Why we need more SSX (and might just get it)

‘SSX is a fabulous piece of intellectual property. You never say never, but there’s nothing to say right now’

Above: He looks right in that setting and you know it

That right there was Peter Moore, head of EA Sports, previous Xbox 360 man, and suspected 17th century wizard. He might have basically said a whole lot of nothing, but I’m intrigued by the way he said it. Now in my experience of journalising video games, a flat-out denial is usually a believable flat-out denial. Having ‘nothing to say’ is a lesser-known cousin of the more common ‘we do not comment on rumour or speculation’.

Now I don’t want to turn into a squealing fanboy blogger here (well part of me does, because this is SSX, but I won’t, because I’m a serious grown-up man of journalism, with a proper beard and everything), but in video game PR-speak, Moore definitely hasn’t denied SSX is being thought about. He went on to say,

‘I think we’d have to look at how you bring back SSX’s snowboarding mechanic and make it relevant. It’s been a number of years, some people may not even have played an SSX game. You’ve got to look at the current marketplace and Shaun White coming back again’

Which leads me on to an important, and perhaps the most salient of all points pertaining to this matter.

Shaun White is a bit pump

Slow, bland, and not particularly exciting, Ubisoft’s Shaun White Snowboarding is a solid but thoroughly unspectacular snowboarding sim. Fast, beautiful, immensely exciting and incandescently spectacular. That’s what SSX is. And so far this generation, Shaun White is SSX’s only competition. Fish. Barrel. That’s what an SSX relaunch would look like.

Above: This is not how you do it

Last generation was filled with snowboarding games like this year’s E3 wasfilled with flailing, and SSX still managed to rise to the top. A new one would have no problems, and now more than ever, we need it.

How should it work?

Just like SSX 3, but bigger and better. Keep the courses huge and insane. Keep the trick system accessible but intricately hardcore. Keep motion control the hell away from it. I just want a new iteration of Big Mountain with spectacular new courses and the same semi-open-world layout. In fact screw it. Instead of Big Mountain I want the Big Mountain range. Three mountains at least, joined by helicopter transport, but with organic back-country routes connecting all three via hidden passes, tunnels and ridges.

Above: This is how you do it

Just imagine exploring an innocuous little cave in Free Ride mode, enjoying a bit of hidden tunnel riding, and then bursting out of the darkness via one of SSX’s trademark monster jumps to find a whole new peak laid out ahead of you in glorious, shimmering HD? Bolster the free exploration with the kind of persistent online mode we saw in Burnout Paradise and – yes – Shaun White, keep the soundtrack full of cool beats and smooth ambience, and there’s a good chance I’d never play another game again. Let’s just keep the skis out of it this time, okay EA?