The first picture of the new Skateboard Peripheral prototypeAfter taking 2008 off, leaving the skating game field open to takeover by the fantastic Skate series by EA, Activision is back with their titular skater for a whole new ride.
Tony Hawk: Ride is the title of the newest game in the long-running skateboarding series, and it is going in a wildly different direction. Gone are the days of button presses and twisting a thumb stick, as this game will instead use a proprietary peripheral shaped like a wheel-less skateboard. The board includes multiple sensors: light, motion, and touch are all included, to offer the closest skateboard simulation possible. Gamers will step on the board, turn it, grab it, and make the same motions for moves like ollies and kick flips that they would on a real skateboard. Tony Hawk, in the game’s introduction on Spike’s Game Trailers TV, said skaters and non-skaters alike will still be able to play the game. With variable difficulties, similar to those found in Guitar Hero, the board will be able to sense the smallest motions for novices or complete 180s for experts.
The short early clips seen in the initial trailer show graphics pretty similar to Skate 2, with an emphasis on a realistic looking world. There haven’t been any official statements yet on the environments, and whether they’ll take place in real world or fictional locations, or what other skaters are involved in the game, either as playable characters or in any other way.
The new controls aren’t the only thing new about this game, as a new developer also steps in for the first time in the series. With Neversoft hard at work on the next 20 or so Guitar Hero games, a new developer in Chicago called Robomodo has taken the reins. With folks on the team from Midway and the defunct EA Chicago studio, it is still a group of seasoned veterans making the game for Xbox 360 and PS3. BuzzMonkey is doing the development simultaneously for the Wii version.
While we don’t know a ton yet, we’ll know more soon, as Activision plans to show off the game at the upcoming E3 Expo in the first week of June. As an aside, the aforementioned Guitar Hero series also had an announced facelift today. Guitar Hero 5, shipping this fall, will allow for any instrument combination the players desire. Examples given included “two guitars and two drums, or three guitars and a microphone.” This should allow for things like duets and much more nuanced individual parts. The set-list will be unlocked entirely from the first time you fire up the game, and new game modes “Party Play” and “Rockfest” encourage groups larger than 4 to get in on the action. GH5 joins Guitar Hero Smash Hits and DJ Hero on the docket for 2009. More on all of these titles as they develop, and we’ll have all the news for you from E3 in a couple weeks.