Skate (video game)
|Developer(s)||EA Black Box|
EA Mobile (Mobile)
|Mode(s)||Single-player, multiplayer (closed)|
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.
Skate received "generally favorable" reviews from critics on both platforms according to review aggregator Metacritic. 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). The reviews praised the game for a good start and innovation, but the game was criticized for the in-game advertising and product placement. GameSpy praised the Xbox 360 version 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. In Japan, where the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions were ported for release on March 19, 2008, Famitsu gave both console versions each a score of two eights, one seven, and one eight for a total of 31 out of 40.
The New York Times gave the game universal acclaim, saying that "While Skate has some small flaws (it would have been a good idea to make your skater translucent whenever he blocks something important on screen), it is rare to find a game that comes so close to doing everything right." Digital Spy gave the Xbox 360 version four stars out of five and called it "a superb example of how an extreme sports game should be done." However, The A.V. Club gave the game a C+, saying: "A technically strong game tailored to hardcore skaters (and people up for a really serious challenge), this one will alienate casual gamers, as the learning curve can be excruciating."
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. Skate 3 has a stronger emphasis on content creation and online team play than the previous games.
A fourth installment for the eighth generation of video game consoles has been eagerly awaited by fans. On EA's Instagram page, users consistently comment on posts begging developers to make Skate 4.
In September 2016, skateboarding park The Berrics launched a campaign to get EA to develop Skate 4. In the campaign the park uses the slogan "Make EA Skate Again", which is a parody on Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign slogan.
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