Skateboarding games have seen a slight resurgence lately, with the release of games like Session and Skater XL bringing back a long-dormant subgenre of games. In the wake of these games gaining some serious traction, now the big boys of skateboarding games have made their presences known. Last year was all about Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 Remastered collection, and perhaps 2021 will give us more info on Skate 4, or whatever the next Skate game will be. Announced last summer without a trailer or sliver of gameplay, it’s clear development is very early on, but a new Skate game is sorely missed by fans of the previous games and the Skate community.
While the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater remasters were an inherent return to form for the series, Skate should take a similar approach with its sequel. It’s clear a lot of the engaging community aspects of Skate 3 will be enhanced and expanded for the next game, but the game also needs to nail the basics down as well. While other games like Session and Skater XL are diving deeper into the simulatory aspect of skateboarding games, Skate never extended that far. EA’s skateboarding franchise always rode an interesting middle ground between an arcade-like gameplay experience that still felt grounded in realism, which will hopefully remain true for this next entry.
As a skateboarding game, the Skate series was always praised by fans and media alike for being a wholly unique skateboarding experience. While the Tony Hawk’s games were all about high-flying, death-defying tricks that were purposefully outlandish, Skate was the game that took a more realistic approach. However, that never sacrificed the quality of the gameplay experience; through the new “Flick-it” gameplay system, compared to face buttons in Tony Hawk, Skate‘s trick mechanics added elements of precision without sacrificing it’s arcade-like gameplay experience.
Several independent games like Session and Skater XL play very much like a Skate game, but both are expanding the simulation-style gameplay controls even further with new control schemes. As an example, Session utilizes a twin stick method for ollieing, similar to the motions used by real skaters’ feet. While the simulation-style gameplay approach certainly gets points for authenticity, it’s far less intuitive compared to Skate‘s one-stick flick motion. The control scheme from previous Skate games has aged very well when it comes to balancing authenticity with skill requirement. The next Skate game needs to retain this feeling compared to its spiritual successors.
One thing that’s been a big deal since Skate 3 was the content creation, co-op play, and social features that the community came to love. Players could share tricks, exploits, and general accomplishments to the Skate community with a range of skateboarding-style flair. Players could employ all manner of cinematography and filters on their favorite clips, among the various cooperative challenges and trials in the game that could be beaten with their entire skate crew. Much of the community aspects and online capability helped reignite Skate‘s popularity to the peak that it’s achieved today. While all of those aspects are important, that shouldn’t be the sole focus of Skate 4.
Previous Skate games also had many ways for solo players to enjoy the game just as much as online players could. Online capability and community shouldn’t be the sole method of enjoyment for Skate, unlike many other live-service games under EA that have done fairly well. While in the past EA hasn’t had the greatest success with bringing singleplayer modes back to recent games (see: Star Wars: Battlefront 2), Skate is one of those games that would seem lacking without one. Players will remember the first Skate game’s silly intro and campaign chock full of pro skaters like Rob Dyrdeck and Danny Way. The next Skate should recapture that skater aesthetic.
It may be a while before players will get their hands on the next Skate game, but as long as the franchise recaptures its previous aesthetic style and gameplay experience, it should be worth the wait. Skate‘s control scheme and mechanics were always top-notch, so fans should expect no less from Skate 4. What will be more interesting is how the expanded social features in Skate 4 may affect any semblance of a singleplayer experience in the next game. Hopefully adding more community and social features won’t compromise a true-to-form singleplayer experience as a trade-off. Either way, fan anticipation for Skate will continue to rise moving into this year.
Skate 4 is in development.