Having mentioned it in a financial report recently, Activision officially unveiled Neversoft's Tony Hawk's Underground 2: World Destruction Tour at E3 this year, albeit in trailer form only. PS2, Xbox, Cube and GBA seem to be the target formats.
Due out before the end of the company's current financial year (ending March 31st 2005), THUG 2 will see the reintroduction of the narrative-free, task-based approach from THPS 1-3, alongside a new story mode in which you pledge allegiance to one of two skating teams.
Obviously one of those teams will be headed up by Tony Hawk himself, but the other seems to be based around pro skater and Jackass TV show regular Bam Margera. Jackass fans will also recognise the likes of Bam's underwear-clad dad Phil (the basis of some of the show's elaborate skits) and Ryan Dunn, and will be able to play through the game recruiting other well and lesser-known skating personalities to their preferred team.
There's also an element of Jet Set Radio-style graffiti tagging in this one, including a tag editor to create your own unique wall-scrawl, and tasks like whacking team emblem stickers on buildings, throwing things at pedestrians and using a new slow motion 'focus' mode for precise tricks.
Players will also be able to switch between various team members on the fly, although the actual format of the story mode is still debateable. We expect to learn more when Activision runs its traditional "Activ8" press event later in the year.
One thing we were quite encouraged by however was the return of a goal-based single-player mode for folks who don't care about the inner turmoil of the average aspiring pro skater. Online play also seems inevitable after the success of online modes in previous versions.
With over 100 challenges including some old favourites (can you say "S-K-A-T-E"?), and some old levels mixed in with the new, overall it sounds like a much better all-round skating sandbox. Still, it's also the sixth game in the hugely successful series, and we'll be hoping for a bit more than simply more of the same this time out.