A couple of weeks ago, Activision announced the first two Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater games were getting remastered and were set to release on September 4th, 2020. Like many 20-something-year-olds, I was ecstatic and proceeded to watch the trailer multiple times in a row with my mouth wide open, remembering the parks, skaters, and yes, of course, the amazing soundtrack. And then there was the realization that Activision had decided to only release the remaster on PlayStation 4, Windows PC, and Xbox One – with no mention of Google Stadia. But I think, just maybe, there is hope.
First of all, Stadia is the perfect platform to take advantage of the remastered, enhanced graphics with 4K resolution and 60 FPS. Vicarious Visions, the studio who remastered the first three Crash Bandicoot games in 2017, is working on the Tony Hawk remaster and is focused on modern animation that feels familiar to past players. In an interview with Polygon, Vicarious Visions studio head Jen Oneal said, “We dug into Neversoft’s codebase we were able to pull the handling code out of there, bring it into the engine that we’re in now and update it to make sure that we are making that feel exactly the way you remember it but updated with modern animation. It just looks incredibly smooth and the fidelity is fantastic.” So why not take advantage of Google’s streaming power and get the highest quality possible with Stadia’s powerful servers?
Clearly, Stadia is capable of handling the THPS remaster, but the real issue lies in licensing. At this point, Activision doesn’t have any titles on Stadia but Activision Blizzard has recently signed a deal with Google that promises to “usher in a new era of gaming experiences.” The multi-year deal makes Google Cloud the preferred cloud provider and YouTube the exclusive live esports streaming destination.
In the midst of this, Activision has pulled some pretty big titles from GeForce Now due to end-user licensing agreements, as reported by Chrome Unboxed. The whole mix-up sounds like a miscommunication, but at the end of the day, it means the door has been left open for Google to step in and offer a streaming solution.
I want to be clear: there hasn’t been any official news saying that Activision Blizzard is even talking with Google about bringing any titles to Stadia, which would include the THPS remaster, but the synergy has me optimistic that maybe future deals are on the horizon. Google is primed and ready to deliver a next-gen gaming experience, they just need the titles. Here is to hoping that one of those will be the remastered Tony’s Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 and 2.