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
“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
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.