Now take this with a grain of salt, but I’m going to take a bet that “SSX 3” will be included with the PS3 version of “SSX”. Why “SSX 3” and why only for PS3 you ask? Let me explain my theory that could (hopefully) become a reality.
EA has had a long history handling the Sony brand. During the PS2 era, they kicked off the system’s launch in 2000 by releasing a new IP, “SSX”. Praised by many critics, it quickly became the PS2’s killer app for the launch window. Fast forward to 2001 and “SSX Tricky” was released, this time for the PS2, Gamecube and Xbox. “SSX Tricky” took everything that worked extremely well in the first title and evolved it by giving it enhanced visuals, tighter controls, a “funkier” style and introduced “UBER Tricks”. My brother and I can both state that it was one of our favorites games of all-time and that we spent literally 6 months playing it over and over until we completed the game 100%. That meant we completed every race and showoff event, as well as every character’s “Trick Book”. Yes, the game was that addicting.
Two years later, “SSX 3” was released. EA had outdone themselves once again by introducing an “open world” style gameplay that allowed the player to race, showoff and explore on three peaks. You were even able to race down the entire mountain (all three peaks) without the game loading once and it would take about 30 minutes to do! “SSX 3” not only evolved the series even further, but rather perfected it. Introducing the new “Superpipe” events (half-pipe events that took showoff events to a whole different level), players were able to reach new heights and pull off insane tricks while staying in the air for roughly 5-10 seconds each jump. It might not sound long, but name another extreme sports title that allows you to stay in the air that long while pulling off some insane UBER tricks. The mountain was a character in itself where every peak had it’s conditions. Peak 1 started off as a “beginners” course and didn’t throw much at you. Peak 2 started to give you rougher conditions to shred down, giving the players a little more challenge going through the terrain. Peak 3, the mother of all peaks, really challenged the player by giving them extreme conditions to traverse through. Adding the element of traversing one mountain with three peaks was a sweet idea and really added a lot to the experience. DJ Atomika was introduced for the first time (later appearing in Burnout Paradise) to host “Radio BIG” and would commentate on events occurring on the mountain. He would also announce what songs were playing on your playlist while having some of the actual artists who performed the songs announce their song. This definitely gave you a much more personal feel to the experience. UBER Tricks were taken to a while new level as well by allowing the player to customize their UBER Trick loadout to whatever UBERs they wanted to pull off with the character they were sticking with. Between the PS2, GC and Xbox versions of SSX 3, the PS2 version was the ONLY one to feature “online play”. Those who were early adopters of online gaming were treated to this (unfortunately I never got to play this online before they shut the servers down) and I could only imagine how much more time I would’ve clocked in with the game. The game was one of, if not, the deepest extreme sports game ever made. I can sit here and talk about every single feature from SSX 3 (considering it’s in my top 3 favorite games of all time list), but I’m not here to go too in-depth on that. Based on the latest “making of” video posted for “SSX: Deadly Descents”, it shows brief gameplay footage that appears to be very reminiscent to SSX 3’s gameplay and visual style.
There was “SSX: On Tour” and “SSX Blur” later on in the franchise’s life cycle but I don’t consider them “true” sequels. “SSX: On Tour” derailed from what made SSX sleek by giving it a “rocker, Guitar Hero” style, which is not what SSX is even remotely like. The soundtrack in the first three SSX games were sweet, however this one easily had the WORST soundtrack of all. Music is a big deal for me in games and if doesn’t appeal to me, a good chunk of the experience is ruined. “On Tour” even suffered from having worse visuals and a lower framrate than that of it predecessors. The game removed “UBER Tricks” and replaced it with “Monster Tricks” which were handled by slapping the right analog stick in any direction to pull off. Then they added “skiing” into the mix as well, which is a cool idea but realistically, SSX is all about snowboarding. “SSX: On Tour” was pretty much a mess because it had a serious issue of identity crisis. Then we got “SSX Blur” for the Wii, which was a rehash of areas from “SSX 3” and “On Tour”. It was pretty much an “experimental” title for the SSX franchise to see how the controls would be handled on the Wii. It was ok, definitely better than “On Tour” but that’s not saying much. The visual style was still a bit different from that of the original SSX trilogy and just didn’t do anything for me.
Now, here’s the reasoning for why I believe (and hope) that SSX 3 will be remastered and reproduced only on PS3. It’s obvious that HD Remakes are a big thing right now. At last year’s Sony E3 Conference, EA took the stage and announced that “Medal of Honor: Frontline” would be remastered in HD and included with the PS3 version of “Medal of Honor”. A few minutes after that, Visceral Games from EA announced that “Dead Space: Extraction” would be receiving an HD version (from the Wii title) that would utilize the PS Move controller. This was, again, exclusively bundled with the PS3 version of “Dead Space 2”. My prediction is that this year at E3, EA will take the stage and announce that “SSX 3” will be receiving that same HD treatment and will be included with the PS3 version of “SSX” While this is just me theorizing, one can only hope that a masterpiece of a game would be bundled with it’s return to the current generation of consoles early 2012. The main issue would probably be re-licensing the soundtrack for a re-release, but it’s not something that would be impossible to do. What do you guys think? Should EA strongly consider this?