What could possibly make the Tony Hawk franchise relevant again?

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#1 Posted by JJWeatherman (14553 posts) -

After watching the Tony Hawk: Shred QL for the second time, I got to thinking about this. The current direction of the series seems to be a bad one, but what do I actually want out of a new Tony Hawk game? It's a tricky question to be sure. 
 
I guess first and foremost what I want is a reboot. Activision, if you're listening, reboot the shit out of this series. I want it as far away as possible from its current peripheral-loving state. I want the game to resemble in no way shape or form the Tony Hawk that we have come to know (and not quite love) over the past few iterations. It's easy to just say "reboot it!" though. Coming up with a proper vision for the series is the hard part, and it's apparently what the devs have been struggling with as well. 
 
A few years ago, a game called Skate came along and completely shook what people expected from skateboarding video games. I'm of the opinion that the dual analog control scheme that they came up with was the most critical change that was made to the genre, and something similar needs to happen again. Going back to the tried and true face button trick system that the series used to make a name for its self would be a bad idea. Playing exact copycat with the Skate games would fail to interest me as well. What I'm trying to come up with is something that will force my interest in this series again. Neither of those control schemes would achieve that. This is really hard for me to figure out. Of course if it were easy to come up with amazing new control schemes, then every game would control flawlessly. The best idea my mind can put together right now is to use a control setup that is inspired by Skate's, but that moves the system forward and allows for more precision when dealing with tricks. If there was a fault in the Skate series, it's the inaccuracies of the flip trick controls, and the shortage of grab tricks. The whole idea of controlling the board with the right stick, and controlling the skater with the left stick is cool. If that idea can just be taken and really expanded on in one or two truly significant ways, then that could be awesome. 
 
Assuming they can get a interesting and comfortable new control scheme nailed down, there are two scenarios that they could pursue when talking about the general tone of the game. 

  1. They go back to the series' roots a bit and make a game that feels crazy and over the top, but in a way that isn't completely silly and fake.
  2. Take the 100% realism approach and try to create a skating sim that could dethrone the Skate series.
  
The full-on sim route would definitely interest me the most from the get-go. If they made an announcement claiming that they've reinvented the genre and have taken an extremely realistic approach, I'd be skeptical, but pretty dang excited at the same time. I think there's the question as to whether or not a super realistic skating game would be fun, or just frustrating. It's hard to say, but I would definitely welcome a try at realism since we've all seen where the series has gone lately. 
 
My first option was to take a less strictly realistic approach, and more of a "string combos together like the good ole days!" approach. If they were to take it in this direction, I think there's a very real possibility that it could turn out like proving grounds, american wasteland, THUG, etc. THUG was actually an interesting game, but those other two did a pretty good job of ruining Tony Hawk. They'd definitely have to be careful about it, but the soul of Tony Hawk has always been an arcadey experience. If they were to totally abandon that, it would actually be kind of sad. 
 
Having played countless hours of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater in my time, I know for a fact that locations and the soundtrack matter. Maybe more than anything else in that first game. All I ever wanted to do was skate around the warehouse, or the school level, just jamming out to all of the great music in that game. Actually, as I'm writing this I'm remembering something that Jeff said during the Skate 2 Quick Look. It was something along the lines of: "One of the great things that the early Tony Hawk games had was that they made you want to find a good spot and just skate. That's something that Skate 2 achieves as well.". Something along those lines anyways. He's exactly right, and I believe that the skate parks and the soundtrack went a very long way in creating that feeling. 
 
Multiplayer. Whether or not it's required is the question. Skate seem to have done a fair job in this department with Skate 3. Even so though, it wasn't a selling point for me, and I never bought Skate 3. Jeff said it himself that if you weren't into the multiplayer, than Skate 2 is "kind of a better game". I took that advice and passed on Skate 3. So as you've probably guessed, I think multiplayer should not be included in a THPS reboot. Keep it simple. If there isn't a solid foundation to build on, then multiplayer is just another layer of non-polished, non-fun game that get's thrown into the mix. Skate was able to concentrate on multiplayer because their base was rock solid coming out of Skate 2. The next Tony Hawk needs to prioritize and focus on what really matters: the skating. Don't even throw in local co-op modes if that would help the core game's quality. They have to rebuild this house one brick at a time.
 
