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Lately, we've been seeing a rash of last-gen games getting rush ports to make them Wii-compliant, but Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam is a rare case. Starting life as a Wii game, Downhill Jam - which features a bunch of fictional skaters (and Tony Hawk) racing at breakneck speed through steep downhill obstacle courses - is jumping ship to PS2, and it's bringing a whole mess of new features with it. To find out exactly what Hawk's PS2-owning fans can expect when the game arrives in May, we hit up Downhill Jam's producer, Kragen Lum, with a few questions about things to come.
GamesRadar: What were the biggest challenges in bringing the game over from Wii to PS2? Was anything more or less difficult than you'd anticipated?
Kragen Lum: The transition of Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam from the Wii to the PS2 had its ups and downs, like any game does. Due to the difference in the two system’s memory, there were a number of things that were more difficult to transition than we had anticipated, but nothing that we weren’t able to overcome. There were also many things, such as the controls, that were much easier to bring over than we thought they would be. All in all, the process went relatively smoothly.
GR: What other new elements might we see along with the new characters? New environments, maybe?
KL: The PS2 version of Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam features a ton of new elements. It has three new playable characters, three new event types, 10 new events, 25 new unlockable costumes for the playable characters, new unlockable boards, new create-a-skater parts including downhill sliding gloves, three new multiplayer modes and all new live-action movies featuring Tony Hawk himself doing some downhill skating.
GR: What problems with the original, if any, do you think the transition to PS2 gave the developers a chance to solve?
KL: Many players didn’t seem ready to play a Tony Hawk game on the Wii. The complaints that some players had with the original Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam Wii release had to do with the controls. Because of their past experience with playing the Tony Hawk series, some people found the Wii controls difficult to adapt to and a bit limiting because of the number of buttons (though the majority of the same tricks can be performed). The PS2 control scheme should alleviate many of these issues for those players as it is set up just like previous Tony Hawk PS2 games. Those familiar with the previous Tony Hawk titles should be able to pick this game up and feel comfortable playing it right away.