Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series has been considered by many as the best skateboarding video game franchise ever. However, it may have been a different story if Activision had called the legendary skater just "a month or two later."
Tony Hawk recently discussed the history of the Pro Skater franchise in an interview with The Diary of a CEO podcast. Hawk revealed that he almost endorsed a different game before Activision offered him a deal.
According to the skating legend, another group approached him to make a video game. He said that this game was "more technically difficult to play" and had tried to be a more realistic game.
"There was another group doing a game that had contacted me and I went down the road with them a little bit, I realized that what they were trying to do was so much more, it was more technically difficult to play because they were trying to truly emulate skating," Hawk said during the interview. "I felt like I understood that approach, but at the same time skating wasn’t that big when we released this game or when we were going to release this game, and I wanted something that would be more friendly to the non-skater to play, to understand, to be able to just pick up and start doing tricks."
Activision presented their demo version of the game that would later become Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Hawk was convinced by Activision’s work and described the Call of Duty developer’s vision for the finished game as "perfect."
"When I saw what Activision had – they had a very early version of a skater doing tricks, the way it moved, and to me it was intuitive," the skater shared. "It was perfect. Like right away I started playing it, started doing tricks, it was almost like an extension of my body. To start doing this on the screen with that skater it’s something innately that felt right to me."
He adds, "So was there a close call? I would say if Activision maybe had called me a month or two later, I might have already inked a deal."
Hawk shared that Activision initially offered him half a million dollars as a buy-out for future royalties. The skater refused to accept the offer and instead opted to collect royalties on the video game series, describing it as "the best financial decision of my life."
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series generated over $1.4 billion in revenue during its run and will likely continue earning more once new installments are released. Hawk didn't mention how much he earned from the games but it's likely a lot more than the $500,000 offer he initially received.
According to Hawk, he's "very lucky" to have the opportunity to have his name as part of a video game, saying:
To have that success, especially in video games is reserved for someone like Madden or Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto. To have it be your name was wild... There has been a whole generation of kids, and I'm not kidding, that had asked me if I was named after a video game.