WP: What's it like going back to the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater so many years after it hit the original PlayStation? It's got to be like coming back home or something.
Tony Hawk: It is! It's very exciting because obviously, it's our first game, but if you think about how far the technology has come and how much better the graphics and motion are, it's kind of like starting over. If you want to take a frame grab from our first game and compare it to this game and the same level and the same trick, it's worlds away. I'm very excited to bring that type of gameplay to the new generation but also to the people who were fans of the original series and are still playing games.
WP: How has skating changed over the years since the original Tony Hawk game was released?
TH: Skating has gotten much more popular. It's much — I don't want to say mainstream, but definitely way more participants, much more appreciation from the general public. The skating itself has evolved. Skating always evolves — I mean, that's what I've always loved about it. If you look at the tricks that we were doing in the initial release of our game and the tricks that are available now, it's pretty amazing.
WP: In talking about that, the new game engines can handle better physics, better realism. How has that changed how you look at the games? Does it still feel like a toy or a simulator?
TH: It feels more like a simulator for sure. The action feels more real. The crashes feel more real, and the precision is amazing. If you really look at the graphics in the original series, it was much more blocky. We took it for granted because that's all we had and we were making the best of it, but now, it's so precise, and the analog controls are that much better. I feel like people are going to appreciate their talents more.
WP: As a professional skater, when you sit down and look at a game, what is it about video games that frustrates you? What limitations has technology not yet been able to overcome?
TH: Honestly, with this and the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, there's not a lot that we have imagined that we can't do now. It's just a matter of taking advantage of the architecture.
WP: With Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD, what's the one thing that really stands out to you that fans are going to pick up when they sit down and play it?
TH: Well, I think they're going to love that we have included some of the favorite levels, including Warehouse, School 2, Venice and other places. To be honest, the thing I'm most excited about is that the online era has finally come of age, and this is going to be downloadable only, and we want to keep releasing new levels and new options for the game right online. We've never had that option before.
WP: Speaking of levels, obviously as Tony Hawk, you get your say. What are your personal favorite levels over the years in all the Tony Hawk games?
TH: My favorite? Honestly, it's not one of the most popular, but Downhill Jam. It was the first one that we did that had more of a start-to-finish feel on it, and it was more of a challenge to stay up in the level and to finish the timeout. Between that, definitely Warehouse, and I would like to eventually release Tokyo because I feel people didn't understand how deep that whole level went and all the options that were way high in the grinding areas.
WP: Is there anything that we haven't talked about that you wanted to add?
TH: I'm back. We're excited!
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