Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 + 2 makes its debut tomorrow. As neat as it may be to revisit the levels that cemented the Pro Skater franchise's greatness, though, one detail will stick out of this nostalgia trip like a sore thumb. The School level from Pro Skater 1? It's empty as ever, but this time it's because of the pandemic.
Over at Kotaku, Zack Zwiezen has collected screenshots from the remaster's take on the School level from the first Pro Skater, highlighting the new references to the COVID-19 pandemic that have been added. That giant video screen next to the school's pool is still there, but now it displays messages like the following:
HUGE THANKS! Thank you for all your hard work and patience this year as we faced the challenges with learning from home!
Other messages shown on the video screens reference a "reverse parade" for saying a distanced goodbye to teachers before summer break, talk of "working towards a new normal in the fall," and mention arrangements for collecting belongings from the school. None of the screens make a direct mention of COVID-19 or coronavirus, but the language is a clear echo of what we've seen in real-life during the pandemic.
In a few years time it may be odd seeing these messages in the School level (assuming they're not patched out), but who's to say developers shouldn't acknowledge the pandemic in their games? Just in this industry, we've seen countless delays and lots of developers reporting that they've been working longer hours in isolation. Strange as it may be to see these messages in a Tony Hawk game, these are strange, difficult times—and much like the remaster giving skater Chris Weddle his due, maybe they'll live on as a small, earnest way of recognizing what the world's gone through this year.
Check back soon for USgamer's review of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 + 2. In the meantime, be sure to read Blake Hester's look back at Pro Skater's legacy from last year's 20th anniversary.