Game Console recently had time to chat to Brian Bright, co-project director on Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground. After a very informative 30 minutes, I discovered that Brian and the team at Neversoft are all about making Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground the most realistic and entertaining skating game to be released which of course, is a massive undertaking considering the success of the Tony Hawk franchise to date.
Brian’s role in the development of the game consists of directing the design team and guiding the production teams (about 60 – 100 people). When asked about the freedom for players to create their own experiences in the game, Brian was quick to point out that Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground is all about “Playing the way you want to play by creating a story and picking your path”. This is a very consistent theme throughout the game where gamers will literally be able to choose from several different role-plays as a skater including ‘Hardcore’, ‘Rigger’ and ‘Career’ each of which have definitive aspects to follow throughout the individual storylines. Of course, Brian also tells us that you can “stop and start at any point in the game”, re-emphasising the ability for gamers to choose between what they want to do in the game. You can mix it up as much as you wish.
One of the most exciting features of the game is the ’video editor’ which allows gamers to create videos of all of their best moments in the game exactly how they want and then allows them to post their best video clips on the XBL leader boards. Brian explained that you can “splice it up, chop it up, slide cameras around and zoom in”. You can even add your own music clips to the video to make it that much more funky. That’s pretty awesome.
Storyline writing is also an important factor in the game development and Brian advised that they “hired someone with loose ties to the skating industry” to work on the games’ storyline development and then brought everything back in-house to fit into the frame of the project.
On discussing the success of the franchise and how Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground stacks up against previous titles, Brian was adamant that Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground is “the best by far” and that they worked an extra six months to get the game to the standard they were aiming for.
We couldn’t resist asking how much input Tony Hawk actually has in the development of the game. Whilst Tony Hawk doesn’t spend every day in the office, he “comes in several times a year to check on the project” and offers input, especially on the motion capture side of things to add that much more realism to the way the game is being developed.
When asked if Brian actually manages to get some time alone himself on the skate ramp that Neversoft have set up out the back, he admitted that “I try… when nobody else is around”. Well, regardless of how much raw skating skill Brian Bright may or may not have, Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground sounds like it’s going to be an awesome game for skating enthusiasts and anyone who is a fan of the franchise. Good enough for me to start thinking about investing in a new board myself? Hmm… perhaps. I’ll check out the game first and then decide, Virtual skating seems a helluva lot less painful.
Thanks to Hitesh at Softprint for organising the time with Brian Bright from Neversoft.