The new 'Tony Hawk's Pro Skater' soundtrack recaptures the magic of the original

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The pandemic has activated some nostalgic impulses, from all the Zoom TV reunions to social media users exposing their favorite high school albums. These are ideal conditions for Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater to mount a comeback, as it plans to remaster the first two games in the series for Playstation 4, Xbox One, and PC on September 4. The series could mean a different thing to whoever you ask — a vessel for mainstreaming skateboarding; one of the slickest, funniest serotonin boosts in arcade-style gaming — but almost anyone who played the games would argue their soundtrack changed them in some way.

On Tuesday, the game unveiled its expanded soundtrack for the reissue. Most of the classics from the originals — Goldfinger, Papa Roach, Rage Against the Machine, Dub Pistols, Dead Kennedys, and many more — are joined by a new batch of tracks. The game promises 37 new tracks, including those from A Tribe Called Quest, Skepta, Alex Lahey, Sublime, Screaming Females, Machine Gun Kelly, Pkew Pkew Pkew, FIDLAR, Less Than Jake, CHAII (not to be confused with CHAI,) and many more.

Any die-hard fan could scroll and find their snubs — come on, PUP and Dogleg are just made for this kind of thing —but this definitely captures the spirit of those early entries. In addition to mainstreaming skate culture, the early THPS also helped bring decidedly unfashionable punk and ska subcultures to the masses. Those are represented well here, along with some of the most hair-raising indie punk and hip-hop artists to emerge in its wake. All said, this feels like a more complete effort than past miscalculated attempts to revive the franchise on current-gen consoles.

There’s reason to be cautiously optimistic, given the hands on deck. Vicarious Visions, the Activision offshoot that developed a great remaster of the Crash Bandicoot trilogy for modern consoles, has stressed that former Neversoft employees who worked on the first two games are back in the room to advise. Even as Sony and Microsoft unveil the next generation of consoles, I’m fine with being a huge baby and playing no new games other than the THPS, Spyro, and Crash remasters. My only real request: find somewhere for Isamu Yamamoto in the new game!