Twenty tears on from the release of the very first Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, the series is making a comeback. Activision announced a remaster of the first two titles in the franchise, called Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2, during a Summer Game Fest reveal on YouTube.
This remaster brings fan-favorite stages and skaters — not to mention, the series' legendary licensed soundtrack — to modern platforms in 4K. Vicarious Visions, a studio that worked alongside original franchise developer Neversoft on some of the earlier titles, is handling development duties for the remaster.
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The game will drop September 4 for PS4, Xbox One and PC via the Epic Games Store, and will set you back $40. A deluxe edition for $10 more adds some extra goodies, like retro outfits for certain skaters and custom characters.
The trailer highlights moments longtime fans are sure to remember, like the Leap of Faith at School II from the second entry, as well as the daunting Downhill Jam canyon stage that appeared in THPS 1. "Classic modes," split screen and online multiplayer are also part of the package, though we don't have specifics on how exactly those modes will play. We can only assume Horse will be among them.
Of course, as exciting as this announcement is, the THPS faithful has been burned oh-so-many times in the past, so it's not unreasonable to view this release with some skepticism. In 2012, Robomodo remastered the first three games, under the banner Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD, to middling feedback. Years later, the brand attempted yet another return to its roots with the ill-fated Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5.
However, Vicarious Visions stresses this project started at the source: unpacking the physics and level designs that made the original titles so beloved, then converting those over to a modern engine.
"The number one thing to us was getting [the game] to feel right," Vicarious Visions' Jennifer Oneal said during the Summer Game Fest stream following the unveiling. "We started with the Neversoft engine, looking at the Neversoft codebase for the handling, and brought that over. Also looked at the level layouts, and bringing over the geometry as a starting point."
"The basis of it was the feel — does it feel like it responds the way the original games did," said Tony Hawk himself during the same interview. "And that's something that we've been kind of missing through, you know, various versions and attempts at bringing this back.
"When I started playing [Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 1+2], it felt like the same response," Hawk said. It felt like the tricks work the same, yet the visuals were just way over the top."
Oneal and Hawk said that rather than add new tricks or gameplay functionality, the focus was on keeping the experience as authentic as possible. One of the few exceptions to that is pulling off reverts — a technique introduced in THPS 2 used to chain tricks together into combos. This feature wasn't around for the first title, though it'll be present even within the THPS 1 levels in the new remaster.
While THPS 1+2 won't be out until September, those who preorder the game will have access to a demo featuring the Warehouse level from THPS 1 prior to the game's release. Personally, we look forward to shredding and rocking out to Fu Manchu's "Evil Eye" like the last 20 years never happened.