The figurehead of the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series, Tony Hawk, has delivered a final blow to lasting fans of the series, confirming that he is no longer working with the series’ publishers, Activision.
Speaking on Twitter, Hawk said of the series:
“To anyone asking me to ‘remaster” old games, or complaining about THPS servers being down: Activision owns the THPS license but I am no longer working with them. If I had the skills / authority to reboot servers or code games for newer systems on my own, I would be happy to…”
This may not come as a surprise to long-standing fans: a spell of metacritic mediocrity saw Neversoft (the original studio behind the Tony Hawk series) shut down in 2014, and there followed a marked perceived drop off in quality, with metacritic scores falling with each release.
EA’s Skate series did further damage: skateboarding games tended to attract a modest but dedicated audience, and Skate, the mechanics of which were considered more realistic, divided the player base.
The fact that Tony Hawk is no longer working with Activision seems a pretty clear statement of intent (or lack thereof) from both parties: Activision own the license, preventing Hawk from working on a project with someone else but seem unlikely to work on a game without his blessing, given the influence of the skater of the audience.
Moreover, whilst Hawk seems open to working with other studios, the fact that he cannot use the iconic Tony Hawk name may deter prospective studios, and Hawk himself.
The once divided player base of skating games seems scattered to the wind. The morsel of good news for fans is that, with the niche uncontested, a studio may see an opportunity to capitalise on an audience hungry for a quality skateboarding game.