Reading back over this, I'm not 100% sure that any of my suggestions would actually make me rabidly crave this series as I have in the distant past. It's sad when you have the freedom to throw out any idea you want to improve a series, and still don't quite feel like it would be good enough. I think the only scenario that could give my honest hope for a good new THPS game, would be the sale of the IP to another publisher and another development team. That's just the only way I see this game making a resurgence of any significance. I'd gladly welcome being proved wrong, though.
 
Thoughts? Should the Tony Hawk series just die?
#2 Posted by Lemoncookie01 (1667 posts) -

They should just make Pro skater 3 part 2.

#3 Posted by wolf_blitzer85 (5250 posts) -

Goldfinger

#4 Posted by JJWeatherman (14553 posts) -
@Lemoncookie01 said:
" They should just make Pro skater 3 part 2. "
Not too bad of an idea. 
 
@wolf_blitzer85 said:
" Goldfinger "
/thread  :P
#5 Posted by c1337us (5751 posts) -

They should add Sonic the Hedgehog as a playable rider, that'll work.

#6 Posted by SBYM (1219 posts) -

A renewed focus on kick-ass level design and quick, responsive arcade style skateboarding. Don't worry about what Skate is trying to do, or any other board sport games for that matter. Just make cool levels that I can get multi-million point combos on. Don't go for storylines or any of that stuff. Just make a game that feels right when you play it, and isn't packed to the rafters with bullshit. 
 
There was a point where the Tony Hawk franchise was one I considered among the very finest game series of all time; that ended years ago. I think it can be done again.

#7 Posted by Cornman89 (1579 posts) -

I just came into this thread to say Euro Jeff cracks me up every time.
 
Also, Tony Hawk on the moon. Wasn't there a reduced gravity cheat in one of those games? Cause that's the direction they need to go in. Make. It. Crazy.

#8 Posted by Animasta (14633 posts) -

I want it to be CRAZY. in THPS 4, you could do tricks off a fucking bridge dood.

#9 Edited by Jasta (2217 posts) -

 I struggle to believe the series would still be around had their been no competition, because the formula was never changing or improving, just become more stale and uninventive. (I may aswell eat my own words so long as Activision is the first thing that comes to mind.) The only reason the daft board controller was made was to contest with the realism Skate brought to the table, had there been nothing to strive for would it still really be an issue?

#10 Posted by sodiumCyclops (2644 posts) -

Take Tony Hawk's name off it.

#11 Posted by Praab_NZ (279 posts) -
@JJWeatherman:
Tony Hawk will never be relevant again. To some it was never relevent! But there's no doubting it's pioneering roots. Basically the series is screwed, because skating is skating. Unless you go the direction of Skate or Shaun White, you are stuck in the mediocre middleground that doesnt do anything particularly well.
#12 Posted by FiestaUnicorn (1577 posts) -

Make it like the first 3 and have them be downloadable.  Or just release Tony Hawk three as a downloadable.
#13 Posted by Portis (1279 posts) -

The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater franchise will never, ever be as big as it once was. Which I hate to even say, because I loved every single one up until Underground 2, when it really started to wear on me. They could reboot it, but even if they did and the game was good I struggle to think it would sell. I just don't think people care about the franchise anymore. :(
  
Actually, just remake one (or all) of the first 4 games with the Project 8 engine, I'll call it even and forgive Activision for running the franchise into the ground.

#14 Posted by Hizang (8534 posts) -

What they need to do is go back to the second Tony Hawk, remake that for the PS3/360 (Wii?), then if they manage to capture that game then they can make a new game, but simmilar to that game
#15 Posted by Brians (1455 posts) -

Skating entirely in outer space, a long break before the next one.

#16 Posted by jonnyboy (2920 posts) -

Definitely take it back to basics, keep it to smaller XBLA releases. I'm a huge fan of THPS 1-5 especially THPS2, while EA's Skate has gone for the realism angle THPS should make XBLA 800 point bitesize bits of batshit crazyness.

#17 Posted by Subjugation (4714 posts) -

The Tony Hawk series is done. It's just a shame they didn't bow out while they were on top.

