Remembering Neversoft: The developer’s best games

by Gaetano 'Xbot' Prestia 8 Comments 7 Likes 4,445 Views 05/05/2014 Back to Xbox One articles Call of Duty: Ghosts

Neversoft is no more. The Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater and Guitar Hero developer merged and was absorbed by Call of Duty stalwart Infinity Ward after almost 20 years on the scene.

Bought by Activision in 1999, Neversoft helped define the ‘00s for gamers, with the acclaimed Pro Skater and Guitar Hero franchises, even in light of the latter's eventual over-saturation and demise.

When did the developer hit its peak, and which of its games will we forever look back on as part of its lasting legacy?

The Best

Pro Skater franchise

Few franchises have been as widely acclaimed as the Pro Skater series was. From the first entry on PlayStation in 1999, until Pro Skater 4 in 2002 (that’s one Pro Skater game per year: classic Activision), the series remained atop “best of” charts as fans lapped up the series’ iconic and addictive gameplay.

Equally as defined by its soundtrack as its gameplay, the Pro Skater series probably hit its peak with the third entry, but still managed to feel fresh and fun. It didn’t need advanced physics or animations: just simple, accessible gameplay that people loved.

We got many Tony Hawk games after 2002’s Pro Skater 4, but they couldn't reach the quality of the early-’00s gems.

Spider-man

Back in the day this action game set the standard for Spider-man games. It looked outstanding for a PlayStation game, even with the PS2 already out on the market at the time, and it would eventually inspire great spiritual sequels like Spiderman and Spiderman 2, two of the great movie-to-game adaptations out there.

It was a simple game with a tonne of stuff to collect and explore, and it managed to get the comic book lore down right in a 3D environment, where games like Superman 64 had failed a few years earlier.

It was a fresh, exciting take on Spider-man at the time, and in many ways inspired the Spider-man games we get today.

Tony Hawk’s Underground

With Underground (or “THUG” for the real Pro Skater fanatics), it was always a question of whether Neversoft could reinvent the Tony Hawk game brand without forgetting what had made the Pro Skater series so good over four years.

It nailed it. Absolutely nailed it. With a stunning collage of wonderful tricks, great level design and a surprisingly addictive story mode, the added objectives gave THUG a fresh feel, just as the Tony Hawk franchise needed it.

Guitar Hero: Metallica

It’s hard to separate the Guitar Hero games because they’re mostly all great, and it’s obviously going to come down to which track listing you prefer. But something sets Guitar Hero: Metallica apart from the rest. I’m not even that big on Metallica but something about the game’s fusion of music with gameplay made for what is arguably the best Guitar Hero experience released.

It’s probably the most polished Guitar Hero game, and is definitely a must-have for Metal-heads.

Gun

Gun is certainly no Red Dead Redemption, but it’s still a great game in its own right. Its rich story, great gameplay and intriguing game world puts it up there as one of Neversoft’s best.

It was far too short, though, which made its transition to PSP surprisingly easy (it’s actually quite good on the handheld), but was still a great fix for open-world fans looking for some Wild West shootouts.

And The Worst …

Guitar Hero: Van Halen

Unlike Guitar Hero: Metallica, Guitar Hero: Van Halen felt like nothing more than a cheap cash-in on the band’s name. The track listing is deplorable, and it lacks the personality the Metallica version offered for it to actually feel like something for the fans.

What was your favourite Neversoft game?

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Remembering Neversoft: The developer’s best games Comments

  • Jayden27 2433 XP 05/05/2014
    "And The Worst …"

    Almost every Guitar Hero game but 2, and maybe 5 - mainly because of the DLC track, 'The Touch' by Stan Bush, for the latter.
  • KezDaMuss 1409 XP 05/05/2014
    I always remember the Eye skateboarding from the original Tony Hawks.

    My favourites of theirs are probably, Guitar Hero 3, THPS2 & THPS4. Loved all of those games to bits.

    Totally forgot they did a Spiderman game! I remember playing the Demo for ages and really enjoying but dont think i ever got round to the full game
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  • Gryllis 347937 XP 05/05/2014
    How many Guitar Heroes did they make? They didn't actually start it right? It was some other dev that Activision bought out and moved development to Neversoft or something.
  • Jayden27 2433 XP 05/05/2014

    @Gryllis said: How many Guitar Heroes did they make? They didn't actually start it right? It was some other dev that Activision bought out and moved development to Neversoft or something.


    Harmonix first developed, before leaving to make Rock Band then development duties was handed over to Neversoft.
  • Tano 342407 XP 05/05/2014

    @Gryllis said: How many Guitar Heroes did they make? They didn't actually start it right? It was some other dev that Activision bought out and moved development to Neversoft or something.



    Harmonix. It was I think partly owned by Activision then was sold, moved on.

    Went on to create Rock Band and Dance Central.

    @KezDaMuss said: I always remember the Eye skateboarding from the original Tony Hawks.
    My favourites of theirs are probably, Guitar Hero 3, THPS2 & THPS4. Loved all of those games to bits.
    Totally forgot they did a Spiderman game! I remember playing the Demo for ages and really enjoying but dont think i ever got round to the full game



    I vaguely remember it, I had to look back into it after a colleague brought it up (I love the Spiderman games based on the Raimi movies). But it was/is a great game.

    @Jayden27 said: "And The Worst …"
    Almost every Guitar Hero game but 2, and maybe 5 - mainly because of the DLC track, 'The Touch' by Stan Bush, for the latter.



    GH lost me when it tried to be Rock Band.
  • Jayden27 2433 XP 05/05/2014

    @Tano said:

    @Gryllis said: How many Guitar Heroes did they make? They didn't actually start it right? It was some other dev that Activision bought out and moved development to Neversoft or something.


    Harmonix. It was I think partly owned by Activision then was sold, moved on.
    Went on to create Rock Band and Dance Central.

    @KezDaMuss said: I always remember the Eye skateboarding from the original Tony Hawks.
    My favourites of theirs are probably, Guitar Hero 3, THPS2 & THPS4. Loved all of those games to bits.
    Totally forgot they did a Spiderman game! I remember playing the Demo for ages and really enjoying but dont think i ever got round to the full game


    I vaguely remember it, I had to look back into it after a colleague brought it up (I love the Spiderman games based on the Raimi movies). But it was/is a great game.

    @Jayden27 said: "And The Worst …"
    Almost every Guitar Hero game but 2, and maybe 5 - mainly because of the DLC track, 'The Touch' by Stan Bush, for the latter.


    GH lost me when it tried to be Rock Band.


    Same, but Stan. Bush. In Guitar Hero. The first, and only, time I bought a game (at a discount, mind) for DLC.
  • Pact 21951 XP 06/05/2014
    Music Skateboarding FPS with web-swinging. We need that Innovation.
  • Tano 342407 XP 07/05/2014

    @Pact said: Music Skateboarding FPS with web-swinging. We need that Innovation.



    CoD is leaning towards that :P
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