EA recently registered a number of domain names for what will hopefully prove to be the next entry in the sublime SSX series of snowboarding games. Though details on the project have been practically nonexistent up to now, the ice is beginning to crack and details are starting to leak, likely due to the fast approaching date of the Spike VGAs, at which the game may well be fully revealed.
According to Kotaku, a source close to the game claims that the next entry in the SSX series, possibly titled SSX: Deadly Descent, has been in development at EA Canada for the past two years. Mechanically, the game is rumored to play much like EA's Skate games, with stunts assigned to the right analog stick, which is appropriate given that much of the Skate development team is allegedly working on the new title. Despite what would prove to be a fairly significant revision of the series' control scheme, the new game apparently aims to take SSX "back to its roots."
The involvement of the Skate team begs the question of how the balance between racing and stunts will be handled in the new SSX. Though it seems logical to assume that the alleged new control scheme and the team behind the game will bring stunts to the forefront of the experience, an online survey distributed last summer and possibly related to the new game challenges those assumptions.
For starters, the new game may not be limited to snowboarding, as "...helicopter drops and rescues, base-jumping, wingsuit/squirrel-suit flying, skyboarding, para-skiing, ice-climbing and more" may be included. Furthermore, stunts may not be a player's top prioity while they are "avoiding, out-running and even riding on top of massive avalanches; battling hurricane winds; white-outs; bitter cold; falling rocks; and gaping crevasses that open up at a moment's notice." Of course, how directly any of these descriptions from the survey relates to a new SSX game remains unclear.
Though the series has been effectively dormant since the 2005 release of SSX On Tour (no, the Wii remake/compilation SSX Blur doesn't really count), SSX nevertheless has an impressive track record. The uncontested star of the PS2 launch line-up, SSX moved on to the more outlandish Tricky before arriving at the flat-out perfect SSX 3, arguably the series' highpoint and one of the very best games of the previous console generation.
The idea of a new SSX is undeniably appealing, though at this point it is difficult to contemplate the proposed new game with anything other than cautious optimism. The original SSX games did so many things right -- flashy, stylized visuals, responsive, immersive controls, stunningly good soundtracks. Personally, I hold the series in high esteem, and would hate to see a new entry go off-track with unnecessary additions or off-putting aesthetics. Still, a new SSX game has the potential to deliver an experience that simply hasn't been available to gamers this generation, and I can't help but be intrigued.
Ranters, what are your memories of SSX? Would you welcome a new game in the series? What do you think about the Skate team handling development duties?