Tony Hawk Games In Order

The Tony Hawk video game series got its start in 1999, back when Neversoft was still the developer. The early games were praised for featuring tight controls, satisfying trick systems, and a host of secret unlockable characters.

Over the years, the franchise has switched hands numerous times, resulting in a noticeable dip in quality during specific eras. That said, the core gameplay loop has mainly remained the same: hop on a skateboard, chain together different tricks, and explore levels while playing as a variety of professional skaters.

Following the release of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2, we thought we’d cover the skateboarding series’ entire history.

Here, we’ll be listing all of the Tony Hawk games in order of release date, including the main Pro Skater series along with any spin-offs and remakes.

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Initially released for the PS1, the first THPS managed to kickflip its way into players’ homes for what would become the start of an extreme sports video game revolution. From the moment he heard the pitch, Tony Hawk was on board and played a significant role in the game’s development as both a consultant and game tester.

At the time, Neversoft was facing hard times. The studio was on the brink of shuttering its doors and desperately needed a win. They crunched hard, pouring all their blood, sweat, and tears into the project to deliver one of the best games of the generation.

Their hard work would pay off in the end as THPS1 sold well and was praised by critics for its creative design, engaging gameplay, bombastic soundtrack, and authentic depiction of skater culture. While the physics are a bit wonky by today’s standards, they were quite remarkable at the time.

For their next game, Neversoft tried to take everything that worked in THPS and make it slightly better while introducing some fun new features. The most significant change was the addition of a new level-editor that let players craft their very own skate parks using in-game assets.

And just like the first game, THPS2 was accompanied by a fantastic soundtrack that doubled down on the franchise’s affinity for punk skater culture. It ended up having a massive impact on pop culture in general. More specifically, it helped usher in a skateboarding renaissance that spread across all forms of media.

After two critically-acclaimed commercial successes, it was starting to feel like Neversoft was on a hot streak, prompting Activision to give them a bigger budget for THPS3. Much to no one’s surprise, the game ended up being a smash-hit that, yet again, resonated with both fans and critics.

While far from the most innovative entry in the series, THPS3 looked better, controlled smoother, and introduced some of the most iconic levels in the series’ history, including standout stages like Suburbia and Tokyo. It also helped that the soundtrack was just as good as its predecessors.

While THPS3 eventually made its way to the original Xbox, it wasn’t ready in time to be included in the console’s launch lineup. In order to make up for the delay, Activision enlisted Treyarch to create an Xbox exclusive version of last year’s game titled THPS2X.

Unlike most rereleases at the time, THPS2X kept most of the content from the original game while adding new career modes, levels, multiplayer support, visual effects, and a host of QoL improvements. A balance meter was added for grind tricks, and for the first time, players were able to create a custom female skater.

By 2002, Neversoft had hit their stride and was preparing to release the next new entry in the series. Having nailed down the controls, graphics, and gameplay, the developer shifted their focus towards experimenting with their existing systems in THPS4.

This resulted in an overhaul of the combo system, granting players more air time to pull off tricks and leaning even further into the franchise’s hyper-realistic depiction of skateboarding. It was accompanied by some of the best levels in the series, ‘Alcatraz’ and ‘College,’ which benefited from removing the timer in Career mode.

The next entry would serve as a soft reboot for the series as Neversoft doubled down on over-the-top combo mechanics in Tony Hawk’s Underground. The game featured several ambitious new features that were previously unheard of in extreme sports titles.

This included a full-length story campaign centered on a player-created character and their quest to become a professional skater. For the first time in the series, players could dismount their skateboards and explore sandbox levels on-foot.

Underground‘s tremendous success would naturally result in a direct sequel, THUG2, released the following year. In it, players set off on a globetrotting ‘World Destruction Tour’ accompanied by Bam Margera and other members of the Jackass TV show. It featured even more ridiculous combos and stunts than the original.

Despite its over-the-top premise, the game went over great with fans. At the same time, some critics took issue with its blatant attempt at emulating the Jackass formula. That said, THUG2 is considered one of the best entries in the series and was a major technical achievement for Neversoft and extreme sports video games.

Never one to leave free money on the table, Activision tried to milk THUG2 for as much as possible. Enter in THUG2: Remix, a handheld port of the console game released for the PlayStation Portable. It was pretty much the same as the original but featured some additional levels and characters.

Many of them were callbacks to high points throughout the series’ history, with levels like ‘School,’ ‘Downhill Jam,’ and ‘Airport’ making an appearance. The exclusive new levels included ‘Santa Cruz,’ ‘Atlanta,’ ‘Kyoto,’ and ‘Las Vegas.’ Lastly, the Create-a-park mode was scrapped, and support for wireless multiplayer was added.

Frequently cited as the beginning of Neversoft’s downfall, American Wasteland tried to strike a balance between the silliness of THUG and the grittiness of THPS to deliver a traditional Tony Hawk experience. The game’s biggest selling point was its seamless open-world, which let players travel from one end of the map to the other seamlessly in real-time.

Unfortunately, it didn’t really have much else going for it. BMX bikes were introduced as a new vehicle type but paled compared to the selection offered by THUG and THUG2. After making seven Tony Hawk games, it was clear that Neversoft had run out of ideas on innovating the series going forward.

A port of THAW would come to handhelds that same year in American Sk8land, released for Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS. Developed by Vicarious Visions, the game featured cel-shaded graphics along with many of the environments and characters from the console version.

