When Harmonix released the first Guitar Hero on the PlayStation 2, many rhythm game fans wondered exactly how the company would fare once Konami's legal team smelled the patent violations in the water. Harmonix was noticeably quiet on comparisons to Konami's Guitar Freaks franchise, clearly an influence on Guitar Hero, but no indication that any bad corporate blood between the parties was ever publicly evident.
For the release of Guitar Hero III, however, we're starting to see some evidence of the licensing of Konami's patents for the ultra-successful Activision franchise, now at developer Neversoft. Gamasutra's Simon Carless explains the relationship between multiple parties, including one that, oddly enough, was originally in an MTV branded product, not unlike the upcoming Rock Band.
A fine piece of investigatin' by the gang at Gamasutra.
Exploring Guitar Hero III's Patent Secrets [Gamasutra]