Tony Hawk talks about reviving a dying genre

There was a time when famed pro-skateboarder Tony Hawk thought that the video game that popularized skateboarding for many gamers and helped make him an almost household name, was dead.

There was a time when famed pro-skateboarder Tony Hawk thought that the video game that popularized skateboarding for many gamers and helped make him an almost household name, was dead.

"Yeah, I thought that was a definite possibility," Hawk told Polygon in a recent interview. "But at the same time I felt that we could review our very first games and bring them into the new architecture and the new technology of what's available now. I felt like the time had come, and I really pushed Activision that way.

The result is Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD, the twelfth in the long-lived series and a high-definition rerelease of some of the previous games' classic levels and design. Set for a release on the Playstation Network and Xbox Live Arcade later this month, the game brings the franchise back to its roots, stripping away moves to get players to focus on the classic trio of tricks, grinds and manuals in their combos.

Hawk said he had been pushing Activision for nearly four years to do a game like this, his hope was to bring it out between 2007's Tony Hawk's Proving Ground and a game that significantly eroded the franchise.

Tony Hawk; Ride hit in 2009 with the promise of reinvigorating the brand by introducing a motion-sensing plastic board peripheral that players stood on to play the game. The reaction was mostly bad, with the game scoring in the 40s on metacritic.

Hawk said he knows that the game's poor reception was strong enough to impact not just the game, but his brand.

"It did, but we needed to try something new," he said. "It definitely - the whole - not just franchise but skate games in general, had been splintered at that point, and so I wanted to try something new, and you know the peripherals were very big at the time, and I felt like that was something we could do. But we were on such a time crunch that it was way too rushed."

'We were on such a time crunch that it was way too rushed.'

Shred, the also poorly received follow up to Ride, was much closer to the experience he had hoped Ride would be, Hawk said.

"I thought Shred was the game that Ride should have been, and we just were under this time constraint that we could create a hardware and a software integration in that short timeframe," he said. "But I'm glad we tried something new. We had to take a chance."

Now Hawk is left trying to slowly rebuild the skateboarding genre. Pro Skater HD, he hopes will be the start of that.

"This is a baseline for something that we can do, we can release content later in terms of bit by bit because now we're online and that technology - even though it's been talked about for years - it's finally come of age, and now it is possible to exist solely online and to do a game that exists only as downloadable," he said. "And we can release levels and skaters bit by bit ... I'd love to do something with motion control - definitely with Kinect-oriented - but for now we want to make this work and go from there."

Hawk says he hasn't really thought about whether there will ever be return to the more traditional games of the franchise, like a Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5.

"I think that this creates a foundation for releasing more content," he said. "You know, eventually we want to do the best of, say, 3 and 4, and maybe Underground, but beyond that, I want to do new maps and new levels. You know I think it deserves that. But because we're doing it downloadable, it's not really a whole new game. It's adding to what we've created.

"We want to bring back the genre."

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