PSU recently had the privilege to visit the Neversoft Studio and get hands on time with the next Tony Hawk game, Proving Ground, and we've got some good stuff to share.
While on the outside, it looks like the same old Tony Hawk game, however, the team has added some new features, and a new way of progressing through the single player story. The multiplayer has also seen a bit of a revamping and the newly added video editor is looking to be a great addition to this year's title.
Proving ground takes place over three cities, Baltimore, Phiadelphia, and Washington D.C., as well as the underground paths connecting these cities. All of the locations in the game are well designed with lots of great lines throughout. Also, real world skate parks have been added with great detail.
The single player storyline is very similar to every Tony Hawk game, starting with an unknown skater, who works his way to fame by completing various objectives, gaining street cred by participating in demos, and becoming noticed by gracing the covers of skate magazines. Proving Ground aims to take the single player experience one step further by adding skater "classes" which each have special moves and bonuses.
The player is given three classes to choose from, or, can complete objectives for all three and be the ultimate skater! The classes are rigger, career, and hardcore. Throughout the game, you will encounter some skateboarding pros who teach you more about each of these classes.
The rigger class is for skaters who like to create their own lines by adding ramps, rails, and other equipment to the world. Completing rigger objectives will unlock the ability to climb drainpipes, setting down park components, and using the hammer tool to modify landscapes.
The hardcore class is for those who skate to be the best, not on the stage, or on magazines, but for personal goals. This series of objectives will give such abilities as the aggro kick (using the R1 button to kick off while skating to gain a big burst in speed), the body check (nailing down other skaters), and bowl skating, which gives you some sweet moves for the various pools and bowls around the world.
This is the class for fame seekers. Here, abilities such as nail the trick, nail the grab, and nail the manual are unlocked. Nail the trick was first seen in Project 8, as players were, for the first time, able to create their own tricks by using the analog sticks to control the skater's feel. Now, in Proving Ground, players will be able to use the same control scheme to Nail the Grab, and Nail the Manual. Both of these worked out surprisingly well and felt quite natural.
All in all, these three classes give the game a balanced, and diverse way of approaching the single player game. As you progress through the story mode, and unlock more of these talents, you gain the ability to pull off some amazing stunts.
There are several people throughout the game that the player will interact with, including several pro skaters such as: Tony Hawk, Ryan Sheckler, Arto Saari, Jereme Rogers, Daewon Song, Jeff King, and more. Each skater will have several goals to accomplish and different tutorials as well. There is well over 100 goals throughout the game.
Players will be able to create a fully customized in game character, with many of the same options as seen in previous Tony Hawk games. There are loads of accessories and tattoos to choose from, to give your character some personality, and, depending on your chosen class, many unlockables will provide further uniqueness. Hardcore skaters will unlock scars, career players will have plenty of bling, and riggers will be sporting new accessories.
Along with unlocking accessories for your skater, by completing objectives, new skate park components will unlock, and will be available in your Skate Lounge. While basically a large, personal warehouse skatepark, players will be able to create their own place to skate. There will be hundreds of items you can place where you choose, and there will even be themes to customize the setting. You will be able to invite your friends to skate with you in this lounge for online multiplayer, and each item in the park will be a mark of an achievement that you have made in the single player storyline.
As for multiplayer, Proving Grounds will support up to 8 players at a time, allowing more players then ever before in a Tony Hawk game. This will be the first Tony Hawk on the PS3 to support online play. There was little speak on which game modes will be included, but expect to see the classics such as SKATE, free skate, and high score challenges.
Two more features were shown during our trip, the video editor, and Hawk-Man. The video editor is a great new way to show off your skills to friends. Throughout the game, you can record your tricks, or take snapshots during some epic moments. These will be saved to your hard drive, and can be later used to make a skate video. The editor features overlays, transitions, and filters, all which can be used to create a very nice skate video. In a demonstration, a photo of a custom skater doing a grab over a massive gap was shown with an overlay title, some punk music playing in the background starts to fade in as the screen transitions nicely to some gameplay of various grinds and flips, all fading in and out with different filters applied. It really was impressive, and, according to the developers took almost no time to create. All of the tools are at your fingertips, and, although custom soundtracks for the videos won't make it in the game, there will be about 60 tracks included for your use.
Hawk-Man, is, in essence, Pac-Man on a skateboard. To get to this mode, simply skate up to one of the several arcade machines around the world and interact with it. This will allow you to choose Hawk-Man or High Score Challenge. Both options will put you into a closed off section of the world with an objective. High Score Challenge doesn't need an explanation, but Hawk-Man does. There will be several floating orbs around the level, each being green, yellow, or red. To grab the orb, you must be doing a manual, grind, or in the air. Sounds simple? Not quite. The team has placed these orbs in a very strategic manner, creating some really cool lines, and presenting the challenge to get all of the orbs in one line. It is harder than it sounds, but is definitely one addicting mini-game.
The PS3 version of the game is going to be as close to the 360 version, according to developers. While lacking rumble in the controls, the game will utilize six-axis functionality, and while it is a bit hard to use for handling, is amazing at balancing while grinding or manualling.
The game is set to ship this October, and is looking to be a solid title for fans of the series. Be sure to check back for more on this title as well as a full review later on!
Some Pictures from the event:
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