Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 are considered some of the best skateboarding games out there but at one point Hawk nearly backed a completely different skating game before finally signing with Activision. In an interview on The Diary of a CEO podcast Hawk was asked if there were ever any “close calls” when signing a deal with Activision. Hawk revealed that he had almost chosen to endorse a more technically challenging game before Activision even offered anything.
There was another group doing a game that had contacted me and I went down the road with them a little bit, I realised that what they were trying to do was so much more, it was more technically difficult to play because they were trying to truly emulate skating… I felt like I understood that approach, but at the same time skating wasn’t that big when we released this game or when we were going to release this game, and I wanted something that would be more friendly to the non-skater to play, to understand, to be able to just pick up and start doing tricks.Tony Hawk
However, when Activision presented a demo of a title that would later come to be known as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater Hawk was convinced to side with the Call of Duty publisher. Hawk described Activision’s vision of what the finished game would look like as “perfect.”
When I saw what Activision had, they had a very early version of a skater doing tricks, the way it moved, and to me it was intuitive, it was perfect, it was like right away I started playing it, I started doing tricks, it was almost like it was it was an extension of my body to start doing this on that screen with that skater, and something innately felt right about it to me.Tony Hawk
Hawk also noted that if Activision had “called me [Hawk] a month or two later, I might have already inked a deal, so um, but I felt very lucky.” With the game receiving positive preview coverage Activision originally presented Hawk with a $500,000 buy-out of royalties from the series. Hawk said that his decision to turn down the offer was “the best financial decision of my life” as the game generated over $1 billion in sales. While the recent remake of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2 received a positive reception with over one million sales in its first two weeks Hawk claimed that Activision Blizzard threw away any plans for a similar remake of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3 and 4 after Vicarious Visions merged with Blizzard Entertainment.