Tony Hawk’s Project 8 – Q&A
Last month 360Monster was invited as part of the Microsoft Xbox Community Network (XCN) to submit a selection of questions, which would be answered in a Q&A session with Brian Bright who is the Project Lead on Tony Hawk’s Project 8. We put this to our community via our forum and in return we received some pressing questions from our members. Four of the most interesting and inventive questions were selected and submitted towards the Q&A interview.
What follows an in-depth Q&A exclusive to XCN members, with Brian recently this month.
What do you think is the most interesting feature of Tony Hawks Project 8?
Nail the Trick is the most revolutionary feature. It utilizes the analogue sticks to control the skater’s feet. Then you can kick the board in various ways and the board then becomes a physics object, flipping or spinning depending on how precise and to what angle you kicked it. You can do it anytime in a combo and it’s cool because it gives you complete freedom and creativity to innovate with never before seen tricks. It also perfectly satisfies the ’just one more flip’ crack like addiction that is so important in gaming.
What involvement does Tony Hawk have in the development of this game?
Tony is a fairly hardcore gamer. He plays through the game a few times throughout development and gives us good feedback on what is both fun and true to skating. He’s also involved in the soundtrack, selecting the pros, providing us with good goal ideas (inspired from his 25+ years of experience), etc… This year we 3D scanned his head and body and also did multiple motion capture with him and all of the pros to create the fluid animation system we have in Project 8.
How many original skaters are there in the game?
Tony Hawk. Bam Margera, Bob Burnquist, Rodney Mullen, Paul Rodriguez, Stevie Williams, Ryan Sheckler, Daewon Song, and Mike Vallely all return. We added Nyjah Huston, an 11 year old street skater who is the youngest competitor ever in the X-Games (He got 8th). Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins, a 15 year old female skater who is the only woman to ever jump the DC mega ramp. Dustin Dollin is also new to the series. He’s a hardcore Vans skater from Australia.
Things like the Park Editor, the bertslide, the wall plant and other things were pretty cool in the last versions, will they be in THP8 and if not, why not?
The bertslide is out, but we kept the quick 180 turn around and made it double tap on the right bumper. The wall plant is still in. The park editor has been taken offline this year, as we decided to focus our resources on completely rewriting the render engine, core game design, animation system, and creating Nail the Trick. The addition of online leader boards for almost every goal make the game feel massive and even solitary career only players can now feel connected to the larger skating community. We feel this connectivity is the future of next gen.
Will the analogue trick based system allow for more of an individual style rather than the million points do the same trick in a circle thing? Do you think that the original games essentially became about high point exploits?
Nail the Trick provides a completely new way to play the game where style and creativity both come into play. The games have been about skill and navigating the lines in the world. If someone finds a bug in the game to get a high score, as in the demo, we can title update. That’s the beauty of Live. The ability to fix issues that could spoil the experience of the online players down the road. We do thousands of hours of testing on these games, but nothing prepares your title for sending it out to the masses. There are entire clans out there whose main mission is to find exploits in our games. Now with Live we can stop them and even the playing field!
THPS are somewhat of a hardcore skater game now. On improving the game from the ground up does this mean we are going to have a more harder/challenging single player game to suit?
No longer do you choose your difficulty level at the start of the game. In Project 8 each goal has AM, Pro, and Sick levels of difficulty. We did this so the game could be accessible to novice players but be extremely challenging to the most veteran players. Sick is really tough, even for series players like myself. This is the hardest and longest Hawk game to date.
One of the Xbox 360’s biggest features is the Marketplace. For Project 8 are you planning to take advantage of this and release extra content such as more skaters to keep people entertained?
We decided to put all of our effort into providing the best value for the consumer in the box. We are not currently planning to do downloadable content for Project 8.
Recently EA have announced that they have plans to release a skateboarding game in 2007 which is going to make you being the number one developer for skateboarding games a challenge. How do you take to this news?
Well, since THPS1 we have seen the following skating games: Street Skater 2, Evolution Skateboarding, ESPN X-Games, Goofy Skateboarding, Simpson’s Skateboarding, Thrasher, Grind Session, etc… It’s not easy to make a ’good’ skating game.
American Wasteland lacked a leader board in online play which I believe really hindered the amount of people that participated against others on Xbox Live. For Project 8 how do you plan to make the online on Xbox Live better and are we going to see a lead?
We have 8 player online, with leader boards specifically for online. We also have leader boards in the career game for 100 goals. Even things like best combo, longest manual, grind, etc… are all on leader boards. The addition of these boards extends the replay ability beyond even the sick ending of the game.
Why the name Project 8 ?
This is the eighth Tony Hawk game. We thought the name fit with the premise of the game, felt sort of futuristic (this being our first real next gen title) and paid homage to the longetivity of the series.
Will we see a real fluid animation system in a Tony Hawk that is more realistic than has previously been created?
Previously we’d play one animation at a time. For Project 8 we have mo-capped all the pros and use their data to drive a brand new animation system that layers up to 20 animations at once on the skater. The animations look amazing and feel totally fluid.
Which Multiplayer modes will be in THP8 and are there new ones in comparison to the last TH-Games?
Many of the old favourites return with the addition of a new game mode called ’Walls’. In ’Walls’ the bigger the combo the longer the trail of the skater becomes. The object is to frag other skaters by making them run into your trail.
Thank you for your time Brian!
Look out for our very own review on Tony Hawk’s Project 8 very soon.