Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater made an absolutely smashing comeback to next-gen consoles a few months back. Of course, that got me thinking about many of the other extreme sports gems that never quite made it to remaster status. The SSX franchise, for example? Has anybody heard from EA Big since they abandoned the much-loved snowboarding series? Are we ever likely to see a comeback from the triple-A studio? And, what about the rest of the worthy games that defined our younger years? Seems like a wasted opportunity, doesn’t it?
Sadly, many original studios would’ve been closed or spread out to various factions since publishing said games. After all, not every developer can stay afloat in this day and age where competition is definitely tight. That being said, in our perfect dream world, we’d love to see a few of these symbolisms of childhood make a return to the big screen in stunning 4K.
It’s time to go big or go home!
5. Tony Hawk’s Underground
The first chapter to the Underground series was a major turning point in the Tony Hawk skateboarding series. While keeping most of the outrageous tricks and ludicrous lines that made Pro Skater iconic — Underground homed a genuine story with charming cameos and captivating twists. Plus, as the first entry in the franchise to break away from the mindless skating without reason algorithm, Tony Hawk’s Underground did a remarkable job at introducing new and exciting elements to the skateboarding scene.
Tony Hawk’s Underground was actually a lot of fun, and being able to work our way from rags to riches on a skating journey like no other was overall a memorable tour. Cities were fleshed-out with endless opportunities, and each chapter found ways to bring something new to the table every time. Combine these with a standard Tony Hawk’s soundtrack and you’ve got yourself a worthy entry. We’d just love to see it adapted to 2021 graphics.
4. Matt Hoffman’s Pro BMX
Tearing away from four wheels and a concrete jungle of quarter pipes for a second, and we’re quickly finding ourselves locked on to the skateboarding counterpart. BMX games. Haven’t seen many of those floating about, have we? We can’t honestly say why aspiring developers aren’t overly keen to resurrect the extreme sport in glorious high-definition — but we think it’s long overdue.
As one of the most iconic faces to oversee the BMX world, it only made sense that Matt Hoffman would go on to plaster the sport in a video game format. While not reaching as high as the Tony Hawk franchise, it definitely made a splash within the extreme sports community thanks to its addictive level design and fast-paced trick mechanics. Plus, the soundtrack alone makes this gem shine just that little bit brighter. If only we could hit the pedal for the second time in 2021.
3. Downhill Domination
While staying on the topic of biking, it seems only right that we include a downhill entry. Now, there isn’t a great deal of these on the market, and other than 2019’s Descenders — the catalogue isn’t actually that jampacked. Of course, that sort of makes my job a little bit easier. Even still, Downhill Domination is definitely worthy of a place on this list for its fantastic, albeit slightly exaggerated portrayal of mountain biking. Just look at the thumbnail above, for example. It’s not every day you can race a galloping horse down a death-defying summit.
Downhill Domination, although proving to be a success within the PlayStation 2 market, was a very short-lived entry to the genre. It never quite made enough of a dent to make a comeback in later years — and we truly do believe a remake is well in order. But hey, with Incognito Entertainment defunct since 2009 — those hopes might just be diminished. Sad times.
2. SSX Tricky
EA Big often struggled to try and recapture the same level of appeal with their sequels — and that’s essentially what led to the studio being abandoned by 2008. SSX Tricky, although one of the many fantastic originals, is what put the all-star developer in the spotlight during the early 2000s. Sadly, even when trying to branch out to incorporate skiing as well as snowboarding, SSX never quite amassed the ideal figures that EA Big seriously hoped for.
Anyway, SSX Tricky was and still is considered to be the best snowboarding game ever produced. Why? Well, we can only put it down to the number of memorable courses, tricks and characters, of course. Everything about the game screamed simple yet addictive fun — and nothing else has managed to match that after twenty years. SSX Tricky, of all extreme sports games out there, is definitely in need of some updates. A twentieth anniversary remaster, perhaps? Are you listening, EA?
1. Skate 3
Of all the skateboarding games out there, EA’s Skate definitely earned the highest marks for realism alone. Unlike the Tony Hawk’s series, where the only boundary is your creativity, Skate follows a more simplistic tone, where every trick requires a certain level of skill and patience. Skate overemphasized the fact that no sport can be picked up in a day or two, and that every line can take hundreds of attempts to perfect. It’s because of that, that executing a trick in Skate made us players feel a whole lot more accomplished. And, although every entry on the series is worthy of a crown — we think Skate 3 compiles the most fun in one game.
Whether you’re throwing yourself off of skyscrapers in an attempt to shatter your bones, or just laying down a new line in the bowls of Port Carverton — Skate 3 always manages to immerse us in the underground world of the sport. Even though Skate is available on the market as a PS3 or Xbox 360 title — we’d still love to see a return on next-gen consoles. One day, perhaps.