Friends, gamers, esteemed skate rats, the day has finally come. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is out in the wild and with its release it seems that Activision has finally done the impossible and revived the long-dormant franchise. Not only is Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 a faithful remake of two of the best games of all time, but it adds a modern spin, hinting at what the series could be moving forward. So with all four wheels planted firmly on the ground the question on everybody's mind is what's next for the Tony Hawk game series?
To chart the future of the Tony Hawk gaming series, it's useful to look at another recent Activision-led revival, Crash Bandicoot. Back in 2017, Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy released, setting a new standard for remaking a beloved but stagnant IP. It was incredibly well-received, and sold over 10 million units after less than two years on the market. This success left many wondering whether a new Crash game was imminent, but Activision took a more measured approach. A remake of Crash Team Racing released two years later, eventually becoming the second biggest launch for a Crash Bandicoot title. It wasn't until earlier this year that fans were treated to the reveal of a brand new Crash game, with Crash Bandicoot 4: It's About Time set for release this October.
The strategy employed by Activision to revive Crash clearly worked extremely well. I believe that this is the likely path for Tony Hawk games moving forward, which could mean another remake/remaster before a proper new entry into the series. The obvious candidate is a remake of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 + 4. For my money, these two are the best in the series, featuring the best levels and some seriously slappin' soundtracks. The gameplay in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 is near-perfect, so dragging it into a new collection featuring new levels would be a very safe bet indeed, one that would help gauge people's appetite for skating games moving forward.
We'll have to wait for the sales numbers on THPS 1+2, but with how thirsty everyone has been for big-budget skating titles over the last few years (Skate 4, Skate 4, Skate 4) I'm guessing they'll be on the strong side. Once these remakes are out of the way, Activision has two options: continue to remake the more well-remembered Tony Hawk games, or come up with a brand new game.
If Activision wants to play it safe and continue down the route of remaking old games, the next logical step would be Tony Hawk's Underground. There's a whole generation of people (myself included) that grew up playing this game, experiencing the more goofy and Jackass-focused side of the series before diving into the Pro Skater stuff. Tony Hawk's Underground is a very different beast to Pro Skater 1 + 2 however, featuring a full campaign with cutscenes and some very outdated humor. It'd be a much bigger job to remake it, but one that would surely be worth it given just how many nostalgic gamers would be lining up to buy it. After Tony Hawk's Underground, things get a little iffy. While games like Project 8 and American Wasteland are remembered fondly, they're likely too niche to really be worth a full remake treatment.
With a new Skate game in production it'd make sense for Activision to offer up a competitor. Things get interesting here in whether or not a Pro Skater 6 is on the cards. 2015's Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 was the last game in the Pro Skater series, it was so bad that it pretty much killed any enthusiasm for new Tony Hawk games moving forward. Is Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 good enough to warrant continuing the Pro Skater series? I'm not so sure.
What's more likely in my opinion is that Activision will create a new series under the Tony Hawk banner. It could lean into the open-world elements that Skate 3 focused on, including the off-board challenges, while still maintaining the technically perfect gameplay of the Pro Skater games. Times have changed since 2007's Proving Ground, the last 'real' Tony Hawk game, which once again attempted the open-world format to middling results. Maybe Activision has realized that people are hungry enough for new skating games that it's worth taking more care when developing them, especially since they'll have another Skate (not to mention indies like Session) to compare them to.
Regardless of where Activision takes the Tony Hawk gaming series from here it's great to have skating games to play again. For a considerable period, skating games were a tentpole of a console's offering, and it's been weird not having many around the last few years. Seeing people starting to post clips of their combos on Twitter, while also enjoying a huge swath of gamers digging into a Tony Hawk game for the first time is making this nostalgic skater boy very happy indeed. I'm excited for Tony Hawk to be back, and after seeing what has been done with Crash and Spyro, I'm hopeful that we'll see a few more hits before the series inevitably starts to wane again. For real though Activision, remake THUG.
Major Game Releases: September 7 to September 11
Here are the major releases for the week of September 7 to September 11. Want to see the complete list? Check out our full list of video game release dates for 2020.
- Star Renegades [September 8 for PC]: If frenetic turn-based combat and slick sci-fi visuals are your bag then Star Renegades should definitely be on your radar. It's gorgeous artstyle and deep battle systems are shaping up to be something special. We'll see what it all adds up to when it releases this week.
- Kingdoms of Amalur: Re-Reckoning [September 8 for PS4, Xbox One, PC]: Remember Kingdoms of Amalur? Me neither, but apparently there are enough people out there hankering for a remaster that THQ Nordic is doing what THQ Nordic does best and re-releasing the game with new bells and whistles. It's worth checking out, as many feel Kingdoms of Amalur never really got a fair shake when it released way back in 2012. You can hear Kat and Nadia speak about it in this episode of Axe of the Blood God.
