There is one video game series that will forever loom large in my mind, and it is SSX. With no new entry in the extreme snowboarding franchise since its 2012 installment, it seems like there is little hope for it to ever make a comeback. Which makes it all the more depressing to hear that we could have seen the series live on in the form of a spiritual successor. The revelation that such a game was in the works comes from a sweeping report by IGN about the recent influx of layoffs at high-profile companies in the industry, and how they have affected the ability of developers to make games, whether due to being laid off, losing funding, or working with fewer colleagues.
A former employee at studio SuperNatural told IGN that the company was working on a spiritual successor to SSX that was to be published by 2K, before the publisher pulled out. SuperNatural was founded in 2020 by Steve Rechtschaffner and Larry LaPierre, best-known as the creators of the SSX series. So it sounds like we almost had exactly what fans have been dreaming of for over a decade. As someone who has consistently played several hours of SSX 3 every month for the past…decade, I can hardly begin to describe to you how sad this makes me.
What made SSX so special and has kept it stuck in the minds of players like me for decades was the combination of sports action and an arcadey trick system. While there were “typical” snowboarding events like downhill races and half-pipe trick competitions, the series’ energy was completely over-the-top. Its characters all had a colorful 2000’s aesthetic and could pull off twisting tricks that often included completely removing their snowboard from their feet in mid-air. For many, the franchise’s height came in the form of its second game, 2001’s SSX Tricky.
While games like Ubisoft’s Steep attempt to keep the torch alive, nothing has had the same feeling as SSX. Recreating that unique quality was exactly the plan for SuperNatural’s spiritual successor, codenamed Project Gravity. In 2021, Rechtschaffner told Laptop Mag that the game would focus on the essence of what made the original series great by making an, “arcadey, amazing-feeling, very accessible, competitive and fun game.” Project Gravity was also planned to be a live-service, free-to-play title, but it seems like Project Gravity will not see the light of day. While this bit of news is only a small part of the IGN report, it serves as an example of how the abysmal state of the industry directly leads to good games never reaching the hands of gamers.