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Activate 2007: Neversoft Interview
Post by Steve Farrelly @ 04:28pm 18/09/07 | Comments
AusGamers goes head to head with Neversoft's Chad Findley to talk all things Tony Hawk...

Activision were nice enough to give AusGamers some time with Neversoft's Chad Findley to grill him about Tony Hawk's Proving Ground (click here to download the trailer).

AG: You guys, arguably, started the dual analogue control system that EA’s skate. has now implemented into their game, with the ‘Nail-the-Trick’ mode, and we’re not sure what your policy on talking about the competition is, but can you foresee a time where Neversoft might progress in the same area?

Chad Findley: Well, I’m not gonna talk about their game at all (laughs), but the way we approach every iteration of the series in terms of control scheme is we look what is the most fun for the people out there who enjoy our game, and we try a lot of different things, but in the end we settle on what we feel is the most fun way to do it, which is why that particular set-up [Nail-the-Trick] has ended up that way, but we’ve expanded upon that this game as well with the new manual and grab versions of it.

AG: Are you worried at all this time that you might be layering too much upon it? Do you think the learning curve will be an issue, or do you think the franchise has enough strength that people will just learn how to deal with it regardless?

Tony Hawk's Proving Ground
Chad Findley: Well the whole thing with Proving Ground is that you basically choose to play the game the way you want to. So there are people out there who like Nail-the-Trick, and there are people out there who like other parts of the game. So that’s why we did it this way, you know, for the people out there who like Nail-the-Trick, we’ve expanded it for them so they have more to do with it, and honestly we also did it to have a deeper system, you know I’m a fan of Nail-the-Trick and so it feels really good to me to not just have the one focus, but to have these three parts of the one system combined; Nail-the-Manual, Nail-the-Grab and Nail-the-Trick. But again, if you don’t want to do any of the Nail-the stuff, you don’t have to, that’s the beauty of our design.

AG: Will we see more rewards for those who want to play everything the game has to offer?

Chad Findley: Well, there’s really two different ways to finish our game, kinda. One is to finish the story, and we don’t necessarily reward the player for doing everything because we really only want the player to play the game they want to as I mentioned earlier, so we don’t wanna make you feel like you’re not doing something right. Once you finish the story though, you will have a bunch of other stuff you can do that you will get rewarded for doing – there are some uber-goals that unlock once you finish the game, and you’ll have more access to mechanics and money etc, etc.

AG: Will we see new DLC to add to elements such as the video-editor?

Tony Hawk's Proving Ground
Chad Findley: For this version no. What we wanted to do with this one was focus on giving you that one complete package. Who knows down the line for other versions of it, but for now it’s what it is.

AG: With talking about “down the line”, obviously you guys are always thinking about the next one, things you can add, that sort of thing – is there anything you omitted from this version you wish you could have left in there?

Chad Findley: (Long pause) There are a couple of story angles that we yanked simply because they didn’t seem to work, I can’t remember what they were, but honestly, there wasn’t anything major that we yanked from the game, all the important stuff is in there.

AG: Have you ever thought about just dumping the idea of a story line and going back to the pure skating roots of the originals?

Chad Findley: Yeah, every year. Every year we just sort of say “what if just make THPS2 again?”, and we pro and con it and we kind of put the idea out there, but the community is so fickle it’s hard to please every one, but I’m not going to say we won’t ever do that at some point, it’s just now and since that game it hasn’t ever been the right time to go back.

AG: We think it should be an MMO…

Chad Findley: (Busts out laughing) We’ve had that discussion (still chuckling), and you know what, if we get enough people online on the consoles that would partake in it, then I think you’ll see it at that point. We looked at the figures and currently their not at a point yet where we can take it that way, but it’s definitely something we can’t rule out for the future.

AG: How difficult does it become to narrow down the core spot? Everyone is so passionate about their most beloved skate spots, how difficult is it every year to decide where the game is going to take place? You know, and a good example is that when you guys added Bondi to THUG, literally a few months later they’d built an awesome skatepark there that should have been in the game…

Tony Hawk's Proving Ground
Chad Findley: That’s actually pretty funny, because, well, it’s a long process and usually what we do is we come up with a huge list of basically every possible location for the next game and then we sit down as a team and we kind of narrow it down and then we send our designers and artists out to the locations to research them; you know find out which pros came from there, which spots are famous for what and then we sit down as a team again and we start picking through it all based on the direction we want to take the game. But it’s difficult because we’ve had locations change on us before…

AG: Are you already thinking about locations for the next game? Any aspirations you can share?

Chad Findley: No, sorry (laughs), we can’t talk about that right now…

AG: Damn, well thanks for your time Chad.

Chad Findley: No problem.