Sports & Gaming

An Inside Look: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater

Tony Hawk

Lesson time 3:55 min

Find out how Tony created the iconic video game Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and how it changed skateboarding.

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Topics include: An Inside Look: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater


TONY HAWK: The very beginning of what became Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was Activision calling me, because they had heard that I was pitching a video game to different developers. And they said, hey, we heard you're trying to work on a video game. We're actually doing a video game with skateboarding, and we'd like to see if you want to be involved. And I went up to Activision. They handed me a Playstation controller. They had a bunch of suits in this meeting in a conference room. On the screen was Bruce Willis with a gun strapped to his back on a skateboard skating through a desert landscape. And I started controlling him and doing tricks and doing ollies and doing kickflips. And I just immediately sensed that this it. This was the control scheme. It was intuitive. It was fun, even though I was just doing basic tricks on the ground. And the reason it was Bruce Willis is because Activision had just done a game called Apocalypse, and Bruce Willis was the star of it. And so I realized right then that with my resources, with my experience, with my connections, we can make this something that the skaters would really like. And I basically signed on right then. [MUSIC PLAYING] NARRATOR: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. Now everyone thinks they can skate like Tony. - By the time the game was set to come out, Activision had offered me a buyout of future royalties. Substantial amount. The kind of money I never heard anyone speak to me. They're like, we want to give you a half a million dollars. I was like, a half million at that time in my life sounded like someone said a trillion billion dollars. That seemed absurd. And I had just hit a stride in my skating again where I was doing pretty well with royalties. I was doing pretty well with competition. And I had just bought a pretty nice house, and I thought, I don't really need that kind of money right now. And I'd rather let this ride and see what happens. And I mean, at that time, it seemed crazy that I would do that. It was the best financial decision I made in my life for sure. When the game came out, it was a big success critically. It was a pretty big success in sales but not massive. But they immediately started working on the second one. And when we got to work on the second one, I knew we had something that was beyond just skating. It was something that video game players actually enjoyed. And when the second one came out, that's when everything changed. Because the second one got, I mean, it's one of the best reviewed video games of all time. Suddenly we had a franchise. And suddenly people were picking up skateboards because they played a video game. And that was not something I expected. I expected that this game would inspire skaters to buy video game systems because they want to emulate. They wanted to do tricks that they wished they could do in real life. And then suddenly there was this massive shift where video gamers or people that just are kind of curious about...

About the Instructor

A pro at 14 and the first to land a 900 at the X Games, Tony Hawk is one of the most influential skateboarders of all time. Now he’s helping you take your skateboarding to the next level. Joined by pros Lizzie Armanto and Riley Hawk, Tony teaches you beginner, intermediate, and advanced tricks in street, park, and vert. Learn how to push yourself, get up when you fall, and find your own style. Start reaching new heights.

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Tony Hawk

Legendary skateboarder Tony Hawk teaches you how to take your skateboarding to the next level, whether you’re a beginner or a pro.

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