activision for allegedly breaking a promise to not feature Slash or Velvet Revolver in association with Guns N’ Roses on “Guitar Hero III.”
The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, brings forth a number of claims including fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, breach of contract and promissory estoppel.
The Guns N’ Roses frontman claims in the filing that he was approached by Activision in early 2007 to discuss using “Welcome to the Jungle” in an upcoming edition of “Guitar Hero.”
Rock and Rev Festival, Sturgis, S.D.
August 14, 2010
However, as noted in the suit, Rose doesn’t appreciate the fact that, 15 years after Slash left the band, “a preoccupation on the part of some members of the media … has led to a distorted public perception between the images and careers of Slash and Guns N’ Roses.”
Thus, he alleges he went into negotiations with Activision under the impression that, provided he approve the use of “Welcome to the Jungle,” there would be “no use of Slash in association with Guns N’ Roses and ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ and no [Velvet Revolver] in ‘GH III.’”
The deal was inked in June 2007 but soon thereafter, rumors of a Slash avatar on the upcoming game began to circulate and Rose attempted to rescind authorization for the use of “Welcome to the Jungle.” Activision officials assured Rose at the time that the game would include no VR songs and no Slash imagery, the suit says, and Rose agreed to continue.
Center Stage, Atlanta, Ga.
September 20, 2010
But fast forward to the release of the game on Oct. 28, 2007, and Rose may have been kicking himself for that decision.
According to the suit, “Guitar Hero III” not only offers players the opportunity to use the Slash avatar to perform “Welcome to the Jungle,” but also includes Velvet Revolver tracks as available downloads, “all in direct contravention of Activision’s prior representations and agreement.” The centerpiece of the box cover for the game also included an animated depiction of Slash and commercials for the release featured Slash playing a guitar solo.
And to add insult to injury, the suit claims Activision used another GNR song, “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” during an Internet promotion although the song was never licensed for use in “Guitar Hero III.”
In addition to the $20 million, the suit seeks compensatory, consequential and punitive damages.
Rose is only the latest artist to have a beef with Activision. The company was previously sued by No Doubt, and Courtney Love threatened to sue after discovering her late husband Kurt Cobain’s “Guitar Hero 5” avatar was able to play non-Nirvana songs in the game.