As the revered Tony Hawk's series is steps up to the next generation this week, it's hard to comprehend just how the man himself has remained on top of the skate world for several generations himself. Doubtless many in the market for Proving Ground, due out tomorrow, were not alive when Tony, more chick than Hawk, was first shredding on the world stage. Back then skateboards were specialised vehicles, and Hawk's was firmly in the vert department along with his reputation.

Tony Hawk's Proving Ground, however, all about street skating. Wherever there's a street there's credibility to worry about and this game is all about building your own career, from being discovered in the park to handling your media duties. This stuff is far from peripheral. We had the pleasure of being taken through the game with NeverSoft during their visit Down Under last month and their enthusiasm for the project is clearly represented in-game, with comprehensive video and skatepark creation functions that form an essential part of the experience. You can pretty much leave the recording option going and then pause, rewind and edit on the fly, saving cuts as you go, then add special effects such as film grain, and go onto the next segment. You even get to create your own skate lounge and invite your friends over for a session.

If you've played the demo you'll know just how well refined the control mechanism is, with the addition of the ability to control your left and right legs via the corresponding thumbsticks on the controller being the only area with any noticeable flaws. Time slows down and it all looks very EA Sports, but thankfully it's a lot of fun as you need this system to complete many of the tricks.

"With Tony Hawk's Proving Ground, we are giving gamers the chance to express their personal style like never before," says Joel Jewett, president, Neversoft Entertainment. "They can do everything from skating the way they want, and producing their own classic videos, all the way to pulling-off the newest Nail the Trick manoeuvres and tricking out their skate lounge to hang out with friends."

Set in the streets of Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., Tony Hawk's Proving Ground features an arsenal of detailed Nail the Trick moves, including Nail the Grab and Nail the Manual for total board control, and new gameplay mechanics like skateable terrain building and the Aggro Kick for intense action. In addition, the game enables you to seamlessly skate from single player to multiplayer online.

The soundtrack features more than 50 tracks from the likes of Bloc Party, Foo Fighters, Jurassic 5, Nirvana, the Rolling Stones, Slick Rick and more. Additionally, on the game disc, Xbox 360 enthusiasts will have the opportunity to play a demo of five songs from Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock. The title, which is also being developed by Neversoft, will hit retail stores shortly.

Key features:

Freedom to Play Your Way: Players are now given unprecedented control of their skating experience. They can mold and shape their character however they choose – the choices they make and the paths they travel determine how they evolve as a skater. As gamers progress, they develop into any combination of three skater classes, acquiring attributes and skills of a contest-winning Career Athlete, a fast and furious Hardcore Skater or a creative maverick Rigger, who alters and modifies the world as a giant skatepark.

Create Epic Skate Videos with the Full-Featured Video Editor: Players can capture all of their sickest tricks and bails with Neversoft’s new video editor to make their very own skate videos. Command the footage using a full-suite of video editing tools, lens modes, camera angles and effects to cut clips and combine clips, add a personal soundtrack and even showcase online to share with others or simply move up the leaderboard rankings.

Seamless Integration Between Online Multiplayer and Single Player Experience: Gamers can join online multiplayer action anytime directly from the single player story mode and take all of their character’s skills, attributes and stats online. Additionally, they can create their own personal Skate Lounge and invite others to view their winnings or join them for an online skate session.

Expanded Gameplay Mechanics Deliver Unprecedented Control: Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground introduces eight all new gameplay mechanics empowering players to play the way they want: Expanded Nail-the-Trick moves such as Nail-the-Grab and Nail-the Manual, Bowl Carving, Aggro Push, Skate Checking, Climbing/Exploration, Environment Altering and Rig-a-Kit.

Guidance From Skateboarding Pros to Create Your Legacy: As they define their character, players will learn new tricks and mechanics from their favorite skateboarding stars. Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground features a diverse roster of the sport’s hottest athletes, including Tony Hawk, Ryan Sheckler, Arto Saari, Jereme Rogers, Daewon Song, Jeff King and more.

Greater Variety of Customisation: At any time they want, players have the ability to use the Rig-a-Kit and Environment Altering mechanics to transform any locale into their own personal skate park. They can even personalise their Skate Lounge with items such as furniture, plasma TV’s and more. Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground also delivers a full, ambient world from real-time weather effects to random world events for the most empowered and dynamic experience ever.