E3 06: Tony Hawk's Project 8

For Tony Hawk's Project 8, the latest game in the popular skateboarding franchise, the creators are starting over - almost everything about this skate action game is being created fresh to take advantage of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The game is expected to ship this fall.

After the disappointingly similar-feeling Tony Hawk's American Wasteland on Xbox 360 - which was essentially a slightly spruced-up version of the PS2 and Xbox versions - the news that eight years of experience is being simultaneously leveraged and discarded is welcome. Players can expect a lot of technical overhauls, including a new skating physics engine, vastly improved graphics and super-accurate player animations. The new animation blending system can mix 20 moves at once for more realistic transitions between tricks. New motion capture and facial scanning sessions were held with pro skaters to make their on-screen likenesses look and move uber-realistically. The goal is clearly to make Project 8 look and feel like a game that belongs on an HD gaming system.

In addition to being the eighth year of the Tony Hawk franchise, the Project 8 title refers to the game's plot. Tony's searching for the country's top 8 amateur skaters. You're one of them, aiming to impress Tony and make the team. We'll have more on THP8ASAP.