PSU goes inside the mind behind Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD

If you are a fan of the classic Tony Hawk Pro Skater games, you are no doubt excited for the HD version. Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD includes levels from Pro Skater and Pro Skater 2. The game is in development by Robomodo and will be published by Activision. PSU had the chance to chat with Josh Tsui, CEO of Robomodo about all this Pro Skater, and we’ve shared the interview with you below. Let us know in the comments section if you are excited about this reboot, and what you are looking forward to.

PSU: Working with such legacy titles that have been held in high regard such as the Tony Hawk games must be amazing, as well as stressful. Were there any mechanics that were in the older PS2/3 generations of games that had to be removed? If so, was there any worry about kickback from fans?

Tsui: We stuck to our guns about making sure we stay within the realm of THPS2. This was hugely important to do early on as the design of the levels were made for very specific mechanics. If we put in any mechanics from later games, the flow and scores just blow up all over the place. A lot of people forget that many mechanics were introduced later on and levels were designed with them in mind. There was some concern but it becomes so subjective that the best thing to do was to stay true to the original games and really concentrate on the gameplay.

PSU: The original Xbox version of Tony Hawk 2 supported 4 player splitscreen. Are there any plans to support a mode close to that?

: That was a tough decision for the team. Given the limited scope of the game we had to make some choices on what goes into game. Split screen was talked about heavily but in the end we had to really look at the way people play nowadays which is more online. Having both split screen and online would have sacrificed a lot of time and quality to work in the amount of time that we had.

PSU: What’s it like going through all the old levels with improved draw distance?

Tsui: I think you’re only one of two people who have asked about this. People really underestimate how this changes the feel of the game. Before, you would plan your line based on what you see within a very close distance. Gotta love that fog effect! But now with greater draw distance the Player can really see from one end of the level to another so they can plan their lines a lot better. It becomes amazingly obvious if you pop in the original games and play something like School 2 or Downhill Jam.

PSU: Recently there was a video posted of old Neversoft people playing THPSHD, the video was short and there wasn’t many words exchanged. Can you go into more detail about how he liked the updated game?

Tsui: I saw that! From what I heard from the person shooting the video, they liked what they saw. They’re going to be (rightfully) the ultimate Players of the game and will see things that 99.99% of the Players won’t. I joked to them that I’ll just be happy if they like it enough where they won’t come to Chicago to beat me up.

PSU: When it was announced that this version wouldn’t have all the same music from the old games, there was a lot of worry from fans. How important was it to get the soundtrack as close as possible, while still adding new music?

Tsui: Oh man, don’t get started on the soundtrack! There’s a great interview with Patrick Dwyer (Lead Designer) and Ken Overbey (Producer) of Robomodo where they got into the details of getting the soundtrack. It was hugely important to get some of the songs but there was never a plan to have just the old soundtrack. I think having a game where all the songs are over 13 years old is a disaster. We want to make sure we engage the fans but we are also making a game to appeal to a new generation (hence the graphic and animation updates) and no kid wants to play a game that has their dad’s music only. Tony is big into music and he didn’t want any of the old songs as he wanted to push things forward.