A portion of a 4cr interview with Leo Zuniga, the Lead Game Designer…

4cr: Are you implementing stylus controls or any of the DS’s other hardware features?

LZ: Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground continues to take advantage of several DS features. We’ve got the ever popular graphic editor that allows you to draw your custom logo and deck art. We’ve got the new touch screen gesture challenge, where the player calls out tricks by drawing gestures using the stylus.

4cr: How does this expand/improve on the other DS Tony Hawk titles?

LZ: The new art style is the first thing people will notice, I think the art team did a fantastic job at bringing a fresh look to the game. Although we all love the toon-shading style from the previous titles, we felt it was time to revamp the style and bring it closer to the other platforms’ look. The game is really pushing the limits on the DS platform. We’ve got a variety of levels that are much bigger than our prior DS games and packed with slick combo lines for everyone to enjoy.

Our story mode progression is deeper than ever: players will be able to choose from two paths, Career or Hardcore skating styles. There are over 110 challenges with individual AM, PRO and SICK levels (you choose the difficulty level in each challenge). This setup makes the game accessible to new players while presenting a challenging experience to our experienced players our there.

The new aggro kick move is a team favorite. It adds a quick burst of speed to a trick combo. The aggro kick can happen at any point within a combo, there’s a timing element to it, and it feels great when you hit it just right.

My overall favorite though is the real skating videos. For the first time on the DS we’re able to pack in a clip for each pro skater (over 8 minutes of footage total). This is a real treat whenever you meet a pro during story mode you can sit back and watch them pull off some crazy tricks.

4cr: Are any of the team members skaters?

Full Interview