It’s 2020, but right now I feel like slipping into the baggiest of pants, dipping my head into a vat of industrial hair gel and performing a few grinds that end with my face merging with the asphalt beneath me. Tony Hawk defined a video game generation when his original games hit console and PC back in the day, and now two decades later the Birdman is ready to fly once again.
Is Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 a remake or a remaster? Can I create my own skater? Is there an option for me to go maximum edge-lord while listening to Papa Roach’s Blood Brothers track? The answer to all those questions, lie right below!
Is this just a fancier version of Tony Hawk‘s Pro Skater HD?
Nope! While that 2012 remake did do a banger of a job on the original two games (and the glorious third one via download if I remember correctly), the latest update from Vicarious Visions is aiming to be more faithful to the source material that inspired a generation. “I think our goals are different than that particular game,” Vicarious Visions studio head Jen Oneal said to Polygon.
We really focused on faithfully remastering the first two games. So when we started development of this project, we didn’t look at [Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD], we looked at the first two games. We also listened to what the fans were asking for; it’s clear that they want a faithful remaster. They wanted something where we included all the original levels, that’s something that we made sure of.
Anything that we thought that they would expect out of this […] we made sure that it’s there. So every single level, including the secret levels are there. We brought back all the original skaters.
Vicarious Visions is developing the new Tony Hawk Pro Skater collection
Yes that’s right, this version is being done by Vicarious Visions, who have recently been Activision’s go-to team for remasters thanks to some stunning work on the Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon projects that brought all that nostalgia into the modern era of gaming.
Remake or a remaster?
According to IGN, Vicarious Visions started the project with the original handling code (which dictates how the skateboarding works) for the classic games, but everything else is entirely new. From the skaters to the worlds they inhabit, everything has been recreated with an eye on being as faithful as possible to the first two games.
Or to sum it up in a more grotesque analogy, Vicarious Visions have taken the original skeleton and brain of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 and 2, slapped new flesh on top of it and have unleashed a brand new dancing meat puppet. So the answer to that question? Both! Oh and Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 fans, rejoice: The revert mechanic from that game is present here.
How close to the original games is the gameplay?
“We dug into Neversoft’s codebase we were able to pull the handling code out of there, bring it into the engine that we’re in now and update it to make sure that we are making that feel exactly the way you remember it but updated with modern animation,” Oneal said of the game’s original DNA.
It just looks incredibly smooth and the fidelity is fantastic. We had to spend a good amount of time to make sure that the game feels great whether you want to use the d-pad or the [analog] stick. I think some of the people who are the hardcore, old-school players, you’ll see their thumbs wandering to the d-pad. That’s what their muscle memory draws them to. And then of course, the newer players don’t know how to play any other way.
So for us, we had to make sure that the handling felt good no matter how you play the game.
What multiplayer options are there?
One of the original joys of owning Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater back in the day was the ability to invite a friend over, give them an extra controller for some split-screen fun and then punch them in the gentleman’s sausage when their combo score got a little too close to yours. In the 2020 edition of THPS, you’ll be able to do just that and more! Man, Andrew must hate me for ruining his chances to ever have children.
Local split-screen is in, as well as regular online multiplayer modes with which to do a few high score runs and prove that you’re still the best there is, like no one ever was.
Activision says that “most” of the original licensed music has made the hop over, which so far includes the following bands:
- Powerman 5000
- Bad Religion
- Dead Kennedy’s
- Naughty by Nature
- Papa Roach
- Rage against the Machine
The beauty of this modern era, is that modern consoles now have Spotify integration built into them, so tuning into a dedicated Tony Hawk Pro Skater playlist will fill any holes in that gap.
All the legends are here!
- Tony Hawk
- Steve Caballero
- Geoff Rowley
- Bucky Lasek
- Elissa Steamer
- Kareem Campbell
- Andrew Reynolds
- Bob Burnquist
- Eric Koston
- Rodney Mullen
- Jamie Thomas
- Rune Glifberg
- Chad Muska
Vicarious Visions say that each skater will also retain their original special moves, such as Geoff Rowley’s Darkside Grind and Tony Hawk’s legendary 900, with new tricks added into the mix such as the Revert, Lip Tricks, and the Wall Plant.
All the original levels from the first two games in the franchise will be included, which includes:
- Skate Park
- Downhill Jam
- School II
- New York City
- Venice, CA
- Skatestreet, Ventura
- Chopper Drop, Hawaii
- Skate Heaven, Outer Space
- Downhill Jam
If you’re thinking frame-rate, then you’ll be happy to know that each game will sport 60 of them every second when you hop into a level. As for resolution? Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro will sport 4K resolutions alongside the PC version, with HDR lighting also making for a prettier session. On a user interface level, menus have been redesigned and more quality of life improvements have been added as well, such as ultra-quick reloads during a level.
If you don’t feel like playing as a legend, you’ll be able to customise your own skater via Create-A-Skater. Activision says that custom skaters will include “some that feature iconic skating and street brands”, and can be taken online.
Think that you can do a better job than Neversoft or Vicarious Visions when it comes to skate park design? Create-A-Park is back, and will ship with a robust editing suite and probably far fewer limits that made your PlayStation One wheeze with effort back in the day after you’d made a loop-de-loop of pain across the screen. “Create-A-Park has really evolved from what it was,” Oneal said.
You are going to have access to a full suite of a skate park pieces: your ramps, your rails, your halfpipe, etcetera. But what makes it so different now and now you actually get to deform the pieces, and you can make any kind of crazy amusement park-like skate park that you want because you’re able to manipulate the rails to make crazy spirals if you want.
Last Updated: May 13, 2020