Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater is back, as Activision has announced Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2, a compilation remake of the first two THPS games developed by Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy studio Vicarious Visions, which has a long history with the series.THPS 1 and 2 will be released for PS4, Xbox One, and PC via the Epic Game Store on September 4, 2020, with preorders offering fans early access to a demo of the iconic Warehouse level. The game is a remake compiling the first two games in the beloved THPS franchise, including all levels (even the secret ones), and IGN spoke with Vicarious Visions studio head Jen Oneal to learn more about what’s new and returning to THPS 1 and 2.
Check out the announcement trailer for THPS 1 and 2 below
How Will Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 Gameplay Change?
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 will introduce some new moves not featured in the original games, like reverts, but VV hopes the muscle memory of the originals kicks in while playing. And that will in part be because VV employed the original handling code from THPS 1 devs Neversoft.
“We started with Neversoft’s original handling code. We started with that as a foundation and then layered on what we needed to do to modernize it,” Oneal said in an interview with IGN.
“The other thing that we looked at was the geometry because we wanted to match inch by inch the geometry so that those lines feel exactly the same that they were before,” she continued.
Watch our conversation below to see the first gameplay from THPS 1 and 2:
One of those big, modernized changes is, of course, thinking about playing these games with control sticks. Oneal confirmed players could opt between classic and modern control schemes, but that the core of the controls players will remember is intact.
“We didn’t want to change anything because the reality is your muscle memory sets in and you’re automatically hitting the buttons the way you remember it. But the one thing that we did have to put a little extra attention on, because back then it didn’t exist were the analog sticks,” she said.
In addition to gameplay tweaks to make the skateboarding itself more modern, THPS 1 and 2 will mark the return of all the hallmark missions — collecting SKATE letters, secret tapes, etc. — from the original games, while also introducing some new challenges.
“We’ve added more challenges to each of the levels that you can accomplish, some that are per skater for example,” Oneal explained.
Will THPS 1 and 2 Have Online or Local Multiplayer and Create-a-Park?
THPS will support competitive online play, but the remake will also feature split screen multiplayer for those who want to play with friends locally.
And THPS 1 and 2’s online functionality will also extend to the return of the Create-a-Park and Create-a-Skater modes. Players will be able to share their creations online, and VV is hoping to give players a wide array of options to build their dream skate parks.Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2 Reveal Screenshots
“Create-a-Park is more robust than ever. It’s a deep set of tools for creating your ultimate skate park. And it’s not just a huge library of ramps, rails and boxes, you name it. On top of that, you’re able to do some deformation,” Oneal explained. “So you’re able to take some of the pieces and shape them in different ways and make your ultimate ultimate skate amusement park, if you will.”
That level of customization should give players plenty of freedom in designing their dream parks, and Oneal said she and the team are excited to see how players recreate their own real-world skateparks and design completely original ones.
Are the THPS 1 and 2 Soundtracks Returning?
Since its inception, the Tony Hawk Pro Skater franchise has been married to its soundtracks, with locations and skaters as key to its identity as the songs that supported them. Oneal is happy to confirm that while not every song is back, given the trickiness of music licensing, the vast majority of these two soundtracks return, including fan-favorite tracks.
“Most of the songs made it into the game. There’s only a small handful that we just couldn’t get the licensing rights for. It’s a pretty full soundtrack and you’ll get to hear your favorites, like “Guerrilla Radio” is in there, “Superman,” which is kind of like the anthem of THPS, is in there,” she said.
Is THPS 1 and 2 a Remake or Remaster?
But while the songs remain the same, the look certainly does not. Vicarious Visions, which was largely responsible for the impressive THPS handheld games, has done a lot of ground-up work into the look of the games, as evidenced by the impressive first screenshots and gameplay.
“…We wanted to match inch by inch the geometry [of the levels] so that those lines feel exactly the same that they were before. So that was our starting point. But all the assets, everything on top of [Neversoft’s handling code] is all original stuff,” Oneal said of the work the developers have done on the updated versions.
“We went for a photo-real quality,” Oneal explained of the new look. “We’re using scanned material from getting the skaters to come back in and get scanned, photogrammetry references for textures and assets within the environment. So it all looks just luscious and beautiful. Let’s make it feel like you’re in a skate video. Let’s make it feel like you’re in Thrasher magazine taking these really awesome shots.
While we haven’t been able to go hands-on with Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 and 2 just yet, Vicarious Visions aims to retain what made the franchise so beloved at its start, while bringing it forth to a modern setting and, perhaps, trying to curb a bit of the bad taste Tony Hawk Pro Skater 5 left.
And given Vicarious Visions’ pedigree with the series, having worked on a number of the handheld entries in the series, and the current team there having ties to the franchise, it’s clear the team wants to do right by THPS.
“ For all of us, it’s like revisiting a really important part of our past,” Oneal said, noting she worked at Activision at the time of the original release, while members of the VV team had previously worked at Neversoft or the THPS series as a whole. “21 years has gone by and we get to revisit something that is so meaningful to our careers. We’re so grateful to have this opportunity.”