Before Black, before Burnout 2, British developers Criterion were working with EA on something very dear to my heart: a new Skate or Die game.
The project, which never saw the light of day, originated back in 2002, EA impressed with the team's work on hoverboard racer Trickstyle.
"In Tony Hawk you were always on the board and it was all about tricks and high scores, but I wanted to explore what it was like to just go out for a skate and have that feeling of just doing whatever you want", explains Criterion's Craig Sullivan. "There was that experience from when I went skating in real life that just wasn't captured in videogames. I wanted to be able to get off the board – this was way back in 2002."
Things didn't exactly work out as planned, though. "We were told ‘you can't just make a Tony Hawk game – it's got to be like GTA,' and that was the first time we were like, ‘Really?' ‘It's got to be open world.' Well, what does that mean? Nobody really knew."
So no game. Things went bad between EA and Criterion, threats were made, and it's only now, eight years later, that things are cool again, Criterion hard at work on a new entry in EA's Need For Speed series.
Kind of creepy that Criterion's game sounds a lot like what we eventually got with EA's Skate series. But it's obviously for the best, as a Skate or Die game without Rodney Dangerfield isn't a Skate or Die game at all.