Tony Hawk talks RIDE

October 13, 2009

Tony Hawk is the king in two arenas: skateboarding and extreme sports games.  We got the chance to ask him a few questions about RIDE, ultrarealism and its consequences, and…the White House?

Snackbar Games: The original Tony Hawk Pro Skater was released almost exactly 10 years ago. How much have you been involved with the progression of the game since it debuted?
Tony Hawk: I was involved less in the last few games of that series, mostly because Neversoft knew what they were doing by then. In other words, I no longer had to explain what a 360 flip to crooked grind looks like. They were submersed in the skate world after working on the series for so long. But for Ride, I have been hands-on since day one. We started from scratch on this one and I had to make sure it was done right.

SB: Musicians have cited the “Guitar Hero effect” as keeping people from taking up real instruments. Are you afraid that, with the addition of the new peripheral in RIDE, skateboarding is going to experience a similar trend of people not trying the real thing?
TH: Not at all. I think this game will encourage kids to try the real thing more than our last series.

SB: Are you prepared for the backlash when people inevitably start destroying their carpets/TVs/pets/couches/relatives with misguided trick attempts?
TH: All I can say is: keep a wide berth and move any sharp edges. Just kidding, I think people will realize what’s involved very quickly and play it safe.

SB: The board peripheral for RIDE could easily be mistaken for a real deck. What kind of research went into developing it?
TH: We tried many variations of blank skate decks, incorporating sensors, sonars, infrared, and even trackballs. The board was the most challenging part because it has to feel like a skateboard, but also be intuitive without using trucks or wheels. I would say that half the battle was figuring out the right hardware design.

SB: This kind of controller has never been done at home, but there have been similar things done in arcades. Did you ever play any of those arcade games?
TH: All of them, including Alpine Surfer and Top Skater. I own an Air Trix machine.

SB: We’ve heard about your trick challenges with developer Robomodo, and…frankly, you seem to be crushing them. Exactly how good are you?
TH: According to current high scores, the best. But I’m sure that will change quickly once the game is released. I am very good at holding manuals and steering towards obstacles, which is one of the hardest techniques.

SB: Besides the peripheral, what is your favorite new feature in RIDE?
TH: That you can approach each level with different goals (speed, trick, etc).

SB: Are there plans to include the White House or the OEOB into the game? You know, for the full Hawk experience.

TH: Aaha, not quite. I caught enough heat for that already.

SB: Any insight into what’s being planned for the sequel to RIDE?
TH: We have just begun to utilize this technology, so I envision a better skating game. But my overall dream is to have other spinoff games as well (snowboarding, surfing, etc).