If you’ve adopted Electronic Arts over time – or many years, even – you’ll know that the corporate has a treasure trove of IPs. Skate, Command and Conquer, Need for Speed, Mercenaries – the listing goes on and on. The firm’s output within the 90s and 2000s was staggering, publishing its personal homegrown and third-party titles. Of course, many are additionally conscious of how the corporate handled a lot of its personal builders. Westwood Studios went from being a powerhouse in real-time technique titles to “not assembly expectations” and being consolidated into EA’s LA studio.
In more moderen years, the writer has devoted itself to its yearly sports activities sequels. Multiplayer shooters are nonetheless a major directive, as indicated by the Star Wars Battlefront and Battlefield sequence, however we started to see extra completely different titles like A Way Out, Unravel, Fe and Sea of Solitude. The firm’s status has nonetheless been questionable, as indicated by its loot field and stay service debacles. And but, there are optimistic strides being made to convey again franchises like Command and Conquer, as seen with the Remastered version, and Skate, with Skate 4 at present being in early growth.
It’s unusual although – of the numerous IPs that EA has shelved for not being profitable, SSX stays an exception. Developed by EA Canada, the primary SSX launched in 2000 for the PlayStation 2, having initially been deliberate for the Sega Dreamcast. Though snowboarding video games weren’t essentially new, none had gone fairly as bombastic as SSX. With boarder-cross creator Steve Rechtschaffner serving as its government producer and inventive chief, SSX was a revolution when it comes to high-speed snowboarding.
The primary emphasis was on tips and filling up the increase meter to go even quicker throughout a race. Many of the tips had been ridiculous, feeding into the sport’s arcade-like design, however it’s general fashion and visible design had been improbable. It additionally launched an ingenuous manner for gamers to truly care about their efficiency with the music changing into louder and extra pronounced as one excelled. SSX would grow to be an awesome crucial and business success, touted as one among, if not the finest, PlayStation 2 on the time.
It was adopted by SSX Tricky. Whether thought of as an enhanced model or a transparent sequel, most agreed that it was nonetheless an excellent recreation. Performing tips for increase was nonetheless a core mechanic, but when the increase bar crammed fully, then one may carry out Uber strikes to spice up infinitely for a short while. If six Uber strikes are carried out and “TRICKY” is spelled, then you definately get infinite increase all through the extent. A new Rivalry system was additionally carried out – being pleasant with different characters means they’re much less prone to oppose you throughout races however act like a jerk and so they’ll assault you.
The soundtrack was additionally superb due to the involvement of Mix Master Mike (who was additionally an unlockable character) and different artists. It continued to alter in response to one’s efficiency, with the whole tune enjoying in case you had been doing nicely. SSX Tricky was one other crucial success and it was solely a matter of time earlier than SSX 3 got here alongside simply two years later. It noticed the return of a lift meter (known as the adrenaline meter) and a soundtrack that tailored to 1’s efficiency. Ubers would enhance the meter stage and unlock Super Ubers, additional rising the depth of the gameplay.
An expanded marketing campaign noticed gamers finishing occasions and challenges with the intention to attain the subsequent mountain peak. The PS2 model even had on-line multiplayer the place two gamers may race in opposition to one another, and even rank up. Not solely was SSX 3 an enormous crucial success however it bought a million copies – a primary for the sequence, with whole gross sales for all video games reaching 3 million by July 2006.
Over the years, a number of issues would change at EA. Rechtschaffner went on to grow to be a chief inventive officer at EA Canada and wouldn’t be concerned in future titles.
SSX On Tour was launched in 2005 and launched customized characters. The Uber tips grew to become Monster Tricks and rising one’s Hype to rise by means of the leaderboards was the principle purpose. The presentation went for a extra sketchbook-like format and even the music noticed some adjustments with extra punk rock, rap and different songs. The music would additionally cut back in quantity upon performing Monster Tricks within the air earlier than reducing again in when the participant hit the bottom. Despite all of those adjustments, SSX On Tour nonetheless acquired optimistic critiques and even some awards. EA Montreal would deal with SSX Blur, a 2007 Wii title that launched movement controls with respectable outcomes, earlier than EA Canada developed the reboot in 2012.
A new rewind function, 9 completely different mountains to descend down (with difficult Deadly Descents limiting how usually you possibly can rewind) and Explore Mode helped distinguish it from earlier entries. For probably the most half, nevertheless, this was SSX Tricky’s gameplay for a brand new technology, proper all the way down to the return of “It’s Tricky.” There was additionally the brand new Harmony system which remixed songs on the fly. SSX reviewed favorably and regardless of every kind of competitors at launch, did nicely in gross sales, exceeding EA’s expectations.
However, EA Canada was altering. From six titles, together with SSX, in 2012, it narrowed its focus to a choose vary of sports activities titles like FIFA and NHL. EA Sports UFC would even be included all through the years. This may doubtless be attributed to their extra “assured” gross sales standing, particularly with the billions that FIFA generated in Ultimate Team microtransactions. Despite nearly all of its assets going in the direction of its prime money-makers, there are many causes for EA to convey again SSX.
First, the corporate has seemingly realized that leaning so closely on live-service titles, particularly following Anthem and Battlefield 5, isn’t the most effective transfer. There’s additionally Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order which had over 10 million gamers inside 4 months of its launch. Multiplayer isn’t a horrible transfer although – Star Wars: Squadrons proved that you possibly can have a profitable area dogfighting title with a marketing campaign and multiplayer options that additionally receives updates with out burying the participant in microtransactions or live-service shenanigans.
There’s additionally one other profitable revival to attract on – Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2, which reviewed positively and bought nicely. And that is coming off of the reviled Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5 which many felt to be the dying knell of the franchise. With Vicarious Visions now a part of Blizzard Entertainment and dealing on Diablo 2: Resurrected, the best way is obvious for EA to capitalize on a market that clearly favors remakes of beloved properties. Even if it didn’t go the sequel route, remakes of SSX 1, Tricky and SSX 3 in a single package deal can be the dream.
There’s hope that EA may revive SSX, that too with out dipping absolutely into the open world, seasonal mannequin with microtransactions like Ubisoft’s Steep. If there’s one factor the writer may be taught from Activision’s dealing with of traditional franchises, it’s to present the folks what they need (and that is Activision we’re speaking about). Don’t overthink it, faucet the individuals who would finest match – like Steve Rechtschaffner who based his personal studio, SuperPure Games – and convey it again. There might not be an enormous petition or numerous memes like with Skate 4 but when there’s one traditional franchise that’s an excellent match for EA’s portfolio and a confirmed success, it’s SSX.
Note: The views expressed on this article are these of the writer and don’t essentially symbolize the views of, and shouldn’t be attributed to, GamingBolt as a company.