#18 Posted by Rawrz (590 posts) -

They should just go the Tony Hawk 2x route and remake the old games in newer tech and then release it all together. It would actually sell unlike all these newer bad Tony Hawk games that no one is dumb enough to buy.

#19 Posted by Turtlemayor333 (510 posts) -

People are saying it's dead now but in 5-7 years once Skate will have worn out its welcome I think there is a market for Tony Hawk to come back. Activision just needs to give it a rest (yeah like that'll happen) with this real board that they crapped out and get a new focus on who this eventual reboot is going to be for. Or do as you say and let someone else entirely take a crack at this.
 
Pandering to the fans and offering nothing new is always dangerous, but in the case of Tony Hawk I think they can almost get away with it. Most of the people who were kids/teens who played the originals are the same people buying games now - so it's not ridiculous to go for these people and not some entirely new crowd. Absolutely bring back the Warehouse, the soundtrack (or a similar ska-inspired one), the bloody effect on the trick font whenever you fall. 
 
In most situations you can say this is the type of pandering that makes remakes fail, but the difference is that it's honestly not that hard to make just a FUN skating game. Losing sight of the basics and making things complicated is exactly why this series started sucking. Like, even if the target audience is Tony Hawk vets, there's no justifiable reason this game should require a tutorial for anybody to go up a ramp and do a sweet trick. But that also doesn't mean the game shouldn't say YOU SUCK whenever you do bite it. The challenge is creating a game that can do this while also having depth and being replayable, because I know I played some of the stages in THPS 1 and 2 probably over one hundred times - between finding the hidden stuff and trying to perfect routines.  
 
I'm aware that people actually kinda liked the later games that focused on story and whatnot, but me? The only skater I want to being using if Tony Hawk isn't an option is Spiderman. Focus on the skating and the levels and it will be a fine game. There will be detractors that say it's just going back to roots that were already getting boring by the fourth game, but these people wouldn't care if Tony Hawk becomes a Wii mini game collection anyway. Screw them.

#20 Edited by TheGreatGuero (9130 posts) -

This isn't an easy question to answer. I fell in love with the series back when a friend introduced me to the original, and I was fully on board with the franchise until Proving Grounds came out. It had it's ups and downs, and as time went on, the games become more ridiculous and started getting too far away from what made the series great in the first place -- the skating. Cavemans were cool, I'll give them all the props in the world for being able to get off the board and do acid drops and hip transfers and the like. Being able to tag graffiti, and race cars, and throw an endless supply of skateboards and all that other nonsense became too much of a distraction from the core game. 
 
The key problem here is that Activision milked the series for all it was worth, then ditched it once the series ran dry. Considering that, it's an amazing accomplishment that the series stayed on top as long as it did. Perhaps that's just because few companies had the balls to challenge that beast, I don't know. Then Skate came along. Did it change everything? Yeah... not quite. Was it a revolutionary new direction for the skateboard game genre? You betcha. However, the Skate series has failed to live up to it's potential. Time after time I find myself ripping on the series, and it's because it almost got it right, and yet it didn't. The first game's many flaws, I can excuse them, because the original game was a nice breath of fresh air and looked like the new king of skating. The fact that the following two sequels haven't yet improved on the original in any serious way, and have taken significant strides backwards is what annoys me most. Whatever, I'll try to stop myself from ranting any further about Skate and how good it could be.
 
Here's what I've wanted from the Tony Hawk series for years, even long before Skate was ever around: I just want a nice, big world where I can skate around and build up my character. You know, the whole career thing, but more realistic, less Bam Margera. Make some levels based off some key cities in the skateboard scene, keep the gaps list in place (because it feels great to be rewarded for finding and nailing a good gap). Make me work for pro talent. I want to land on my face the first time I drop into a half-pipe, man. But don't make it a grind (heh) to get good. I just don't want to be able to pull off a 900 the first time I hit a QP in the game, when in actuality my character just started skating. I think it should take time, and I think you should really have to be able to put in some effort to do certain new things. Doing a backflip isn't a cake walk. Start me off small, and train me to become a skateboard ninja. 
 
