Tuesday, November 24

Tony Hawk on why they’ve remade his most iconic games


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Activision

Not everyone can spin a skateboard 360 degrees, whilst gliding through the air, and then land it back on the ground without crumpling into heap.

Tony Hawk can and, as arguably the most famous skateboarder on the planet, has also made it possible for millions of others to do it in his game series.

“The success of the games is probably the reason people still know my name to this day,” he tells Radio 1 Newsbeat.

“It changed my life, it’s the reason I’ve been able to follow my passion.

“To be back doing it 20 years later with the same gameplay and the same enthusiasm, is really rewarding.”

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Activision

Tony Hawk Pro Skater was first released 20 years ago and new versions were a consistent part of gaming release schedules for 15 years.

The early titles are considered by many to be some of the most popular games of all time.

However there hasn’t been a new release for major consoles since 2015 – and that version was widely criticised.

Tony explains why he thinks now is the perfect time re-visit the series: “The seed was planted when we were coming up on the 20th anniversary of the first game.

“I had seen all the fans saying they wanted a re-master.

“The subject came up, with the developer Activision, and it just seemed like the right time.

“Vicarious Visions were given the task of developing it and I would say very quickly, we started seeing progress that I knew the fans would be excited about.”

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Activision

This new release is a reworking of the first two Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater titles.

Gaming has changed significantly since the original was released in 1999.

Persistent online worlds, battle royale and loot boxes were still a long way off back then.

But Tony’s convinced that there’s an audience for the remakes: “There’s such a passion for this series, especially the early games.

“Those fans are coming back because they enjoy the gameplay and can jump right back into it.

“I also like the idea that there’s a whole new generation that has never experienced any of these, that will that will get to play them for the first time.”

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Activision

Tony thinks that it’s fans of the originals that should be most excited: “The levels and the maps are all exactly in tune with what the first games were,

“The developers have nailed the gameplay and brought it into the new realm of technology.”

The original titles are credited with getting many Skateboarding stars onto boards for the first time.

Tony says that was never the plan: “It became a sort of bonus to all of us involved,” he says.

“I just thought that we’d make a game that skaters would appreciate, and maybe inspire some of them to go buy a console – but it ended up inspiring gamers to skate.

“Going into this 20 years later I think it will still inspire people, but for the most part, kids have already started skating at an early age.

“Skating is on another rise in popularity and next year it’ll be in the Olympics so it’s on a trajectory like never before.”

The UK’s 12-year-old sensation Sky Brown should be competing next year and Tony’s been practising with her: “She does everything she can to figure out problems, she doesn’t just give up.

“She makes little tweaks here and there until she gets it done. And that is the mark of a phenomenal skater.”

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Activision

Tony is promising that getting the soundtrack right has been a significant part of the remake’s development.

It’s one of the reasons the originals were so successful: “There’s a lot of the iconic hits from the early games and we have some new bands.

“It has the same energy, but just updated – I wanted to stay true to what made it popular, what brought people into it in the first place.”

At 52 years old Tony admits he is starting to slow down but is hopeful these remakes will maintain his legacy for a while longer.

He says it also allows him to keep pulling off his signature “900” trick: “Every once in a while, I can do it in real life but it doesn’t come as easily anymore.

“I would say that if I’m going to be doing more going forward, it’ll be through my character in the game!

“It’s exciting times, I’m just thankful I’m still here and I get to see it all happen.”

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