previews\ Jun 1, 2009 at 8:00 pm

Tony Hawk: RIDE - PS3 - Preview

E3 2009 PreviewE3 2008 GameZone Previews

This year might well be the year of the peripheral for Activision. Not only is DJ Hero pioneering a new take on the music-based genre by introducing a turntable into the gameplay, but Tony Hawk: RIDE may well turn the skateboarding genre on its ear with the technology of its gaming peripheral – which is essential for playing the game.

Ok, what’s the deal with the peripheral? It’s a skateboard, sans the truck and wheels, but this board has sensors in it that translates to the shifting weight of the rider. Not only that, but the board has IR sensors in it that allows players to pass their hands over them to simulate grabs.

The technology was shown at a pre-E3 event hosted by Activision in Los Angeles in May. The developer of the title, Robomodo, was on hand to give a live demonstration of the game and the board, but started the media demo by talking about what made the Tony Hawk franchise so successful. There were three core elements cited – accessibility, innovation (the game was relatively intuitive) and it was pure fun. The challenge was to take those elements and move them forward.

It was actually the skateboarder whose name is on the box, Tony Hawk, that had the idea to incorporate the board controller. The peripheral had to flip up at both ends and uses accelerometers to allow pop-ups. The bottom of the board has a slight curve that allows players to roll the board by shifting their weight, thus simulating what a boarder might actually do on his or her board.

“The board talks to the game and the game talks to the board,” it was stated.

The game was completely tuned for board play and the graphics were “punched up to make it fun.”

It was determined that there is a major difference between half-pipe skaters and street skaters, so as the project evolved the different modes were separated out and given their own set of skill goals.

“The position of the body should mimic the on-screen character,” the developer representative said, noting that the board itself has allowed the team to put “an infinite amount of moves into the game.”

There are trick, challenge and speed sessions in each level and it was estimated that there are about 150 game modes possible with all the different modes and difficulty settings.

Stating that “skating is not about skating with your thumbs,” the dev team explained that they wanted “to make the game as much fun to watch as to play.”

The game will include multiplayer and online modes as well.

The game, featuring the wireless board controller, is slated for release later this year.


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