Round 1: Allan Muir on behalf of Deacon “Deek” St. John from Days Gone
When Days Gone was first shown off at E3 2-3 years ago, it peaked my interest. After it was showcased, it disappeared from my mind and when it released this year I got in depth with it and found a great game that was being either praised for its story and gameplay, having comparisons drawn to The Last of Us for its story, Far Cry for the games’ open world sandbox, and Mad Max for the similar matter of importance your vehicle is in both with Days Gone and Mad Max. You can also compare it to Dying Light in terms of how dangerous things get when the sun goes down when it comes to how deadly enemies are at night and the swarm of them.
In Days Gone you are in the role of Deacon St. John who is a biker with a heart of gold and a somewhat grey sense of morality. Early into the second decade of the 21st century a viral infection hits the country and the world turning men, women, children, and animals into monsters. Twisting them into beasts. But this wasn’t as many predicted, the “end of the world” but yet another gruesome chapter in the history of man. Deacon and the Chewbacca to his Han Solo, Boozer, made it through the worst of it but at a great cost to Deacon. Or so you are thought to believe.
Deacon may have had a heart of gold before the outbreak but he was never perfect as he has had to do bad things or leave individuals to their demise at the cost of his own survival. But in his own way Deacon avenges these lost souls whenever he clears a Freaker nest, or an ambush camp, and in some cases saving a defenseless girl from a horde of Freakers and maybe even a bear that wants to rain on your parade. Days Gone is the first original IP from Sony Bend studio and it would be nice for those who like the game, the studio, and even those who like Sam Witwer, who is the likeness and voice of Deek, to get recognition and ride into the Showdown on his motorcycle wielding a crossbow or light machine gun and a machete?
Round 2: Emmett Watkins Jr on behalf of Tony Hawk from the Tony Hawk series
The late 90s and early 2000s were a special time for preteens. While the world around us was changing in ways that we would yet to fully understand, these years were vital in forming the baseline of our taste in art, and more importantly, what we all thought was cool. At this time, some of us gravitated to Bratz dolls, and those kids are now the fully grown Cardi B and Meg the Stallion fans of today. Some of us gravitated to Barbie dolls, and those kids are now the fully grown Taylor Swift and Katy Perry fans today. And some of us were intoxicated by the punk attitude of the culture of skateboarding, which had lead to the fully grown Rage Against the Machine and Gang Starr fans of today. And arguably the biggest vehicle for that culture was the Tony Hawk series of video games.
I started in 2003 with Underground, but by that time, there had already been 4 Pro Skater games since 1999 that were deeply loved by many. For thousands of pre-adolescent boys and girls, the Tony Hawk series heavily influenced our musical taste, fashion sense, and the general sense of anarchy found in a lot of 20-somethings nowadays. Plus, with the original games appearing first on PlayStation, the entire series has been heavily associated with the platform ever since the 90s. So, despite the lack luster recent entries and the lack of a mainstream skate culture in the modern day, this series is certainly deserving of representation in PlayStation All-Stars.
Tony Hawk himself being the character of choice is certainly an…inspired choice. It’d be the first time anyone has pitched a real life person rather than a fictional character for this series. But I think it makes the most sense, not just because he is the face of the series, but because you could even make references to Hawk himself outside of the games. Imagine the fun you could have with him in a potential story mode. We’ve likely seen his viral tweets of his awkward interactions with people who recognize him years after the height of his popularity, thay could be incorporated into the game to hilarious effect. Plus, as hinted at earlier, the music they could add from those games would be almost as exciting as having Hawk in the game himself. Imagine fighting your favorite characters in PlayStation history while some Nas, Blink 182, Metallica, or A Tribe Called Quest plays in the background. It’d be unreal!
But beyond the story and music, we’d also need to think up some gameplay for him. Of course, his board would be his primary weapon and tool, but in a move that would differentiate him more from Parappa the Rapper’s moveset, I’d have him have two different movesets based on if he’s on his board or off. This would allow the player to switch between both stances at will during a match, similar to hor Toro had different outfits to change between in the original All-Stars. While on his board, he’d be faster, but he’d do less damage and be less precise to control. While off his board, he would be a bit slower, though more precise to control and do more damage, as he could then use his board to strike enemies. He could even have the ability to block projectiles with his board, which would complement his ability to dodge them more easily while on his board.
For his level 1 and 2 supers, they could incorporate some of the tricks and mechanics from the Tony Hawk games into his moveset. His level one could be him tagging an enemy, similar to the graffiti mechanic found in Underground. His level two could be a continuous grind, complete with the balance meter from the games, that simply glides you around one level of the stage, and if you keep the balance meter centered, it can last longer. And his level three super could incorporate some of the more outlandish elements of the franchise. Remember the outlandish level events you could trigger in entries like American Wasteland and Underground? Those could show up here as supers. It would be like dropping the T-Rex head on the construction worker in American Wasteland, but replace the construction worker for one of your opponents in the match.
So that’s the pitch. Hopefully, I’m not alone in my appreciation for this series and my unquestionable belief that Tony Hawk certainly deserves to be represented in this roster. And if you disagree, how about you…
Round 3: Fight!
So, which side are you on, Team Bike or Team Board? Vote in the Twitter poll embedded below, and follow @LosHarrowGames for the next match up!