- The Sims 4: Journey to Batuu Game Pack [September 8 for PS4, Xbox One, PC]: There's some awesome Star Wars content coming to The Sims 4 this week, in the form of the Journey to Batuu Game Pack. It places you on Batuu, the planet that the Galaxy's Edge attraction at Disneyland and Disney World is centered around. You'll get a lightsaber, a droid, and even get to meet iconic characters like Rey. Complete special challenges to determine the planet's fate, all the while earning Star Wars themed items.
- The Outer Worlds: Peril On Gorgon DLC [September 9 for PS4, Xbox One, PC]: This week sees the release of the first expansion for The Outer Worlds. It's a noir-tinged romp featuring a new mystery located on the Gorgon Asteroid. There's plenty of new characters to meet and audio logs scattered throughout the new area, giving clues as to what happened to the failed Gorgon Project experiment. If you need a refresher on the main game, check out our totally definitive ranking of all the companions you can travel with.
- Tell Me Why: Episode 3 [September 10 for PS4, Xbox One, PC]: Tell Me Why concludes its three-part story this week, having spaced out episodes a week apart since launch. We've reviewed the first two episodes already, so it'll be interesting to see if the Life Is Strange studio can stick the landing with this new episodic adventure.
- Vampire: The Masquerade - Shadows of New York [September 10 for PS4, Xbox One, Switch, PC: Shadows of New York is a brand new expansion to the 2019 visual novel Coteries of New York. It features some returning characters but has its own independent storyline and multiple endings to boot.
- Borderlands 3: Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck DLC: [September 10 for PS4, Xbox One, PC]: Finally, we have the rather conservatively titled Psycho Krieg and the Fantastic Fustercluck DLC pack for Borderlands 3. Expect dick jokes galore and likely some very dated references to dubstep (I don't know, it's more Borderlands 3, go wild).
Five Things You Should Know Heading into This Week in Gaming
- The Summer of endless game conferences continues, unrelenting. Ubisoft is set to present its latest Ubisoft Forward presentation. There are rumors of a Prince of Persia Remake making the rounds, and we can expect a full reveal of the newly renamed Immortals: Fenyx Rising (formerly Gods and Monsters). Obviously, the elephant in the room continues to be the various controversies surrounding Ubisoft. Recently, the company was called out for its use of the "Black Power" fist while portraying the bad guys in mobile looter-shooter Elite squad, which it has since apologized for.
- It's Mario Time. This year sees the 35th anniversary for everyone's favorite mushroom-loving plumber. Nintendo released a special Direct to mark the occasion, revealing a bunch of new and updated Mario products. First up was a port of Super Mario 3D World, which appears to run significantly faster on Switch. A new Mario Kart toy was revealed, which leverages AR tech to allow players to map out tracks around their homes and then race around them using the Switch. A new Super Mario 3D All-Stars game which bundles together Super Mario 64, Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Sunshine (no Galaxy 2 though, bummer) was also announced. The last big reveal was a new Mario game called Super Mario Bros. 35, which takes the battle royale-like format of Tetris 99 and applies it to Super Mario Bros. It looks really neat!
- Tony Hawk is back, baby!Just in case the massive article above didn't let you know, a new Tony Hawk game released last week and it's actually good. It's got all the fixings of a modern TH title, including an online skate park editor. We're betting this is going to lead to some pretty crazy designs, hopefully they'll start to pop-up this week. One interesting aspect of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2's newly imagined School level is that it appears to reference the pandemic. There's a large video screen in this area that displays messages such as 'HUGE THANKS! Thank you for all your hard work and patience this year as we faced the challenges with learning from home!'
- Is it time for Madden to make a change? Madden NFL 21 released last week which means that our resident Madden expert and EIC Kat Bailey posted her review. While there were some improvements to gameplay, the single-player campaign is bogged down by the usual suspects of a dated Franchise Mode and many glitches. This all begs the question as to whether it's time for Madden to switch things up, perhaps even by adopting the model that has made Fortnite so successful?
- Nvidia makes a big play. For a while, there has been a clear split between the two major PC graphics card manufacturers. Nvidia is where you'd go for state-of-the-art technology, while AMD offered an affordable and surprisingly competent alternative. Nvidia has now unveiled its RTX 30 Series, at a much lower price point than expected. Despite being leaps and bounds ahead of the RTX 2080 Super, it comes in at the exact same price. Our go-to guy for all things PC tech Mike Williams wrote a great summary of the RTX 30 Series here.
Axe of the Blood God for September 7
This week on Axe of the Blood God, the Console RPG Quest continues with an exploration of the PSP, which has a richer RPG legacy than you might expect. Listen here.