Consider this playlist: Blackalicious, Iron Maiden, Paul Wall and Louis XIV. It may sound like someone's iPod on shuffle, but it's actually the eclectic mix for "SSX on Tour," the latest installment of Electronic Arts' stunt-filled, blistering snowboarding series, due this fall.
On Monday EA announced an "SSX" soundtrack that goes beyond the usual one or two genres featured in most high-profile sports games. "On Tour" will feature 41 licensed songs from artists as diverse as Def Leppard, Jurassic 5, the Perceptions and the Scorpions.
The rock and metal aspects add a bit of "Tony Hawk"-style flavor to a series whose critically acclaimed (but not "Tony Hawk"-size-selling) "SSX3" focused on DJ-driven hip-hop and techno. "SSX Tricky," the 2001 second installment of the sometimes-numbered series, had boasted an even more prominent hip-hop connection: When players pulled off a string of the game's signature over-the-top boarding tricks, the in-game music automatically switched to the Run-DMC classic "It's Tricky."
For "On Tour," hip-hop songs will score the game's trick-based competitions, but the pure racing aspects of the game will primarily be driven by guitar-based tunes, from raging punk to thrashing metal.
The music of the "SSX" series isn't just known for its signature songs. The triggered Run-DMC effect in "SSX Tricky" highlighted one of the series' other trademark aspects: interactive music. While most games that feature licensed music simply play their songs as background, the "SSX" games have explored the idea of making a game's music as malleable as its visuals. Previous installments allowed a player's racing styles to subtly shape the sound of each song.
"On Tour" explores that idea further. When a player snowboards down the game's immense slopes, the in-game music plays in normal fashion. But when the boarder gets some air, the song's lyrics drop out, for a more ethereal feel. If the airborne player then triggers one of the game's wildest tricks (picture, for example, a hurtling snowboarder stepping out of their board and breakdancing on it in midair), the game switches to a "Matrix"-style slow-mo and the instrumentals fade, drawing full aural attention to the swiping sounds of the board as it cuts the atmosphere. When the player's racer lands back on the snow, the full music kicks back in, without missing a beat. It's remix via snowboard.
The game's Vancouver-based developer, EA Canada, is promising that "SSX on Tour" will be the biggest "SSX" yet, covering the largest amount of mountain yet seen in the franchise. In a series first, players will have the option to leave their snowboard behind and shred the entire mountain on skis. The game will be available in the fall for PlayStation 2, Xbox, GameCube and PSP.
"SSX on Tour" soundtrack track listing, according to Electronic Arts:
- Avenged Sevenfold - "Bat Country"
- Billy Talent - "Red Flag"
- Blackalicious - "Rhythm Sticks"
- Bloc Party - "Banquet"
- Bonobo - "Pick up"
- Bonobo - "Flutter"
- Chali 2Na featuring Beenie Man - "International"
- C-Rayz Walz - "Street Reppin"
- Death From Above 1979 - "Romantic Rights"
- Def Leppard - "Let It Go"
- Dio - "Stand Up and Shout"
- Diplo - "Big Lost"
- Diplo featuring P.E.A.C.E. - "Indian Thick Jawns"
- Diva International - "Nothing to Do"
- DJ Spooky and Dave Lombardo featuring Chuck D - "B-Side Wins Again"
- Fu Manchu - "I Can't Hear You"
- Goldfinger - "My Everything"
- Hot Hot Heat - "Pickin' It Up"
- Iron Maiden - "Run to the Hills"
- Jurassic 5 - "Red Hot"
- LCD Soundsystem - "Daft Punk Is Playing at My House"
- Louis XIV - "God Killed the Queen"
- Maximo Park - "Apply Some Pressure"
- Morningwood - "Nu Rock"
- Motörhead - "Overkill"
- Nine Black Alps - "Shot Down"
- OK Go - "Here It Goes Again"
- Paul Wall featuring Big Pokey of the S.U.C. - "Sittin' Sidewayz"
- Pennywise - "Competition Song"
- Queens of the Stone Age - "Medication"
- Rock 'N' Roll Soldiers - "Flag Song"
- Scorpions - "Dynamite"
- Sweatshop Union - "Come Back"
- The Faint - "I Disappear"
- The Herbaliser featuring Roots Manuva - "Lord, Lord"
- The Herbaliser - "Gadget Funk"
- The Hives - "No Pun Intended"
- The Perceptionists - "People 4 Prez"
- Vatican DC - "Antisocial"
- We Are Scientists - "Lousy Reputation"
- Z-Trip featuring Whipper Whip - "All About the Music"