There should be a “probably” in the title there somewhere. Why? Because according to Activision man Dan Amrich, the newly announced Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD will “probably” not feature the same soundtrack as Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 and/or 2. And while there surely are a myriad of reasons why this could be, licensing would be the main one.
“Music licensing is a one-time deal,” writes Amrich. “The songs from the original games were only licensed for those specific games on those specific platforms at that specific time,” adding, “from a legal/licensing standpoint, they are back to square one.”
Recently, the Tony Hawk franchise has devolved with every iteration rather than the opposite. Going back to basics and what made the series so popular was the right decision, if arguably a bit too late, which remains to be seen. The tracks and gameplay were two factors that made Pro Skater 1 and 2 great, but there’s no denying that without a kick-ass soundtrack to accompany every skater in their quest in making the most outrageous tricks and stunts imaginable, the games would’ve been… different. More interestingly, most of the bands involved were relatively new in the business or not that mainstream at the time. Exposing their music through this medium could’ve made a big difference, and in quite a few cases did, too.
Adds Amrich, “consider that the THPS series was famous helping break new bands on its soundtracks; the reason a lot of these songs are such a strong part of people’s memories — beyond sheer repetition during gameplay! — is that THPS is the game that introduced you to that song or that artist.”
And that’s why not including the original soundtracks from the original games might not be such a bad idea after all. Like Amrich puts it, “they are back to square one,” which means there’s a great opportunity for developer/publisher and bands alike to do the same thing they did over a decade ago.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD will be priced at under $20 and released as a downloadable title in “Summer time.” Prediction: It’ll sell more than the last five iterations put together.