SSX Deadly Descents: How Not to Reboot

I’m not sure a single, solitary trailer has ever caused such a drastic, misconceived split between gamers and corporate America. As revealed on the Spike TV Video Game Awards, EA is rebooting the SSX franchise… and it’s a mess before even touching a button.

Who are we to judge though, right? No one has played it other than those developing it, and all we’re doing is complaining about a teaser trailer. Wrong. We can judge it because it’s set a precedent. Everything about the trailer is wrong.

SSX was, for all of its sheer insanity, a fine piece of work. It was bright, colorful, and intense. It bucked an growing trend of games that sapped themselves of color, shifting into a palette of bold primaries and stunning white snow. Deadly Descent? It’s teal and orange, the same color palette that dominates Hollywood in the worst way. The soul of the game is gone, the heart of it all that made it… fun!

Then, you have what seem to be a story mode or missions, another drastic misfire. SSX, and especially the second game Tricky, dominated a genre because of insane course design that carried flow and carefully planned shortcuts. It was about the tricks, sure, but those courses were the epitome of design. Asking someone to follow some completely unnecessary plotline while boarding down a hill is ridiculous.

We’ve waited a long time for a proper SSX follow-up, and EA found it profitable enough to branch it out. The series was available for the N-Gage, Game Boy Advance, Wii, and more. Deadly Descents doesn’t scream a game bursting with creativity; it screams that it has been designed from the top to the bottom, not the other way around. In other words, the trailers reeks of some misguided lead EA studio head who knew nothing of the previous games, but wanted a piece of the Modern Warfare pie. Take out the shooting, add-in snowboarding. It’s stupid.