One very important thing is to give the cities life. Make them as alive and enjoyable as possible. I recall playing games like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and San Andreas, and thinking to myself, "Man, I wish this game would let me skate around here like I was playing Tony Hawk". You know what I'm saying? Those places were fascinating and a pleasure to explore. I go to San Vanelona in Skate, and dude, let's face it. That city kind of blows. Nevermind the fact that they thought it would be a good idea to put grind-blockers all over the place in Skate 2 (Whoever came up with that idea needs to get punched in the face repeatedly). Man, and I know it can be done. The Tony Hawk's series had so many great levels, but they were all so secluded (up until Project 8 anyway, which I still think was the last great Tony Hawk game). I guess it's fine if it's not just one huge city you can skate in, but maybe it'd be pretty awesome to have 4 or 5 pretty big cities, and then a couple huge tournament event skate parks you could travel to. 
 
I want the series to embrace the history of skateboarding in a more serious way. Not by making Tony Alva a playable character. Engage me in the lifestyle, the history, the music, the hot spots. Make it worth my while to devote my time to get really good. Set me up to change history. Remember jumping out of a helicopter and into a half pipe in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2? While a brief and small level, the idea was totally rad. When I make the big time, set me up to do stuff like that. Bump up the realism and even put injuries in the game. Oh crap, I broke my ankle, I'm going to have to miss the X-Games next week. You know? Put that risk factor in there, because then when you succeed, the feeling of satisfaction you'll get when nailing something extreme will be so much greater. I don't want to be jumping off of an 80 foot building and landing in a manual and be continuing to chain a combo together for the next 2 minutes. 
 
I am totally down with the idea of having a construction buddy and photographer or agent you can call up. Find a cool spot but want to make it a little cooler? Call your buddy up and he'll appear at your spot, and then the game could let you use a level editor to add a ramp or whatever it may be. Think it'll make a cool shot for a magazine? Call up your photog and have him meet you there for a little session. See if it's good enough to make a cover shot. However, one downside to making your own spot could be that your score wouldn't be rewarded with the bonus you'd get for finding a real gap in the game. Something like that to want you to explore what's already available in the world, but still set you up to use your own creativty and perhaps come up with some cool gap of your own the designers didn't think of.
 
Oh, and one important thing. Don't try to copy Skate's control scheme. Neat idea, but the execution and precision is a little spotty. I hope in this long post, if anyone is reading still, that you're not thinking I'm pretty much just describing Skate. I'm not. You know, it's funny. A tech demo of a more realistic Tony Hawk was shown off before Project 8 came out. That's when we thought things were going to get more real, but Project 8 kind of started to go that way and then decided to bump up the insanity factor. As the series progressed, it's started taking itself less and less seriously. I can't speak for the Ride games, but I think it's time for the series to stop screwing around and start getting things right. Tony Hawk needs to expose Skate as the overhyped series it is.

#21 Posted by jmic75 (262 posts) -
@SBYM said:
" A renewed focus on kick-ass level design and quick, responsive arcade style skateboarding. Don't worry about what Skate is trying to do, or any other board sport games for that matter. Just make cool levels that I can get multi-million point combos on. Don't go for storylines or any of that stuff. Just make a game that feels right when you play it, and isn't packed to the rafters with bullshit.  There was a point where the Tony Hawk franchise was one I considered among the very finest game series of all time; that ended years ago. I think it can be done again. "
A+ answer! TH 4 is the last one I bought. if they get back to the basics, throw in some awesome music and add more multi-player functionality, so you can just free skate and find cool spots to do tricks with your friends and seamlessly transition to competitive modes (kinda like burnout paradise) sign me up.
#22 Posted by JJWeatherman (14553 posts) -
@TheGreatGuero:    

Tony Hawk needs to expose Skate as the overhyped series it is.

Oh shit! Layin' the smackdown!  :P 
 

 Start me off small, and train me to become a skateboard ninja.      

This is some great back of the box one-liner material. 
  

 I want the series to embrace the history of skateboarding in a more serious way. Not by making Tony Alva a playable character. Engage me in the lifestyle, the history, the music, the hot spots. Make it worth my while to devote my time to get really good. Set me up to change history.  


 Yes. Good ideas. I think exploring the history of skating within some kind of story would be cool. Maybe they could even do something similar to the Jordan challenge in 2k11 and you'd have to pull off a 900 just like Tony Hawk did it, or something. I don't know a ton of the history behind skatebording, but there's gotta be more moments like that.
#23 Posted by WinterSnowblind (7613 posts) -

I'd be interested in a new XBLA/PSN game, done in a similar style to the original 3. 
None of this open world crap, or story mode..  Just levels, objectives and fun multiplayer.

