Have you ever wondered who has the most powerful lawyers: giant videogame developer Activision or the ska-punk band No Doubt? Well, thanks to Band Hero you're likely to get that chance, as No Doubt are suing Activision for misusing their likenesses.
The lawsuit submitted by the band claims that Activision has turned the band into 'a virtual karaoke circus act', and sums up the band's complaint quite vividly with the example of using the band's avatars to perform Honkey Tonk Woman, which it described as, "an unauthorized performance by the Gwen Stefani avatar in a male voice boasting about having sex with prostitutes."
Of course, this isn't the first time that Activision has made a music game feel a little creepy. Including Johnny Cash in Guitar Hero 5 is one thing - he died at the age of 71 after a long and full career - but, while playing as him seems a little macabre, it's doesn't even begin to approach the creepiness of playing as Kurt Cobain, the oft-depressed 'spokesman for a generation', who battled with alcoholism and heroin addiction and tragically ended his own life at the very young age of 27.
Making what is probably the most notable suicide in the last twenty years into a selling point for your game - well, it's not hard to see why his widow was so upset.
Cobain isn't the only tragic death that Activison has blithely ignored for a music game. Adam Goldstein, better known as DJ AM, died of a drug overdose at the end of August this year. Goldstein was set to be a playable character in DJ Hero before he died. And guess what - he still is, as according to Activison his appearance in the game would, â€œbe a fitting tribute to his creative spirit and musical talent."
One wonders whether Activision would have included Cliff Burton in Guitar Hero: Metallica had the band not been worried about upsetting new bassist Robert Trujillo.
Obviously, comparisons can be made to The Beatles: Rock Band, as half the members of The Beatles have died, but that game has always been a loving tribute from Harmonix, with an enormous amount of care taken to be faithful to the band. It's very hard to really look at Activision and say the same thing.
You can almost feel sorry for Activision, because while it knows that Guitar Hero has value it has no real clue what to do with it and so it treats the franchise the only way it knows how: by pumping out sequel after sequel and getting increasingly desperate to find new ways to market them, resulting in the dead being brought back to digital life for our entertainment and Gwen Stefani being forced to channel Mick Jagger.
No Doubt are seeking damages, a permanent injunction against the game, and a recall of all existing copies. While it's unlikely they're going to win against the might of the megacorp that is Activision Blizzard - whose parent company Vivendi owns the band's record label, incidentally - perhaps it might send a signal that necromancy and associated sorcery aren't the best way to go about promoting a music game.