After months of speculation, Neversoft Entertainment cofounder and president Joel Jewett has confirmed that his studio is no longer developing Tony Hawk games. Speaking with his hometown newspaper, the Great Falls Tribune, the Montana native confirmed that the studio has bid farewell to the series that put it on the map.
"It's probably best for the franchise... It's time for someone else to add fresh ideas to it," Jewett told the Tribune. Located in the Los Angeles suburb of Woodland Hills, Neversoft is now squarely focused on the Guitar Hero franchise, which it took over after original developer and current Rock Band studio Harmonix was bought by MTV games in 2006.
[UPDATE] On Monday, Activision confirmed that Neversoft was no longer working on the Tony Hawk franchise. "It's time for a new direction," said a rep who declined to comment on the series' new developer. The top suspect is indie shop Robomodo, founded last year by refugees from the closures of EA Chicago and Studio Gigante. According to the shop's Web site, it is hard at work on "a high-profile extreme sports title for Activision Blizzard."
The aforementioned game was long suspected to be Tony Hawk Adrenaline, a name first heard last June via an infamous megaleak by the market-research firm Intellisponse. The unauthorized info dump, which preemptively revealed Xbox Live avatars and Guitar Hero World Tour's neckslide, said the new game would urge PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC owners to "put down the controller, step on the board, and feel the sensation of going big. ... Shift your weight to turn and balance grinds, kick back on the tail of the board to ollie, and lean into airs to pull off huge spins."
Though Activision remained conspicuously silent about the Intellisponse leak, Activision Publishing CEO Mike Griffith announced last May that the forthcoming game "won't be your father's Tony Hawk. … We're very bullish on the kind of innovation this will bring." Last month, an Activision presentation confirmed that players would not use their hands to play the next Tony Hawk game. Finally, Hawk himself dropped a major hint, telling GameSpot sister site CNET that the next console games to bear his name would incorporate accelerometer technology sometime later this year.