#24 Posted by BeachThunder (11634 posts) -

Skating, just skating. Oh, and skate punk.

#25 Posted by Hitchenson (4682 posts) -

      
#26 Posted by StarFox (57 posts) -

The reboot'll be called The Tony Hawk.

#27 Posted by Rockdalf (1274 posts) -

There are one of two answers correct here. 
 
A) The first three THPS revamped in a new engine and combined into one game (and if possible secure those damn soundtracks again!) 
  
B) A new off-the-wall-batshit-insane THPS.  I disagree with the reality mumbo jumbo, I want to play a skateboarding clown whose special causes a laser show to trigger from my board. 

#28 Posted by JJWeatherman (14553 posts) -
@StarFox said:
" The reboot'll be called The Tony Hawk. "
I forgot to make that joke.   :)
#29 Posted by Hairy_Fish (366 posts) -

It doesn't need to be relevant again. It reached its peak somewhere between 3 and THUG. I doubt they could improve on the best of those games. It's like the new SSX, there's just no point.

#30 Posted by TheGremp (2064 posts) -

  

#31 Posted by JJWeatherman (14553 posts) -
@Hairy_Fish said:
" It doesn't need to be relevant again. It reached its peak somewhere between 3 and THUG. I doubt they could improve on the best of those games. It's like the new SSX, there's just no point. "
Optimism: It's what's for dinner!
#32 Posted by Turtlemayor333 (510 posts) -

To respectfully disagree with some of the users here, I just don't think Super Tony Hawk: RPG is all that compelling if this going to a reboot like we're talking about. Again it just reinforces the conflict the recent games have had where you're choosing between depth and satisfying arcade skating when the game honestly needs both.

#33 Posted by Jimbo (9767 posts) -

Guns and a cover mechanic.

#34 Posted by McGhee (6094 posts) -

Set it in the near future with hover-boards. Tony Hawk has been rebuilt and forced back into service by Activision to become the world's first cyborg skate boarder. And Bam Margera is really really fat like his dad, but he has become Hawk's biggest rival out of the need to prove himself because he's so goddamn fat.

#35 Posted by InfiniteGeass (2050 posts) -
@Jimbo said:
" Guns and a cover mechanic. "
I was going to come in here and say this. Have Tony say some ridiculous things while fighting too.
#36 Posted by Moth_Pope (449 posts) -

They should release Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5. Make it an Xbox Live arcade and PSN downloadable game. Have 12 or so levels, 3 skate competitions, 2 minute time limits, a set of goals (collect SKATE, secret tape, etc.) and a sweet soundtrack and they have a buyable game.

#37 Posted by Hairy_Fish (366 posts) -
@JJWeatherman said:
" @Hairy_Fish said:
" It doesn't need to be relevant again. It reached its peak somewhere between 3 and THUG. I doubt they could improve on the best of those games. It's like the new SSX, there's just no point. "
Optimism: It's what's for dinner! "
I can't be optimistic. The two of these were some of my favourite games in their prime and there have been very few good reboots in my opinion.
#38 Posted by JJWeatherman (14553 posts) -
@Hairy_Fish said:
" @JJWeatherman said:
" @Hairy_Fish said:
" It doesn't need to be relevant again. It reached its peak somewhere between 3 and THUG. I doubt they could improve on the best of those games. It's like the new SSX, there's just no point. "
Optimism: It's what's for dinner! "
I can't be optimistic. The two of these were some of my favourite games in their prime and there have been very few good reboots in my opinion. "
Yeah, I have similar feelings. But hey, Prince of Persia did it and turned out making one of my favorite games of this generation.
#39 Posted by BeachThunder (11634 posts) -
@Jimbo said:
" Guns and a cover mechanic. "
Don't forget zombies and brown...
#40 Posted by Faint (833 posts) -

If they chuck it back to Neversoft, don't pressure them to use peripherals (get it back to the controller!) and then ask them to make a skating game targeted at the actual core demographic (which i believe would be teens to young adults, not kids like the target of 'Shred'.) of skating like the old ones. Stick in some sick tunes like the old games (Tony Hawk 2 intro, Guerilla Radio comes to mind for awesomeness) and return the style of gameplay to objective based gameplay with the world's best skater's in the old style - with minor improvements for modernization. I mean, Nintendo games roll out the same games that have been successful in the past with modern updates to them and they work just fine. I don't see why it's so hard to imagine a Tony Hawk game kicking ass again. For a while there (THPS3, 4) they were the best game out there. I refuse to believe it's too late to save the series. If they make one good game it'll get good reviews, which should be enough to get the series back on track quality-wise and sales-wise. 
 
