Woah there, Tony. It’s barely been six months since Project 8 hit, and the Hawk series is back with a feature-packed revamp that’s primed to make the world’s premier skating series soar again - and potentially derail EA’s impressive new rival Skate.
Development began on Proving Ground while Project 8 was only partially complete. It is, once again, a seamless world, but broken up into three distinct districts, based on Washington DC, Philadelphia and Baltimore City. Doesn’t sound like much? Well, just to give you an idea of the scale, Washington alone contains Union Station, a mall, a subway and the Capitol building among others. Baltimore City features a downtown area, a harbor and Lansdowne skate park, a real-world trick-land that was built back in the ‘70s. And Philly packs in some slums, a downtown of its own and two further locales based on actual skate facilities - the FDR park, built by volunteers and a fave hangout of Bam Margera, plus the “LOVE Park,” aka JFK Plaza.
The game begins in those aforementioned Philly slums, a story that, once again, charts your rise from nobody to... well, that’s now your choice. If you want to go from zero to hero, from boarding bum to famous icon, then you can choose to be a “Career” skater. Or you could choose infamy over fame and keep pushing things at street level - being a “Hardcore” skater is all about pushing the boundaries of inadvisable monkey business and stuntman-style mischief, with little concern for self-preservation. Finally, you could be a “Rigger,” as much an engineer as a skater, manipulating the game world and clambering all over the shop in order to seek out new areas and lines. Each of these three options presents an independent career progression with its own goals, skills and narrative (there are over 70 cutscenes stuffed into Proving Ground), and you can swap between them as and when you like.