Cooler than a polar bear's pocket and slicker than a dolphin's armpit, the SSX series has been tearing up the slopes since the first game hit PS2 way back in 2000.
But a lot changes in 5 years - including skiing. There was a time when you'd rather be seen dead than sliding on twin-tips while sporting a pair of skin-tight salopettes.
Newsflash - skiing's cool now. Or at least SSX is trying to make it cool. In a move that has hardcore snowboarders (including our very own editor) snapping their chapsticks in disgust, SSX On Tour has brought boarding and skiing together in one mountainous mash-up.
That's not to say the two opposing styles have to get on. On Tour will feature a THUG-style storyline that starts you out as an unknown skier or boarder who has to impress the pros, get sponsored, and make some noise on the Tour. As you establish yourself as the Mountain Rock Star you'll also cement the reputation of your chosen style as the coolest way to slide on snow.
We've got a flurry of new screens for you to soak up, as well as a new trailer for the game so hot it'd thaw an iceberg. And there's more! We recently had a chilly chat with Tim Fields, associate producer for SSX On Tour at EA's Canada office, which you'll find below:
SSX On Tour Trailer (.mov format, 39 MB)
What's new about SSX On Tour?
Tim Fields: We've got a full streaming system this year that lets you race the whole mountain from top to bottom. That takes about thirty minutes and there are absolutely no load times during that time. In the past we've had to cleverly mask those loading delays - no longer. So that's great fun in two-player, just starting at the top and cruising all the way to the bottom. The pipes and jumps are built much more into the runs than before too, so while the runs have been quite linear in the past in On Tour the runs criss-cross and intersect with each other. So we can weave back and forth and choose different paths, pull off into a pipe and do tricks in there for a while, then continue back down the mountain. You can play for a really long time without ever seeing a load if you want to. Oh, and we've got skiing in there too!
What kind of visual style and attitude are you going for with On Tour?
Tim Fields: The way to think about SSX On Tour is to imagine you wanted to throw the biggest, cheesiest hair-metal rock and roll party ever, on the side of a mountain. We've got this living sketchbook design aesthetic that really captures the 80s rock and roll ideology and the guys on the team are really feeding from that. It's really tongue-in-cheek, a little bit sarcastic, but very good natured as well.
Why did you make the decision to include skiing in SSX this time?
Tim Fields: Skiing has changed a lot in the last ten years. This is not the kind of skiing we grew up doing. The new school of twin-tip skiing has the guys doing lots of tricks and stunts like you'd expect from snowboarders, and our team was getting increasingly interested in that. We're lucky enough to live near Whistler and we spend a lot of time on the mountains at the weekends doing 'research' and it's the kind of thing we wanted to get in on because they're doing some really cool stuff. It's also a sport that hasn't been done justice in videogame form yet so we really want to do it right.
Isn't there a bit of a rivalry between snowboarders and skiers?