In the DS version, players could use the bottom screen to see an overview of the area they were skating in, perform tricks easily using tappable icons, and create custom art for their skateboard deck. Interestingly, American Sk8land was the first third-party DS title to support online multiplayer.

For the next game, Activision tapped developer Toys for Bob to create a Tony Hawk spin-off for the Nintendo Wii. While Downhill Jam is technically part of the series, the lack of Neversoft involvement resulted in it playing very differently compared to previous outings.   

Setting aside the free-roaming gameplay the franchise was known for, Downhill Jam features linear levels where the goal is to keep moving forward as you perform tricks and race against opponents. It was the first Tony Hawk game to introduce a combat system, unless you count throwing tomatoes at people in THUG2.

Launching within the same year as Downhill Jam, Project 8 sought to breathe new life into the franchise, which by this point had grown stale. Neversoft was back in the driver’s seat and this time around wanted to get things right. They started by rebuilding the series from the ground up with improved physics, controls, and overall gameplay.

The most significant addition was a new ‘Nail-The-Trick’ mechanic, a mini-game in which players used the left and right joysticks to try and pull off a ‘perfect’ trick mid-air. Despite mostly good reviews, Project 8 ended up being a commercial failure, signaling that the franchise had lost most of its momentum.

Serving as the last Tony Hawk installment developed by Neversoft, Proving Ground sees you charting a course for skateboarding hall of fame as an original character that gets taken under the wing of notable pros. The game introduced a new progression system that revolved around upgrading skills across three specializations: Career, Hardcore, and Rigger.

It was intended to help players develop their own unique playstyle but didn’t quite hit the mark. Despite featuring some of the series’s biggest levels to date, many of which were integrated from previous games, Proving Ground received mixed to negative reviews.

With Neversoft out of the picture, Activision enlisted Creat Studios to design a Tony Hawk game for the Nintendo DS to take advantage of the handheld’s motion controls. In order to change the direction you were moving or spin in the air, players had to physically tilt the DS left or right.

As you can imagine, the entire experience left something to be desired. While the controls were awkward enough, there was also the issue of the game’s hardware. Motion required you to insert an accelerometer add-on cartridge into your Nintendo DS’s GBA slot, severely limiting the number of DS models compatible with the game.

By this point, it was clear the series had fallen on tough times. Activision didn’t seem to mind, as they continued tapping developers to create increasingly soulless cash-grabs that relied entirely on brand recognition and awkward gimmicks.

Created by Robomodo, Tony Hawk: Ride did away with traditional controllers in favor of a skateboard peripheral that would control your character’s movement. While there was some novelty to the design concept, many players found it overly complicated and uncomfortable to use for extended periods.

Another year, another blatant attempt at cashing in on the Tony Hawk name for Activision. Robomodo’s next game would basically be the same as Ride but swap out skateboarding for snowboarding. It was also accompanied by a new snowboard peripheral, which admittedly worked much better than the previous game’s.

However, this was mainly due to how differently movement works on a snowboard compared to a skateboard. Despite these slight improvements, Tony Hawk: Shred was seen as a disgrace to the series’ legacy, which by now had become a shadow of its former self.

Undoubtedly feeling the pressure from fans, Activision enlisted Robomodo to create a high-definition remake of THPS1 and THPS2 for the Xbox 360 and PS3. While it wasn’t without its flaws, the game managed to recreate the older games’ feeling while adding updated graphics and controls.

At the very least, Pro Skater HD was a step in the right direction that proved there was still hope for the franchise’s future. Interestingly enough, THPS1 and THPS2 would be remade again by a different developer eight years after Robomodo’s game’s release.

We’ve finally arrived at arguably the worst entry in the series, the game that tarnished the Tony Hawk name and forced Activision to shelve the franchise, at least temporarily. Released for the Xbox One and PS4, THPS5 touted itself as a return to form for the series, despite being developed by Robomodo and not Neversoft.

As you would expect, fans caught on rather quickly. The ‘back to basics’ design was less of an attempt to start over and more of an excuse for Robomodo to skimp out on a story mode and several other features that, by this point, had become series staples. From its uninspired combo system to its paltry level selection, THPS5 was by all accounts, bad.

The failure that was THPS5 resulted in Activision letting the rights to the name expire shortly after the game’s release. Some years later, developer and publisher Maple Media would step in to create Tony Hawk’s Skate Jam, a mobile game for iOS and Android devices.

Although it was basically an upgraded version of Maple Media’s previous title, Skateboard Party, which itself was inspired by the THPS series, it also had a lot going for it. Gameplay was streamlined to feel satisfying while using touch controls, and a Career mode provided 15 unique levels to skate around as you reminisced about playing classic Tony Hawk.

They say time heals all wounds; well, that definitely appears to be the case when it comes to Activision’s rocky relationship with Tony Hawk fans. Eight years after Robomodo’s Pro Skater HD release, the publisher tapped Vicarious Visions to work on a second remake of the first two games.

THPS 1+2 includes every level from both games, all stunningly recreated from the ground up using high-quality assets. The remake also incorporates tricks from later entries, such as reverts, spine transfers, and wall plants. The game currently stands as the fastest-selling entry in the franchise, selling 1 million copies within the first two weeks.

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Justin Fernandez
Justin Fernandez

As a fan of both indie and triple-A games, Justin finds joy in discovering and sharing hidden gems with other passionate gamers. In addition to reporting on the latest and greatest titles, he manages GamingScan’s social media channels.

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