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Tony Hawk made more money from his Pro Skater games than you think

The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series was absolutely huge around the turn of the century, and really, it came out of nowhere. Not many people expected a video game based on skateboarding to be as good as Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was. And yet, when the first game released in 1999, people who'd never skateboarded in their lives started picking it up based on all the wonderful things they'd been hearing.

And wow, was that game hard to put down.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was addictive. Pulling off tricks and chaining together combos required your thumbs and eyes to be one hundred percent in sync. The roster paid homage not only to Tony Hawk himself, but other popular skateboarders of the era. And oh, that soundtrack. Who can forget trying to land Tony's signature 900 while jamming to that carefully curated mix of hip-hop and punk rock?

But there's one question we've always had about Tony Hawk's Pro Skater, and it's not one we've ever heard Tony answer — that is, until we stumbled upon an interview he did with a skateboarding podcast called The Nine Club.

That question is, how much did Tony Hawk actually make by lending his name to Tony Hawk's Pro Skater?

As it turns out, Tony Hawk is likely a very rich man thanks to the franchise. According to Hawk, he had lunch with one of his contacts at Activision right around the time the fourth Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was released. This lunch was particularly memorable to Hawk because he was informed at that time that the original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater would become part of PlayStation's "Greatest Hits" collection. That meant Tony Hawk's Pro Skater would be sold at a discounted price and move many more units as a result.

But something else happened at that lunch, too. Hawk's contact at Activision slid him a check across the table. And when Hawk saw the figure on it, he couldn't believe his eyes. The check was for $4 million — and as far as Hawk can recollect, that check was his annual royalty payment for the series.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4 released in 2002, so if Tony Hawk was getting anywhere close to that kind of money on a yearly basis for his video games, you can imagine that he's now immensely wealthy based on his Tony Hawk's Pro Skater income alone. The Tony Hawk franchise saw 12 more Activision-published releases after that title across various platforms, and while none hit quite the way the earlier games did, you can rest assured Tony Hawk made his money from them.

So there you have it. You can safely assume that Tony Hawk made multiple millions of dollars thanks to his licensing deal with Activision. Unfortunately, however, those days are over. Hawk's deal with Activision ran out at the end of 2015, and he went on to partner with mobile developer Maple Media on a new game called Tony Hawk's Skate Jam in 2018. But it appears Hawk still has some fond memories of the Activision era.

In fact, on that same Nine Club podcast, Hawk talked about his relationship with Neversoft in terms of building the first Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. And he recalled that, right before that first title was about to go gold, he'd landed his first 900. Nervous about releasing a Tony Hawk game without his new signature trick, Hawk reached out to Neversoft co-founder Joel Jewett and asked if they could include the 900 in the game.

"Already on it," Jewett replied. "You f*cking rule."

We'd love to see a new Tony Hawk's Pro Skater game hit PC and consoles, but honestly, we're not sure how it would be received in this day and age. The original Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was in the right place at the right time. It was the perfect pass-the-controller game for friends hanging out after school, back in an era where couch co-op and local multiplayer were all the rage. In the present, everyone goes home to their own little game room and plays Fortnite or Apex Legends. It's sad, but it seems the time for Tony Hawk's skateboarding games has come and gone.

Maybe someday we'll see a revival of the franchise, and Tony Hawk will once again be able to see his name on the cover of a major console release. But he won't have to do it for the money. As we've learned, he's already very set in that department.