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After rumors and leaks Activision confirmed that yes, the next Tony Hawk game will be called Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5. This name seems to imply that the series is going back to the past and will move away from the more open world and Jackass shenanigans of the more recent games. The Game Informer cover story gave us some good bits of information about THPS5, but I still have some concerns.
So, as a huge and longtime fan of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series these are the five things I want in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5. I also think this stuff is important to making sure this new game feels like a return to the classic and arguably better first four games.
The Tony Hawk games have always had great soundtracks, but the first three games were some of the best. The mix of rap, punk, rock and pop was perfect. The games felt like they were made by people who cared about and watched skating videos of that time. It made the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games feel like a real extension of skater culture.
So Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 needs to have an awesome soundtrack. And I don’t want a rehash of the old soundtracks like Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD. I want a mix of new songs that I haven’t heard in old Tony Hawk games. Modern stuff, some older stuff, some punk, some rap etc.
I have no idea how well versed in skater culture or music Robomodo is, the developer of THPS5, but I hope they can knock the soundtrack out of the park.
A great soundtrack is important, but even more important is tight and fast controls. The older Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games were snappy and responsive. 60 frame per second, super polished controls and responsive gameplay lead to a fantastic experience. I always felt in control of the skating in the old games and as the series progressed beyond 4 it started to drift away from this. Though I will give credit to Tony Hawk’s Project 8 for feeling really good.
This might be the area where I am most concerned. Robomodo’s Tony Hawk history is less than impressive. The Tony Hawk RIDE and Shred games used an awkward and gimmicky skateboard controller that felt awful. Their last Tony Hawk game, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD, felt alright. But nowhere near as snappy or tight as the older games.
Part of me wonders if this fast and responsive gameplay can still exist or work on modern consoles. I think it could as long as Robomodo don’t try and push the limits of the hardware. I’m not here for a game that looks hyper realistic. I’m here for a fun skateboarding game. And Spider-Man.
One of the best things about the older Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games was the amount of fun multiplayer game modes. You could play more standard modes like Score Attack, but the real fun for me was Graffiti and Horse. Me and my brother would play these games modes for hours and hours.(Of course in Horse you could change the word to anything. And because me and my brother were dumb little kids, we always changed it to a nasty word that made us giggle.)
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 will have some multiplayer modes and you will be able to play online with friends and strangers. That’s fine. But I’d love it if THPS5 also includes some form of split screen mulitplayer. Local multiplayer games are bigger now than ever before. It seems every week there is a new indie game coming out built around four people trying to kill or outrun each other. So why not bring back split screen to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5? People seem to want that type of thing.
Also while were on the topic of multiplayer, I really REALLY hope that you can turn all that stuff off. While the idea of other people skating around the level sounds cool, I hope it is easy to turn on and off. Sometimes I want to play alone, I don’t want people to see me crashing over and over. Plus, crappy internet connections could cause lag and if there is one thing I don’t want in a Tony Hawk game it’s… Bam Margera.
But number 2 is lag. So let’s hope the online stuff is optional and easy to switch off.
The old Tony Hawk games were filled with some over-the-top and strange levels. It also had some great levels that felt perfect. They had a perfect flow to them. You would glide around the level grinding, hitting jumps and flipping over stuff. Some levels, like Downhill Jam Phoenix in THPS1 were sorta crappy. (Also, Robomodo don’t let Tony convince you that downhill levels are great. They are terrible. TERRIBLE.)
Some of the more over-the-top levels included Area 51, an airport, a crazy future looking Tokyo, inside a large bull fighting arena (Complete with a bull who runs around the outside of the arena and shits) and even in outer space.
Hopefully THPS5 will bring back some of these crazy levels that made the old games so much fun to play and explore. And please don’t feel like you need to bring back a ton of old levels. It sounds like they are taking bits of old levels and merging them into a few “throwback” style levels, which is fine. I really don’t need or want another HD style remake. Do some new stuff, just make sure it’s fun.
In the past, Tony Hawk games have had a large and diverse cast of characters. Some women, some people of color, some old skaters, some young skaters and even some crazy guest characters like Spider-Man, Darth Maul, a police officer and more.
Having a large roster of skaters was cool for a few reasons. It introduced me to new skaters I had never heard of before and it allowed people to have more choice in who they played as. It also made the game feel like a real piece of skating culture. Oh, and all the skaters had videos you could watch. I remember taking the videos and recording them on a VHS tape and watching them. I even would record me doing great combos and cut them into the video. I was a huge Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater nerd. (Weirdly, never was able to skate.)
I hope Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 includes a nice selection of well known new and old skaters, along with lesser known pros and up-and-comers. People like Shaun White should be in this game, I mean it’s not like his skateboarding game was any good. Let’s have Shaun White in a good skateboarding game. And Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD did have a nice roster and even had some special characters, like Officer Dick. So I’m optimistic that THPS5 will include a nice and diverse roster of skaters, real and fictional.
I’m super excited at what Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 could be. It could be a great skating game. A return to the classic and fast paced Tony Hawk games of old. I miss skating for hours and hours in over-the-top levels and listening to awesome music.
But Robomodo’s Tony Hawk games have been disappointing. They seem to understand that THPSHD wasn’t great and they seem to be saying the right things about this next game. But until I can actually play it, I won’t know for sure. Until then, I’ll pull my PS2 out and go play some Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3.
Good luck Robomodo, I really hope you guys and gals kick ass and make a great game. The world needs a good Tony Hawk game. I need a good Tony Hawk game. Hope you can pull it off.