The Tony Hawk series will this December be making its long-awaited return, but long time fans will be in for a surprise. The game, due out on Xbox 360, PS3 and Wii, will set you back £100. Before you sharpen your pitch forks, know this: it'll be bundled with a full size skateboard peripheral that'll allow you to live out your skateboarding dreams in a virtual world. Still not convinced it'll be worth the cash? Let Patrick Dwyer, lead designer at developer Robomodo, convince you otherwise.
VideoGamer.com: What kind of audience are you targeting with Ride?
Patrick Dwyer: We're actually targeting anyone. We want to get anyone that has ever wanted to learn to skate or just thinks it would be a fun experience. If you've ever seen someone skate you can play our game. We want the controls to be intuitive. We've built our gameplay sessions so that anyone can skate. So, people who used to skate in the old days, pro skaters, play our game, and then young kids and old people.
VideoGamer.com: Are you more looking forward to getting gamers into skating or skaters into gaming?
PD: It was more about developing an experience that people would get attached to. We tried to take what was fun from skating, the social aspect of people coming together and then session in the spot – that's fun. And then the other part of skating, which is developing a skill, in the single-player practising the certain area over and over again and honing a skill and learning and getting better. So both aspects of skating, as far as incorporating those two things into a gameplay experience.
VideoGamer.com: At E3 we interviewed Robomodo president Joshua Tsui, who said this peripheral can almost be seen as a platform, and that there are ideas for different things. Can you tell us any of them?
PD: There's really nothing I can tell you. But the board is extremely versatile. We developed this thing and we developed the software from the ground up at the same time. Any future software that comes from it, I would suggest the same way of developing the software at the same time so you harness what's best about the board and bring that to the player. So as far as titles and everything, can't say.
VideoGamer.com: Will the board be allowed to be used by third-parties or only Robomodo?
PD: That's more up to Activision. We had tons of fun making this game and enjoyed the process of working with Activision. Getting this thing out of the door was fun.
VideoGamer.com: It'll cost £100 in the UK. Considering everyone's pretty strapped for cash at the moment, are you happy with the price?
PD: The price I'm not concerned with. I'm not sure what the price is. Even if it has been confirmed it hasn't been told to me. As far as the price, we were trying to develop a solid gameplay experience that has never been done before. The one thing about replayability for this game is, you're learning the skill. Every day you play this game, you put in an hour or invest two hours, how much time you invest in it, that's how much time you're going to get out of it. It's not like you play this game and it's done in eight hours, or it's done in 30 or 60 or whatever. It's done whenever you feel you've mastered it. Tony Hawk skates every single day and he still doesn't think he's mastered skateboarding. That's kind of the same way our game is. It's infinitely long because there's no way to judge how you're the best at it.
VideoGamer.com: During the development of the game, was there any point when you thought you should keep traditional pad control for people who don't want to use the board?
PD: No. It was more about what Robomodo is about. We're about developing unique gameplay experiences with unique art styles, that are intuitive with good intuitive control schemes. So it was more about making a skateboarding game that Robomodo would be proud of and that we would do. We didn't think about what was legacy from Tony Hawk and just say, okay we're just going to copy and paste that and put that into our design. It was more about what do we like about skateboarding games? What do we like about peripheral games? What do we like about casual and party games? What do we like about games in general, and bringing those into a gameplay experience.