Skate is still somewhat of an enigma, despite leaking, like, every five minutes. Today, during a 20-minute livestream, publisher EA revealed a ton of information—on purpose, in this case—about the next entry in its long-dormant skateboarding series, including a surprise pivot to a free-to-play model. Here’s everything you need to know.
As the fourth entry in the series, following 2010’s Skate 3, you’d think the title for the next Skate game would come with some sort of modifier. Last week, I wrote that “the next Skate game … better be titled Sk4te or both my colleague Jeremy Winslow and I will cry real tears.” Welp, someone break out the tissues! The next Skate game is simply called—brace yourself—Skate. RIP my seventh-best joke of 2022.
Skate and Skate 2 took place in the fictional California-inspired city of San Vanelona. Skate 3 took place in the fictional California-inspired city of Port Carverton. When it launches in [date TBD], Skate will take place in the fictional California-inspired city of San Vansterdam. It will not take place in “Fun City” (sadly also fictional), as a previously leaked version of an earlier build indicated.
EA’s Full Circle studio, which is leading development on Skate, did not share a release date. When it does come out, it’ll be playable on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC, with mobile versions in the works too. (“We’re pretty early on mobile, but we want to get the controls and everything to feel great,” said Dan McCulloch, Full Circle’s general manager.) The game will feature full crossplay and cross-progression across all platforms and console generations. And yes, as mentioned, it’ll be free-to-play.
As with any game based on a free-to-play model, Skate will have microtransactions. EA, perhaps the company most singularly associated with the eyebrow-raising reputation regarding microtransactions, said Skate won’t be pay-to-win. When asked if the microtransactions will be purely cosmetic, a representative for EA redirected Kotaku toward today’s stream.
In the stream, EA didn’t say whether or not microtransactions will be purely cosmetic, but shared a few details about what they’ll look like. Even if you refuse to spend a penny, you’ll still have full access to all of San Vansterdam (i.e., parts of the city won’t be gated behind a paywall). And you can’t pay your way into getting a competitive edge over other players. (Unlike certain other celebrity-backed skateboarding games, the Skate series has never had stats or min-maxing or anything like that; victory is purely based on your grasp of the flick-based control scheme.)
Like Halo (and, per Bloomberg reporting, Assassin’s Creed), Skate is another hallmark series from the late 2000s that’s pivoting to a live-service model. Rather than numbered sequels, the developers will treat Skate as an iterative game that changes over time. Sounds like it’ll support some large multiplayer lobbies, too. Right now, Full Circle is currently playtesting lobbies of up to 60 players, creative director Chris “Cuz” Parry—history’s most perfect name for the creative director of a skateboarding game—told GameSpot.
In today’s footage, if you look close, you’ll see a button prompt for a session marker. Few features are more core to playing Skate than the session marker. By pressing down on the directional pad, you can leave a spawn point where you’re standing. Press up on the pad and you’ll instantly return to it from anywhere on the map—often with no loading period, if you’re within a close enough range. (This year’s snowboarding game Shredders launched with a similar feature.) The session marker replicates the IRL feeling you get when repeatedly skating a spot with your friends. I cannot possibly imagine Skate without session markers, so while this may seem minor to you, I am over the freakin’ moon to see they’re making an official return for the next game.
It’s no secret that game development is typically a tight-lipped process, with details kept under wraps until the very last minute. I have nooo clue when Skate is coming out—hopefully before the heat death of the universe—but it’s clearly very, very early on. (All footage shown thus far is marked “pre-pre-pre alpha.”) Given the usual secrecy around these things, it’s remarkable to see EA pulling back the curtain this early in the cycle. And while, sure, it could all be some cynical marketing ploy, I’m gonna actually choose to be optimistic here and read it as a sign that Full Circle legitimately cares about doing right by fans. I guess we’ll be able to see soon enough, as Full Circle will start opening up public playtests in the coming months. You can sign up on EA’s website.