It’s hard to imagine that it was almost ten years ago that Tony Hawk was one of the hottest video game properties on the market. The franchise continued to sell well enough as it veered away from numbered sequels and adopted a variety of suffixes, such as Underground and American Wasteland.
Unfortunately, by the time the current generation rolled around, it had become apparent that Tony Hawk’s video games weren’t quite living up to the performance of their predecessors, due in no small part to dwindling consumer interest.
Now, Activision Blizzard believes it has the answer. Its newest skateboarding title is set to reinvigorate the brand and the genre. In a world becoming increasingly fond of immersive peripherals, it should come as no surprise that Tony Hawk: Ride takes the action away from fiddly controls and into motion control.
The game comes bundled with a unique skateboarding peripheral. Built to replicate Tony’s favoured mode of transportation – minus the wheels – this calculates how the player’s weight and position shifts and translates this information into in-game movement. In this way, gamers can recreate the moves of their favourite pro-skaters – without breaking their neck in the process.
ACROSS THE ‘BOARD
“Tony Hawk: Ride is set to reinvigorate the franchise as it introduces a new exciting skateboard peripheral to the market,” says brand manager Natalie Giles. “The board has been designed and developed exclusively, to provide gamers with a highly interactive and new way to interact with their skating game.
“It’s a very social experience, which offers players the opportunity to build skating skills and recreate tricks like the pros with their friends and family. We’re committed to making this title a family favourite this Christmas – especially when dad showcases his skating skills.”
While it may look daunting to anyone that can’t even stand on a skateboard without losing any sense of balance, Tony Hawk: Ride has been developed to be accessible to everyone.
The flat board makes it comfortable, the wireless connection allows more freedom and the lack of the complex button combinations the series is known for makes it easy for anyone to pull of the coolest tricks.
Pro-skater fans will still be treated with the in-depth challenges they have enjoyed from previous Tony Hawk titles, tapping into their competitive side with a range of trick, vert and speed modes.
However, families are also catered for with a selection of multiplayer modes – many of which feature ‘hot seat’ gameplay, whereby players take it in turns to top each others scores.
The trade has been keeping an eye on this since it was first unveiled earlier this year, and Activision says support from the High Street has been strong.
“Retail demand for the title in other launch markets has been high,” says Giles. “Retailers have confidence in the product proposition due to the unique, social experience which both the game and the peripheral offer.”
TICKET TO RIDE
Activision has prepared an extensive marketing campaign to herald Tony Hawk’s return to glory, raising awareness of Ride’s unique features by demonstrating the peripheral through a variety of media:
– There will be a strong four-week online campaign for Tony Hawk: Ride, targeting the game’s core audience of nine to 14-year-old boys. This will be supported by an aggressive PR campaign.
– A three-week TV campaign will begin on December 1st, showing off the skateboard and its potential.
– The game has been travelling to several consumer events since October 21st, and will continue to be sampled until mid-December. It is scheduled to appear at such shows as London Freeze and the Metro Ski and Snowboard Show, as well as Activision’s national retail shopping centre tour.
– Tony Hawk: Ride will have a strong in-store presence, with plenty of POS that showcases the skateboard peripheral and in-store demos arranged at key outlets.