The Tony Hawk Pro Skater series was one of the best during its run, a must-have game for skaters and non-skaters alike, so when Activision announced a new installment of the long dormant series, we were cautiously intrigued. With the release of the newest installment an attempt at reclaiming former sixteen year old glory, Robomodo and Tony Hawk team up once again to try to replicate the Pro Skater formula, but they’ve ollied to their doom.
Tony Hawk was released on September 29 and let’s just say that the response from the community was not quite what Activision was looking for. It was quickly uncovered within less than sixty minutes of play that a number of bugs and other game-breaking issues infected the disk. “We are aware of the issues that players have experienced following the launch of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 and are working with the developer to address these so that we can continue to improve the gameplay experience for all of the Tony Hawk fans who have known and loved this franchise for more than 16 years,” said Activision, but is anyone really surprised by this?
“Tony Hawk’s ATVI contract ends this year. Now everything makes more sense,” tweeted game developer Dan Teasdale, who provided a link that further sheds some light on this attempt at “reclaiming the former glory of the franchise.” In 2002, Activision and Tony Hawk had signed a publishing deal that will expire at the end of this year, which makes many of us wonder if this was the true motive behind the release of Pro Skater 5. Going back to their roots and continuing with the line of Pro Skater games when the series was at its peak was all Activision needed to squeeze out a few last drops out of their old cash cow before doors closed. Activision held off on releasing review copies of the game ahead of time, which is another huge indicator that they had little faith in their title; they were probably worried that letting the game get into the hands of reviewers who would send out negative feedback would impact their sales.
It’s uncertain if Tony Hawk and Activision had signed a new contract or renewed the old one, but if its existence wasn’t one last cash-grab, perhaps it was contractually obligated. Either way it’s about time we laid this old dog down to bed. Activision and Robomodo had driven the franchise into the ground with Ride, Downhill and many other installments. The skate culture and lifestyle is just not as prevalent in today’s culture as it was back in the early aughts and the care and attention the game needed to make the franchise huge again clearly wasn’t received. It seems as if Activision just needed to release a new installment this year due to their contract agreement and nothing more. We would have loved for a new string of Tony Hawk games to flood the store shelves, but we don’t want a beat-down cash grab either.