Home Editorials Early Thoughts on the Next Skate

Early Thoughts on the Next Skate

by Daniel Pod

After ten years and thousands of wishes from fans of the series, EA announced during their June presentation that Skate would finally be returning to consoles. Due to release in 2022, the fourth game in the Skate series will join remakes of Tony Hawk 1 and 2, as well as indie titles Skater XL and Sessions, in a returning tide for the skateboarding genre. 

While the Tony Hawk series is action packed and unrealistic, Skater XL and Sessions are aiming to replicate real-life skateboarding. As for the new Skate, if it follows the gameplay of its other titles, it will sit right in between those two extremes, in a comfortable zone where triple kick-flips are possible… but not always.

Let’s talk about a few things that the new Skate game can do to be relevant and enjoyable in the days of the PS5 and Xbox Series X.

Skate 4 Gameplay

A rich, concentrated world

The worlds in the Skate games were open and they offered plenty of things to do for both ground and vert skating. They had big skate parks and lengthy dry waterways to race down, but some of the best areas to skate weren’t clearly marked. Rather, players had to seek these places out or just happen upon them. 

EA should aim to saturate the world in the next Skate game with as many of these areas as possible, instead of trying to simply make a big map with lots of different environments. And with consoles being so much more powerful than in 2010, EA can easily make the world in the next Skate game feel more alive and vibrant than the often too quiet world of the earlier Skate games.

Skate 4 Online Gameplay

Embrace creativity online

On one hand, I’m more than happy to play the next Skate game without ever touching online, but on the other, I’d also like to reconnect with friends from way back in the day who loved the Skate franchise as much as I did. And if we are being realistic, not many franchises last long without some sort of connectivity.

Skate should embrace a drop in/drop out style of online connectivity where friends (and other players) are active in your skating world. Starting a competitive game should be a quick invite away, while joining a casual session should be just as easy – for example, sharing a marker on the map so anyone in the group can start there and hit the same line.

EA should also push creativity in its Skate social world. Let players create skate parks, art, objects, game modes, competitions, tricks, decks, graffiti, challenges, and anything else. This will help the longevity of the game and besides, creativity rules.

 

 

Skate 4 Online Gameplay 2

Nail the gameplay formula

It isn’t about EA changing the series too much, but it is about the gameplay delivering that same joy that the earlier Skate games did. I don’t remember the story from any of the Skates games. There are no unforgettable set pieces or missions. Instead, I remember locations and skating there. I remember putting on music and playing the game for hours, often in one in-game location as I imagined and then tried to perfect a series of tricks.

So what exactly made the gameplay of those Skate games so enjoyable? Part of it is the camera angle, part of is the sound, part of it is the flick of the analog stick. The board moving just slowly enough in the air under your feet so that you know when it is time to land is part of it too. But frankly, its a combination of so many things that I can piece it together as well as I can take a baked lasagna and return it to tomato and wheat form.

With employees who worked on the old Skate titles, EA has a great opportunity at recreating the joy that came from Skate gameplay. Here is hoping that they can nail it so that I can treat myself to hours of more skating goodness.

Skate 4 Gameplay 1

Can the new Skate game be successful a full twelve years after its last entry? If it’s gameplay can deliver the same satisfaction as its predecessors, then there is no doubt about it.

 

 

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