After having started in 1999 with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, the Tony Hawk series of video games has enjoyed its fair share of highs and lows. None perhaps higher than its fantastic Pro Skate series, which lasted from 1999 until 2002 with four games released in the series, and none lower than 'RIDE' in 2009, which came with an awful skateboard motion-control peripheral, making for all-round pretty average game.
What the series started and ended as are two different things, with Tony Hawk 'retiring' from games following the critical and commercial failure of 'SHRED' in late-2010, the second game in as many years to use the ill-fated skateboard controller.
His retirement wouldn't last long, though, with the world-renowned skateboard champion revealing 'Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD' and this past weekend's VGAs.
The new high definition collection, coming in 2012, will bring the best of Pro Skate 1 and 2 together, in the mean time introducing a classic sports series from last generation into the high-def era.
And probably at the best time, too. Activision, the Tony Hawk series publisher since 1999, earlier this year momentarily retired Guitar Hero, a music series arguably the victim of annual over saturation. Tony Hawk games had essentially remained unchanged on a mechanics front until Downhill Jam for Nintendo DS in 2006. From that moment, which also coincidentally saw the start of Nintendo's motion-control Wii crave, Tony Hawk games started losing their widespread appeal. Electronic Art's 'Skate' series, with its unique gameplay system, was the final nail in the coffin.
The introduction of the motion-enabled skateboard controller for RIDE and SHRED ultimately led to the short Tony Hawk retirement, right about the time gamers were asking for more of the classic gameplay.
Now we're seeing arguably two of last generation's best sports games finally coming to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The four Pro Skater games are impossible to separate when it comes to quality and content, and we'll definitely see a Pro Skater HD 2 if sales for the first compilation meet expectations, which they should.
But will any possible successful release of these HD remakes lead to a fifth entry in the best Tony Hawk series? What else could be added to make any fifth game a worthy addition to such a fantastic sports franchise?
Online functionality would be the first good addition, with leader boards, different modes, and global competitions. Throw in some good ol' fashioned skating levels (ala. Pro Skater 1 through 4) and deep customization elements, as well as of course the classic Pro Skater gameplay, and you'd have a welcomed addition to the best arcade sports series on the market.
By Gaetano Prestia
Are you excited for Tony Hawk Pro Skater HD, and would you like to see a brand new Pro Skater?