Surely the fact that the mere mention of Skate 3 was enough for people to yell, “Make Skate great again!” at EA should be enough to gauge how much we yearn for a new skateboarding game.
After the absolutely abysmal mess that was Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5, the tension and excitement for a new Skate only grew. So, brace yourself when I say… we’re still not getting one.
Like waiting for a bus for ages and getting two at once, use that analogy for skateboarding games instead. That’s right, not one but two realistic-esque sidewalk-surfing titles are on their way, in the guise of Skater XL and Session. Oh, and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 are getting remastered for all of your arcade, over the top nostalgia trips.
However, this is an “all’s fair…” piece. There’ll be no fighting it out or comparing who’s the best here. Instead, this is a quick rundown of what to look forward to in these upcoming titles. Well, I say “upcoming”, they’ve both been on Early Access for a while, but this is for those who don’t take that plunge:
Skater XL – launching 28th July 2020
First up is Easy Day Studios’ Skater XL, scheduled to launch as a full game on both console and Steam on 28th July. Definitely more along the simulator lines than THPS, Skater XL promises complete control over your board and environments.
Boasting a massive trick creation system, Easy Day are confident the possibilities to devise your own insane tricks to test out on legendary locales will be its strongest point.
Besides the immediate Skate-surrogate vibes we get from this (and Session), the next parallel I can draw is Tony Hawk’s Project 8. For those that remember, its unique trick mechanic allowed you to slow time and use both thumbsticks to create crazy rotational tricks with the board. The “create your own trick” system feels reminiscent of that, giving you control over how each trick looks and lands.
Of the two games, it’s also the only one with an actual release date ahead. Will it fill the absence that EA left when it killed its popular franchise? We can only hope so in July.
Session – available TBC
Whilst it may not have a readily available release date, and has been in Early Access longer, Session is looking like a return to “serious skateboarding”.
Doing away with the whole “pulling 1440° triple flip in space” nonsense that Mr. Hawk and crew devolved into, Session looks to be bringing back to the streets.
Alright, terrible youth parlance aside, Session does actually look to be the serious take on skateboarding, as it were. And you know what? As someone who enjoyed just making simple and stylish looking lines in Skate, I’m all for it.
It’s just unfortunate that there’s no release date in sight for Session yet, but I’d wager Crea-ture Studios are waiting for to see how well Skater XL does. That way, they can add all the spit and polish needed to shine brighter than Easy Day’s efforts. Again, not wanting to compare the two, that’s the nature of the beast. If you’re keen to give the preview a go, there’s a trial up for Xbox players now.
Lace Up Those DC’s, Grab Your Board and Get Gnarly… Or Something
As I said, I’m very excited about both. I don’t have the means to play Early Access, but my brother has Skater XL and for its warts and all progress [a few months ago] it was a blast. Insanely sensitive collision detection though.
But if you are like me, having to wait for console releases, I can only imagine the future’s looking bright. In a time of digging up past releases, remasters and such, what better time than something new to come and steal Skate’s now-dusty crown?
Skater XL and Session are both available now on Steam Early Access at £15.49 each. Session is coming to Xbox Game Preview on the 17th of June, with a gameplay trial available now.