E3 2015 – Talking Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 with The Birdman himself

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I may be the worst skateboarder in the real world, but I’m pretty much unstoppable when it comes to video games. Back in the day, I could nail grinds and kick-flips that’d pop me a million points, in the Tony Hawk Pro Skater franchise. I miss those days. The golden age of the THPS franchise hasn’t been felt in many an age. And it’s time to bring it all back, according to the Hawk himself.

At an event in downtown LA, I got the chance to not only speak to Tony Hawk, but to watch skateboarders do what they do best.: Rip up concrete and turn any surface into a grindable object. In fact, the location where the event was taking place, as none other than the actual first level of Tony Hawk Pro Skater: the Berrics.

According to the Hawk, he’d never skated here before, but the authenticity of the video game scan of that skateboarding arena had resulted in him already having memorised where each corner and rail was, thanks to the authentic design of the levels from developer Robomodo:

They worked hard at it, and it shows. I have never skated here before, and I knew the layout immediately, I knew where I would hit the quarter pipes and stuff like that.

So where has Tony Hawk been then? Ever since the franchise ventured into a certain direction that most of us would like to forget about, the series has been on a long hiatus. But according to Hawk, the time was finally right to bring the franchise back to life. Once he stopped skating that is:

Skating. I never stopped skating and I do a lot of shows and things like that, so I’ve been wanting to reboot the series for a while and I’ve heard all the requests for it through social media. I kept asking, I kept bugging Activision and we finally came to a place where new consoles, there’s enough of them out there where we can justify to make a game just for that.

Naming the game Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 however? That’s a very definite declaration of intent, towards the golden age of the series that this game is grinding towards with a 1080 reverse nose manual:

And to be honest, I had to fight for that name, because we really were directing it towards that same gameplay, that same control. This is the fifth game in that series.

The Hawkster is involved in the development of the game, as he explained that he was giving it his feedback on making it an authentic and detailed new entry into the genre:

I’m playing it every step of the way, every couple of weeks I get a new version and give my feedback. I’m more involved in the nuances of trying to keep it authentic, the skating, the soundtrack, the titles, stuff like that.

But there’s one other thing that makes a Tony Hawk game special. And if you’re thinking about grinding along a helicopter blade while Papa Roach’s Blood Brothers track plays, then you’re also wondering what kind of music we can expect in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5:

I think it’ll be along the same lines as what we’ve done in the past. Some underground tracks you haven’t heard before. Newer stuff, punk, hip hop. I wanted to represent skate culture as much as anything.

And according to Hawk, you can expect some “winningnest” skaters to star with him in THP5:

Andrew Reynolds is back, my son Riley is in it. Lizzie Armanto, Nyjah Huston who is the winningnest skater these days, Chris Cole. We have a superstar line-up.

By the way, according to this photo that I took with Tony Hawk, I’m now also his best friend. Probably. C’mon, let me in dammit!

THPS

Last Updated: June 17, 2015

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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