Tony Hawk’s Project 8 - Official Website

Reengineered from the ground up for Sony and Microsoft’s next-generation consoles, Tony Hawk’s Project 8™ immerses players in the definitive skateboarding experience using ultra-realistic graphics, enhanced physics and extremely responsive controls that simulate the feeling of skating with every trick and bail. The game challenges players to experience the intensity and excitement of skating against some of the world’s top amateurs, as they climb the ranks in an effort to earn their way onto Tony Hawk’s Project 8 Team.

Delivering continuous skating action in a free-roaming living environment, Tony Hawk’s Project 8 incorporates the series’ most popular features, all of which have been enhanced with next-generation technology.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Next Generation Gameplay Brings Skateboarding to Life
  • Most Unique, Robust and Realistic Skateboarding Game Experience Eve
  • Innovative, Never-Before-Seen Gameplay Elements:
    • Nail the Trick
    • Multiple Tiers of Difficulty
    • Filmer and Photo Goals
    • Picture-in-in-Picture
    • Movable Ramps and Rails throughout the city
    • “Impress the Locals”
  • Enhanced Physics and Responsive Controls
Game Chronicles takes a look at this stunning next-gen sequel in our exclusive GCM interview with Neversoft Director of Development, Scott Pease and Neversoft President, Joel Jewett .

GCM: Thank you for your time! Please get us started by introducing yourself and telling us about the team responsible for Tony Hawk's Project 8.

SP: My Name is Scott Pease, I’m the Director of Development here at Neversoft.

JJ: I’m Joel Jewett, I’m the President of Neversoft, first guy on the payroll. We have a lot of guys from the previous team, and we’ve basically grown the company quite a bit in the last couple of years. And with the advent of the next-generation it certainly does take a lot more people to make a video game, so we have quite a bit of fresh blood on the team, which is pretty exciting and helps with new ideas.

GCM: How involved is Tony Hawk with this franchise and how much input did he have with Project 8?

SP: Tony is involved in every iteration of the game. He’s a total hardcore gamer as well as a skater. He’s with us from the first concept for the game on paper all the way through to finishing the game and getting it out the door. He makes it a point of pride to make sure he beats every single game that we do before its release. We keep him up to date with burns of the game every month. He’s got his Xbox 360 debug so we’re sending “burns” off to Tony and he’s playing them and calling us up and giving us feedback. He’s in our offices several times a year to talk with us firsthand and do some voiceover and motion-capture, which is actually a big thing this year. The motion capture of Tony Hawk is the first time we’ve done it in a long, long time.

GCM: Could you give a specific idea of Tony’s that we will see in the final game?

SP: Well, the “mo-cap” thing; he’s been wanting to do that for years really, trying to represent the pro styles in the game, so we finally have the technology and the power of the systems to get all that going. He was real instrumental in lining up the pros and getting everyone recorded and getting their unique motions in the game.

GCM: What has the power of the 360 and PS3 allowed you to do that was previously impossible due to hardware limitations?

[Both laugh] JJ: Do you have an hour?

SP: Well, the machines are just a quantum leap above what we had before. We’ve basically rebuilt every single system in the game to take advantage of that horsepower. So the world is far bigger, more seamless, and way more detailed. The amount of detail we can get with our new rendering engine is better than anything we’ve done before; reflections in the asphalt, grime on the dumpsters, and that extends to the characters. They are far more complicated than they’ve ever been. In the past we just used to hand-animate each animation and loop them together. This year, with the power of the motion-capture animations we’ve got all the pros real moves then we blend them together using the horsepower of the 360, so the skaters motions dynamically adapt to whatever you are doing as you skate. It’s just a much more seamless and smoother experience than we’ve ever had before. On top of that we throw in our slow-motion effects and other things that just couldn’t be done on the PS2.

GCM: Any big differences between the 360 and PS3?

SP: There are a lot of differences under the hood, but the goal is to make sure that everything we can do on one system we can do on the other.

GCM: Will Project 8 offer that same sense of storytelling and immersion we saw in American Wasteland?

