Yes, Tony Hawk 'would love to' have a Facebook game [Interview]

tony hawkTony Hawk isn't just a skateboarding legend, he's also a thrifty entrepreneur. From his professional skateboarding career, to his clothing brand, to his eponymous game franchise (including the new Tony Hawk Shred), the man has made the name Tony Hawk synonymous with skateboarding the world over.

So where does a man -- seemingly at the peak of his career -- go from there? In a recent interview at a swanky NYC hotel, Hawk details the possible social gaming future of his game series, his interest in Microsoft's hands-free gaming peripheral, and his desire to introduce younger fans to his oldest -- and most beloved -- games that bear his name.

Do you think the Tony Hawk game series could make its way to Facebook or other social applications? Are you interested in exploring that segment of the market?

I would love to. I think maybe the first step of that was when we released Pro Skater 2 for iPhone and iPod Touch. I would love to port more of those games -- that would be amazing. Because I feel like you have a whole new experience with handheld devices and PDAs/Smartphones ... whatever you wanna call them. We just have to find the right partnership.

There's a lot of love for older games in the Tony Hawk series that you share enthusiasm for. Is there any possibility of seeing those games moving to more social mediums or Facebook?

Yeah, there's definitely interest. To be honest, that's more Activision's call. I try to move it as far as I can or, you know, push them in that direction. When the iPhone stuff came out, it was me knocking on the door like, "Hey, these guys, they can do it." There was this underground video that went out that they ended up taking off the web for awhile because Activision asked them to -- 'cause they just did it on their own. But I saw it when it came out and I said, "You guys gotta get on this. We gotta do this." And obviously there's a lot of legalities and licensing things, and it took a long time, but we did it.

We have such a great backlog of games that are prime to be on different platforms -- like social networks, or mobile devices -- I would go there first instead of creating something new for those platforms. Because there is a deep-rooted love for those games and people like to be nostalgic like that.

What's the next step for the Tony Hawk series? You've said the board peripheral was meant to make the game more realistic and immersive -- any interest in working with Microsoft's Kinect or Sony's PlayStation Move?

I really felt like that was the only way to make it more immersive, was to do something more physical. To stand on it. I had really shied away from that in previous years because I didn't feel like the technology was ready. It was just too clunky and weird. Then when I saw the whole advent of accelerometers and Wii Remotes and sensors -- I knew. And also the success of Guitar Hero was the big thing for me, because I felt like "We have the technology, but are people really going to buy a peripheral for a game?" And it works! Last year, kids really embraced this. And we've really tuned it up so it's more responsive, the software works better with the hardware this time around. And I'm really excited we can still make games for this.

And Kinect, I played it recently. I'm interested in it. There's a part of me that feels like skating is a little too intricate for that system, because I have played it and I see what it senses, but maybe there's a way to combine them, which would be amazing. Right now, the board is sensing all the motion and it's sensing if you're getting near it, but it's not sensing what your upper body is doing way up here, which is exactly what Kinect could do. So there's a lot of possibilities.

And you, as a gamer, what are you most interested in? Are you more of a social gamer or a console gamer?

I'm more interested in consoles. I'm more interested in utilizing the latest hardware to its fullest extent, and definitely things like this. Not in "gimmick" mode, but different ways to use the technology and have a more interactive experience with the game.

Is there anything you personally want fans to know about Tony Hawk Shred?

I think they don't realize just how far we've come with the controls. A lot of people assume if they had trouble with the controls before, how could it be any different? It's the same hardware. But, the way that the software and the hardware communicate, we've really tightened up and really made up a literally one-to-one turning ratio. I'm just really excited for people to get their hands on it and check it out.
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