Virtual skateboarding is back. Today, we got confirmation that a remaster of the first two Tony Hawk's Pro Skater games are on the way for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. But rather than just an up-scale, there are a few big changes coming to these classics on September 4.
The news was teased by some errant text messages just prior to the full reveal on Geoff Keighley's Summer Game Fest stream today. Developed by Vicarious Visions, the developer behind the successful Crash remake, studio head Jen Oneal and Tony Hawk himself joined Keighley's stream for an interview following the reveal.
While the games are still structurally the same, there are some major updates on the way for the two Tony Hawk classics. They're set to change both the way people play these games, with modern quality-of-life updates, as well as some new features. Here are the major takeaways:
Revert is In
The major addition from more modern Tony Hawk games that's getting retroactively added to the remaster of 1 and 2 is the revert. Both Guides Editor Jake Green and myself were pretty excited when this was confirmed, as the revert opens up big combo opportunities.
Added in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, the revert is a simple move that lets players link vert tricks into more combos. It's a move that became almost second nature over time, to the point that Tony Hawk himself wanted it back in for Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2 Remaster.
"It's funny, I get corrected all the time when I talk about the series," Hawk said during today's streamed interview. "I say, 'Oh, when we introduced the revert in THPS 2,' which was not in THPS 2. But it's like, I don't want to remember a time before we had the revert. So I did insist on adding that to this version, even though it came in [Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3]."
Other tricks from later in the series could also make an appearance. "There's sort of this blurry memory of, 'Well, I know this trick.' Well that was in [Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4]. So we did include some of those, just because people expect them and they won't remember the timeline of the series like that."
Create-a-Park Goes Online
The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater remaster will have online multiplayer modes, as well as split-screen couch modes. But the Create-a-Park upgrade sounds like a big deal.
Create-a-Park levels can go online and be shared between friends, which could open up some Mario Maker potential for developing and sharing levels. The tools for building maps have also received an overhaul.
In an interview with IGN, Oneal expanded on the tools available for the new Create-a-Park mode, which she describes as a "deep set of tools," not just a library of prefabricated ramps and rails. There are also "deformation" options, where players can take different pieces and modify them, molding them into different shapes.
Oneal also confirmed on Keighley's stream that there will be a tagging system, so if players want to tag their created parks with certain features or locales, it will be easier for others to find them.
The Songs are (Mostly) Back
Tony Hawk games are well-remembered for their skateboarding, but an inarguably core part of the series is also its soundtrack. It's hard to reflect on all the virtual pipes you've dropped into without hearing Goldfinger's "Superman."
Though not every song from Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2 is returning, Oneal says "most of the songs made it into the game." Only a small handful, according to her interview with IGN, weren't able to make the cut.
"It's a pretty full soundtrack and you'll get to hear your favorites," said Oneal. "Like 'Guerrilla Radio' is in there, 'Superman,' which is kind of like the anthem of [Tony Hawk's Pro Skater], is in there."
Keeping the faith
One core tenet of the remaster seems to be keeping it faithful to the original. Though the classic Pro Skater games already got an HD remaster back in 2012, Vicarious Visions is more focused on staying true to the original rather than that remaster.
Oneal told both IGN and Keighley that the team went back to Neversoft's original code, using that as a foundation. She tells Polygon that there are actually several former Neversoft employees at Vicarious Visions who have worked on Tony Hawk in the past.
Even the control scheme adheres to the classic style, allowing players to use either the D-pad or the analog sticks. While the remaster looks absolutely gorgeous, keeping it true to the memory of the original seems crucial.
That said, don't rule out the potential for more in the future. Oneal tells Polygon that Vicarious Visions is planning "a bit of post-launch support," though they don't specify what that could mean.
The remaster of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1 and 2 arrives on September 4, 2020. For more on the history of the Tony Hawk franchise, be sure to check out our oral history on one of the series' best entries, Tony Hawk's Underground.