SP: [Project 8] is more of a return to the hardcore roots of skating in terms of there is just so much to do all the time in the game. There is a little bit of a story that gives you contacts to where Tony is trying to find the top 8 amateurs, but the idea behind the game is to really open it up and make it much more freeform and get rid of the linearity of some of the past games. We give you the freedom to do all kinds of different challenges and pick your own path through the game and having it all feed into ranking you up.

GCM: What kind of game structure can we expect?

We kind of guide you through it. The concept for the game is you are trying to work your way up, and as you make your way up the ladder from rank 200 to the top eight, people start to take notice, pros come to your town and they challenge you, you beat them and your rank goes up even higher. New events in the world come alive, competitions spring up as you play through the game. So there is definitely always things happening, new events coming up…

JJ: You’ll have to travel to different places in the world, so the world does open up as you go through the game.

SP: It’s just not so linearly structured anymore.

GCM: How many new moves are being added to the vast trick library already established in the series? Any favorites?

SP: Well, we had to reconstruct everything we had done for PS2 and improve upon it for Project 8. The big new addition is the “Nail the Trick” mode, which is something we’ve never done before and something we couldn’t have done until the 360. To me, that’s almost a framework for tricks since you’re controlling your feet you’re creating moves on the fly. The amount of tricks you can create is almost limitless. You just create them dynamically as you think them up. That’s a huge new addition.

JJ: And the fact that you can work that into the other combinations and the combo system really expands the whole thing.

SP: Then there’s the myriad of other tweaks and things we wanted to get in. Controlling the bails is new, the flip system has been redesigned and improved upon.

GCM: What do you have in store for the online gaming community with Project 8?

SP: Leaderboards are a big milestone for us. We’ve never done that before. There are so many different goals in the game and so many levels of challenges; we’ve really tried to attach leaderboards to everything they apply to. We’ve actually found out that’s just a blast here in the office, testing something like the “Nail a Trick” on leaderboards where you have five guys in the room all going at it trying to one-up each other and get higher up on the leaderboard.

In addition to that full online play returns to Xbox Live and it’s now in the next-gen fully streaming world, which is really the biggest environment we’ve ever done in an online setting. You and seven other guys can get in this big expansive world and explore it or play some of the classic games like Graffiti and Trick Attack. We’ve added a new game mode called “Walls” where as you trick through the world you leave a trail behind you that is deadly to the other players. You try to trap them in, grind rails you know they are going to try and get there first.

GCM: How are the leaderboards integrated into the game?

SP: The way it works is that every time you do a challenge and you either get Am, Pro, or Sick, it brings up the results screen and from there you can go straight to the leaderboards and see where you fall. Am, Pro, and Sick results are grouped together and to really get to the top you have to be Sick and do something else like score a “bazillion points”. We also have some Global Leaderboards that track your best combo, longest grind, longest manual, and your biggest bail…things like that.

GCM: How about Achievement Points, any fun ones, evil ones?

[Both laugh] SP: When we did THAW last year the 360 was new and this whole Achievement thing was new and we were trying to figure out how to do it – now we know, so we’ve gone crazy with Achievements this year. There is a ton of different Achievements for all sorts of different things, doing goals, doing big bails, there is even one we had to get special approval from Microsoft…I don’t really want to give it away but it has to do with online play and I don’t think anyone has done it before.

GCM: Music is always a big part of the Tony Hawk franchise. About how many tracks will be in the final game and what are some big-name artists being tapped for Project 8

SP: We’re really not talking about the soundtrack at this time. It’s gonna be “kickass”, better than all the others. We can talk about our process. It’s the same process we use on every title. We get the team together and everybody contributes what they think are cool and unique tracks. We have people out there scouting new bands and we try to dig up old classics that fit the style of the game.

JJ: It needs to be relevant to the video game, so it needs to tie into the skate culture and that can go back 20-30 years. At the end of the day that music should feel good to skate to.

GCM: Thank you again for your time! Do you have any last impressions or thoughts for our readers?

SP: We’re just super-excited to be on these new systems. It’s really opened up a lot more opportunities to take the gameplay in new directions. And if you count all the Sick challenges in there this is definitely going to be our biggest and most challenging game we’ve ever put out.