Only a month away now until Tony Hawks grinds onto European shelves on November 2. With EA’s skate receiving good reviews it’s a challenging time for the legendary Tony Hawk’s series. Today we have an Microsoft Xbox Community Network (XCN) Q&A with Brian Bright, Project Lead, Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground at Neversoft – and for the record they were asked what they thought of skate but they declined to answer. [oooOOOoo0 -Ed]
Can you please explain the name Proving Ground? In what way is this latest title a proving ground for players?
The game is really about going out there as a skater and making it however you choose. In a sense the environment and challenges are a proving ground for you to become whatever type of skater you want. Go the career route, get a signature shoe. Go the Rigging route and become a master ramp builder. Or go the hardcore route and create an underground video web-zine. The choice is yours.
Nail the Grab and Nail the Manual are obviously extensions of Project 8’s Nail the Trick feature – how are these best used in the game?
The great thing about the entire Nail abilities is that you can be totally creative in your tricks. In Nail the Grab the analogue sticks control the skaters arms. You can grab the board with either right or left arm in 4 different points on the skateboard with each hand. From here you can fingerflip the board, regrab it and then transition to either a different grab or a Nail the Trick fliptrick. You can also transition into Nail the Manual, where the analogue sticks now control the weight distribution of the front and back legs of the skater. The possibilities for combos are unlimited, especially because you can combo all the Nail modes with traditional Tony Hawk controls.
The ability to check people sounds pretty aggressive – can this be incorporated into a trick combo or is it purely for antisocial reasons?
There is a storyline in the game where Dustin Dolin is trying to film a video part in FDR, but the spot has been taken over by gang members. Dustin teaches you how to skate check and together the two of you go clearing them out so skaters all over the tri-city area can own their old spots again. Checking can be done in a combo and also has multiple upgrades. You can upgrade the strength of the check and also the check radius, so you can check multiple thugs at once. Try agro kicking to gain maximum speed and then checking while fully upgraded for maximum impact.
Tony Hawk is obviously gaming’s most established skateboard franchise – what else are you doing to keep the franchise fresh?
This year we blew out the game. It’s a HUGE game. There are 9 parallel storylines, 8 new mechanics each with 3 tiers of upgrades. There’s a totally killer Video Editor that’s got features never before seen on a video game console. An online Skate Lounge that can be completely customized and shared online. Also the ability to jump to online with your character at anytime while playing through the story., wager for cash online, and bring it back to your story to increase your net worth (and move up the leaderboards). Nail the grab, Nail the manual, the ability to create skate parks ANYWHERE in the world and save them and also play them online…the list could go on. Oh, and did I mention that a 5 song Guitar Hero 3 demo is included?
Community seems to be a big focus this time around, what with video editing and seamless online play. How do you imagine fans will interact?
Tony Hawk 3 was the first online console game on the PS2. This series was the first to embrace online vaults (now called DLC) and Proving Ground follows in this tradition. By hosting online games in your skate lounge you can share your accomplishments and personalization. The video editor leaderboards allow gamers to post their best videos and download others. You can even save other gamers’ videos to your hard drive if you want. We’ve done a lot in Proving Ground to promote community play and I think the fans will appreciate this.
What sort of Achievements have you got in store for players?
Create an awesome video, compete in 1000 online games (for the hardcore) , Make a thug fly across the map by checking him, find all the mod spots in the game, Finish all similar types of goals on sick, etc… We’ve got some really fun and compelling achievements.
How do the game’s different skill paths – Hardcore, Career and Rigging work? What sort of player would choose each?
Proving Ground allows you to play the way you want to play. You can go down the Career path, but let’s say you’re now up to competing in the Tri City comp, you leave that and then hit up Mike V to go learn Agro Kick and do some epic gaps down one of the Hardcore paths. At crucial milestones in the game different choices will be given to you depending on you skater makeup (Career, Hardcore, Rigger). You are never ‘locked’ into any skater style.
Thanks for your time Brian!
Lookout for more developer Q&A in the near future.