His friend Andy Gentile was also hired young as a player and fan of the series, and eventually worked on the games as a designer. After building hundreds of Tony Hawk versions together over the years across various platforms, Gutierrez and Gentile decided at one point to try and flip your normal behind-the-back 3D camera around to the side, effectively making the game into a 2.5D skating game. The two considered what the game would be like with the camera in that position, "restricted to just X/Y movement," says Gutierrez. "And we thought it was awesome. We always wanted to make a 2D slash 3D level after that."
Neversoft eventually moved on to other games, but Gutierrez and Gentile have always been fans of skating games, and they've now decided (along with a few other artists and developers) to try to bring a 2.5D skating game to life as Epic Skater, courtesy of a $50,000 Kickstarter pitch.
Epic Skater is currently a work in progress for iOS and Android, and as you can see from the screenshot and the pitch video, it certainly borrows a lot from Gutierrez and Gentile's Tony Hawk experience. The palette and Southern California-esque setting recall some of the earliest titles in the series, and even that font and collecting those letters immediately bring back thoughts of grinding rails and half-pipes in School and Hangar.
But at the same time, Epic Skater is meant to stand on its own. It's definitely designed as a mobile game, says Gutierrez: The controls were "one of the things we nailed down first because we built everything off of that," he says. Basically, you'll press on the screen to send your skater forward, and then lift off the screen to jump, swiping in various directions to flip and trick. There is one virtual button for spinning, but the design is made for mobile devices, which means casual controls allowing for complex movements.
Gutierrez also says he's heard already that the Kickstarter total of $50,000 might be considered high by some users, but the team stands by the goal they've set for themselves. "The reason we decided to push for that amount is because we've got some really veteran guys on this game, and we're pushing it to be a really premium title." The money will go to let the devs build out levels, characters and other features, and make the game stand out for a long time. "It's not one of those games we're going to push out in three months," says Gutierrez. "We want this game to really resonate with people and last for a while, be really memorable and long lasting."
If you're interested, a commitment of $10 gets you a copy of the game, soundtrack, and wallpaper. The rewards go up from there, to t-shirts, various appearances in the game, and finally, at $10,000, a chance to design a level yourself.
The team's only earned about $3,000 as of this writing. But given that Tony Hawk background, and the work they've already done, odds are they'll make a nice go at that goal over the next 30 days.