Speculation is rampant that a new game in the SSX series is in the works after internet sleuths spotted EA- registered domains relating to the arcade snowboarding franchise.
EA Montreal trouser-wearer Alain Tascan has admitted there is a lot of love for the SSX snowboarding series at the studio, and said that a revival may be on the cards - particularly if the market (that's you) demands it.
"I've changed! Love me anew!" it bellows, as an avalanche of personality erupts from a screen that confusingly just had an EA Sports logo plastered across it, fuelled by Iron Maiden and sketchbook presentation - a blizzard of quirky animations frothing around the edges of scotch-taped overlays and spiralling load indicators. "I've got skis too! Monster tricks! Custom characters! I'm a changed game!" It's an alluring fašade, unquestionably - distinct and beguiling - and most of the things that I liked about SSX are as hearty as ever.
SSX On Tour is fundamentally still about going fast on a snowboard and performing tricks so that you can go faster on a snowboard and perform more tricks and then go even faster than that and so on and so forth. Like SSX3, On Tour offers a mixture of, shall we say, feature-length races and trick events (the latter dubbed 'slopestyles' - a name I'll remember if I ever found an avant-garde roofing movement) and shorter objective-based undertakings, called Shreds. The core of the game is still "boost = speed". And you fill that boost meter by performing tricks in mid-air - ranging from grabs (shoulder buttons) to Monster tricks. You can also position yourself to grind rails and other straight or indeed bendy edges. Through cunningly measured networks of rails and jumps, you can combo your way down the mountainside without finding yourself on too much open snow.
Monster tricks, immediately, are a new thing - except they're not, not really. Whereas before the most dextrous players could wield "Uber" tricks once enough boost had been accumulated to activate them, On Tour boils the complex finger gymnastics of the past two games down to tugging and later rotating the right analog stick to bring out the Monsters, allowing you to bind your preferred and unlocked Monsters to certain directions. It a reasonably positive refinement, and that sets the tone.
We've never been snowboarding, but we love SSX. People would always tell us (usually loudly, usually with CAPITAL LETTERS, usually in ricin-tainted mailshots) that there's a reason for that, and that games like Amped were the choice of the real 'boarder. We'd even started to believe it, and thought perhaps even EA's Canadian development team felt the same way. Not so. "I just don't buy it," says associate producer Michael Wyman. "In terms of simply riding down the mountain I feel that SSX actually offers a more true-to-life experience than anything else out there."
The GameCube version of Electronic Arts' SSX On Tour may be getting visitors in the shape of Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach, after sources apparently saw the game featuring the Nintendo characters.
Electronic Arts has revealed the first details of what we can expect from SSX On Tour, the first PSP instalment in the classic snowboarding series.