Skate (video game)
|Developer(s)||EA Black Box|
|Release date(s)||Xbox 360
|Mode(s)||Single-player, multiplayer (closed)|
|Distribution||Blu-ray Disc, DVD|
Skate (marketed as skate.) is a skateboarding video game developed by EA Black Box for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It was released in North America on September 17, 2007 for the Xbox 360 and September 24, 2007 for the PlayStation 3 and in Europe on September 28, 2007 for the Xbox 360 and October 5, 2007 for the PlayStation 3. As of February 1, 2008, Skate has outsold the 2007 skateboarding game Tony Hawk's Proving Ground by a ratio of almost 2 to 1 on seventh generation video game consoles. Two sequels to Skate, Skate 2 and Skate 3 have been released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, as well as Skate It, a spin-off for the Wii, Nintendo DS, and iOS platforms. The latest installment, Skate 3, was released in May 2010.
In the city San Vanellona where skating is mostly outlawed, an unknown skater is aiming to be the best, but after he gets hit by a bus and suffers a fatal injury, his face has to be completely reconstructed. Now with the help of his friends he has to compete in skating contests to make it to the top.
The soundtrack of Skate consists of many punk rock and hip hop songs, many of which are by independent artists such as The Falcon. Artists, such as Tommy Guerrero, XXXChange, and Z-Trip composed songs exclusive to Skate.
The game's "flick it" control system began development long before any graphics had been implemented: the initial prototype simply read analogue stick motions and displayed a basic text message saying what trick had been performed, along with speed and accuracy ratings. The developers found that in order to receive accurate information from the very fast analogue stick motions used when playing the game, input data from each control pad had to be read at a rate of 120 Hz.
The game relies extensively on physics to model the skateboarders' movement. Havok, Endorphin and others were considered, but ultimately a RenderWare package called "Drives" was used to model the joints of the human body. Initially the development team planned to include the ability for the player to get off of the skateboard and walk around, but animating this proved to be too big a challenge for the team to handle. Similarly the developers also wanted players to be able to play as a girl but this was also discarded after proving tough to animate.
Evidence from different versions of EA's official website for Skate show that the game has been through some major changes in development. For example, one screenshot, dated "04/06/2007", shows that San Vanelona was originally planned to be a coastal city, featuring a football stadium, harbour and cruise liner.
Major changes were also made to the soundtrack. Originally planned to feature "Roadhouse Blues" by The Doors, the soundtrack now focuses more heavily on hip-hop. Some songs appear in both studio and remixed form.
The demo was scheduled for release on Xbox Live for August 15, 2007 but was delayed (as stated by Scott Blackwood on the Skate forum) due to a sudden problem with the demo's Skate Reel (video editing) feature, releasing on August 21, 2007. It was released on PlayStation Network in September 2007. The demo let players skate around the San Vanelona Community Center for thirty minutes and learn how to do various tricks as well as create and edit videos.
The mobile version of Skate features two game modes: Thrasher Mode (the main game mode, in which the player completes goals to make the cover of skateboarding magazine Thrasher) and Free Skate (where the player can play on levels previously unlocked in Thrasher Mode). The player plays as a customized skater, who receives tips from pro skaters Chris Cole and Rob Dyrdek, among others, through twelve missions divided in four goals each. Though the game is still set in San Vanelona, there are only three explorable areas: Plaza, Halfpipe and Downtown, aside from linear levels only playable in Thrasher Mode. The mobile version of Skate later won "Cellular Game of the Year" award at the 2008 Interactive Achievement Awards.
IGN gave the Xbox 360 version of skate a 9.0, and the PlayStation 3 version an 8.8. Praise was given to the environments, control scheme, and soundtrack. Criticisms included latency issues with the online multiplayer, odd physics glitches, and the lack of freestyle tricks in both the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game (although it is possible to do lip tricks because of the unique grind engine built into the game). However, IGN have since edited their review of Skate, deleting the paragraph to do with complaints of the PS3 version being worse than the 360 version, after sources on the internet led them to believe there is no difference between the two versions of the game, despite user reviews. IGN has not changed the scoring for the PS3 version of Skate. GameSpot gave it a 7.5 for the Xbox 360 version of the game and a 7.0 for the PS3 version. The reviews praised the game for a good start and innovation, but was criticized for the in-game advertising and product placement. This resulted in its 0.5 lower score. GameSpy gave it a 5 star rating for the 360 version, praising it for the control scheme, presentation, expansive environments, audio, and amount of content. It was criticized for the learning curve, frustrating camera, and the slowdown in online game modes. Gamespy has since given the PS3 version a 5/5 as well. 
In February 2008, EA president Frank Gibeau stated in a presentation for industry analysts that the original game posted bigger numbers on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 than rival Tony Hawk's Proving Ground. Because of these numbers, the company had decided to begin work on a sequel. Skate 2 was officially announced in May 2008  and was released at the end of January 2009.
In September 2009, EA announced the third installment in the Skate franchise, Skate 3, which was released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in May 2010. The game is set in a new fictional city called Port Carverton. New gameplay features include the ability to perform dark slides and underflips and Skate 3 has a stronger emphasis on online team play than the previous games.
- EA : Skate[dead link]
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- [dead link]
- Gerstmann, Jeff (2007-09-14). "Skate for Xbox 360 Review - Xbox 360 Skate Review". Gamespot.com. Retrieved 2011-08-17.
- Gerstmann, Jeff (2007-09-24). "Skate for PlayStation 3 Review - PlayStation 3 Skate Review". Gamespot.com. Retrieved 2011-08-17.
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- Brudvig, Erik (2008-05-12). "Skate 2 Made Official". IGN. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
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