I'm surprised the companies never ask fans what they actually want from these games? The series is currently going no where, but I think greatness is just around the corner if they cut the throats of titles past and let it be reborn. Ask the gamers what they want, don't make it buggy, and the game will work. It's that simple.

#41 Posted by JJWeatherman (14553 posts) -
@Faint said:
" I don't see why it's so hard to imagine a Tony Hawk game kicking ass again. For a while there (THPS3, 4) they were the best game out there.  "
That's because at that time, there was almost no competition. I had the "Xtreme racing" game, or whatever it was called. It was terrible. I don't even know of another skating game from that time period.
#42 Posted by Grilledcheez (3942 posts) -

They should just remake the old ones and call it a day.

#43 Posted by Faint (833 posts) -
@JJWeatherman said:
" @Faint said:
" I don't see why it's so hard to imagine a Tony Hawk game kicking ass again. For a while there (THPS3, 4) they were the best game out there.  "
That's because at that time, there was almost no competition. I had the "Xtreme racing" game, or whatever it was called. It was terrible. I don't even know of another skating game from that time period. "
Grind Session and Thrasher Skate and Destroy were around on the PS1 and were absolutely fantastic skating games in their own right. I'm not sure how they did sales-wise however. From memory Thrasher was done by Rockstar? :S or maybe I'm getting mixed up. It was good fun though.
#44 Posted by JJWeatherman (14553 posts) -
@Faint said:
" @JJWeatherman said:
" @Faint said:
" I don't see why it's so hard to imagine a Tony Hawk game kicking ass again. For a while there (THPS3, 4) they were the best game out there.  "
That's because at that time, there was almost no competition. I had the "Xtreme racing" game, or whatever it was called. It was terrible. I don't even know of another skating game from that time period. "
Grind Session and Thrasher Skate and Destroy were around on the PS1 and were absolutely fantastic skating games in their own right. I'm not sure how they did sales-wise however. From memory Thrasher was done by Rockstar? :S or maybe I'm getting mixed up. It was good fun though. "
I can't believe I never played either of those. According to the Wiki, you're right, Rockstar did Thrasher. That's pretty neat. 
 
Which series was your favorite back in the day?
#45 Posted by clubsandwich (3795 posts) -

Remake Tony Hawk 3.

#46 Posted by Enigma777 (6057 posts) -

Absolutely nothing. 
 

#47 Posted by Lunar_Aura (2779 posts) -

Make THawk a playable character in MvC3!
#48 Posted by CharlieTuna (328 posts) -

Remake the originals, or at least 2 and 3, make it HD put it on PSN XBLA. I would buy the shit out of that.

#49 Posted by TheGreatGuero (9130 posts) -
@Faint said:
" @JJWeatherman said:
" @Faint said:
" I don't see why it's so hard to imagine a Tony Hawk game kicking ass again. For a while there (THPS3, 4) they were the best game out there.  "
That's because at that time, there was almost no competition. I had the "Xtreme racing" game, or whatever it was called. It was terrible. I don't even know of another skating game from that time period. "
Grind Session and Thrasher Skate and Destroy were around on the PS1 and were absolutely fantastic skating games in their own right. I'm not sure how they did sales-wise however. From memory Thrasher was done by Rockstar? :S or maybe I'm getting mixed up. It was good fun though. "
I played Grind Session and yeah, it was actually pretty cool. Not quite up to par with Tony Hawk, but still definitely worth checking out.
#50 Posted by FritzDude (2249 posts) -

Remove the fucking periferal. Make an arcade game with lots of combos on XBLA etc for a fair price. Go back to the games roots. And REMOVE THE FUCKING PERIFERAL! That's the major failure.

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