The PC needs a new skateboarding game

The PC is the perfect platform for a skateboarding game in this day and age.

The Skate series hasn't made it to PC... yet.

Picture this: I'm sitting in my chair, and I hear a faint rumbling. I turn down my speakers and listen very, very carefully. I can hear the absolute furious tapping of thousands of smartphone screens. It can only be one thing: people demanding Skate 4 on EA's Instagram account. Seriously, go look at any of the pictures on that account and see how each one is plagued with pleas for Skate 4. EA might have stopped making its fantastic skateboarding series, even shutting down the developer responsible for it, but the passion in the leagues of fans has not died down.

I honestly think they'll make a Skate 4 one day, especially with how much fans seem to want it. But even with that, it's hard to forget where skateboarding video games started—with Tony Hawk. Sure, there were games before the Birdman took the spotlight, but none of them came even close to capturing the sport like the Pro Skater series did. Unfortunately, things haven't gone very well for the Activision-published series in recent years, with Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 receiving an overwhelmingly negative critical reception in 2015. However, earlier this year, Hawk told Jenkem Magazine that he was making a new game without Activision. Nothing is known about his new game, but when it and the elusive Skate sequel come to fruition, they need to come to PC.

What we have now

On the PC, we don't have much to choose from when it comes to the extreme sport. The Skate series never made its way to PC, and the Tony Hawk games that did are not easy to come by anymore—Amazon and Ebay seem to be your safest, most legitimate bets. I played a lot of Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2 on the PC, and thankfully, the demo is still easy to come by—you can download it from Archive.org and play it on Windows 10. However, it is a bit janky; it'll only run on my second monitor for some reason. The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3 demo from Archive.org, on the other hand, is near perfect.

Unfortunately, those won't satiate any desire for a skateboarding game on PC, with both only having one level. As for actual games, Steam offers a few. The OlliOlli series is fantastic and definitely worth checking out, but it's not exactly the same thing. It's a side-scrolling, 2D skateboarding game that pushes you to combo the entire level with flips, grinds, and manuals. It's great, but if you want a 3D skateboarding game, then you're a bit out of luck. Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD, which sounds good on paper, is still available on Steam. However, anyone familiar with the series will quickly learn that everything about it feels off. The control of the skateboard, the available levels, and the soundtrack are not what you want from a game called Pro Skater in any way. It's an astounding disappointment.

Tony Hawk's Pro Skater HD doesn't recapture what's great about the series.

PC gamers are a creative bunch

Let's just say the two main reasons I'd rather play a skateboarding game on PC is the higher resolution and frame rate. Those are easy reasons. However, there's something that the PC gaming community has that would fit perfectly with a skateboarding game: mods and custom content. Skateboarding games are made for customizing everything from your deck and wheels to your skater and levels. And that's on consoles, too. Bringing a skateboarding game to PC would unlock the potential to do so much more. Imagine being able to skate in your favourite Star Wars locales or even skating as one of your favourite Star Wars characters—you could skate as Darth Maul in Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 3, but there was no chance in hell of skating as everyone's favourite character, Jar Jar Binks.

On top of that, a sports game like The Golf Club lets you create elaborate golf courses with a diverse tool set; the only problem is it's golf. Now, don't get me wrong: I love me some golf. But put that tool set into the hands of a creative skating fan and watch them create an exciting urban playground for you and your board.

Mouse and keyboard controls could actually work

Most of you probably haven't heard of Griptape Backbone, but it's a skateboarding game that... well, it isn't actually very much about skateboarding. But it does have an interesting control scheme for pulling off tricks. You hold a mouse button, as you flick in the direction you want for the corresponding trick. This is similar to how the Skate series works, where you flick the right analog stick to control your ollies and flips—the left analog stick can then be used for spinning. While it's not the skateboarding game you want, Griptape Backbone is bizarre and worth checking out, especially since it's free and on Steam. Additionally, I'd just love to see its control scheme taken advantage of by a much bigger skateboarding game.

The PC also needs a hockey game

EA doesn't pay as much attention to the PC as it should. Not only has the platform never experienced Skate, but it's missed out on the NHL series for almost ten years. PC Gamer's Evan Lahti explains why the PC needs a hockey game.

The PC delivers the physics we want

The obvious benefits for a skateboarding game on PC are there with the smoother frame rates and better physics, but one of the best parts of Skate 3 was the actual bailing—and improved physics would help there, too. The Hall of Meat mode would let you bail off your board and perform various poses in an attempt to break as many bones as possible. I always thought this was hilarious and good, but it made me want something more akin to Mortal Kombat X. I take a huge ramp, only to kick my board away, and aim myself like a torpedo directly at the ground. As I hit the concrete, it zooms in on the point of contact as my X-ray reveals the damage. It sounds gruesome, but it's a goofy, fun little mode that reminds us to wear a helmet in the real world.

Projects already in the works

As I said earlier, Tony Hawk has a new game he's working on, and I can't honestly believe there isn't at least one person working on a new Skate game for EA—even if that one person is only working on a pitch. However, there are some skateboarding projects that we know are in the works, and you should probably keep your eye on them.

Decksplash - Surgeon Simulator developer Bossa Studios is making its own skateboarding game, but it might not be what you expect—actually, from the Surgeon Simulator dev, it's EXACTLY what you'd expect. In Decksplash, there are no people, only boards; and these boards can be shaped like anything from hot dogs and lingerie-wearing police officers to cavemen and ice cream on a stick. The game isn't as much about pulling off tricks as it is about covering the ground with paint in a 3v3 turf war match. It's sort of like the Paint mode from the Pro Skater series. This, of course, isn't exactly what I'm looking for, but it looks like a lot of fun. In fact, Bossa Studios recently invited 1,000 PC Gamer readers to try out the alpha test.

True Skate: Big Screen - There's a mobile game called True Skate where you tap your on-screen board to make it do tricks. Sadly, I've never taken to it as tapping my phone isn't the skateboarding experience I want. However, developer True Axis took itself to Kickstarter in the hopes of making a version for PC that, yes, you can play with a controller. It actually doesn't look half-bad, though I have some reservations. True Axis said that in addition to controllers, it would launch with a "mobile touch based control system," which doesn't give me the highest hopes. And after only earning AU$21,674 of its AU$650,000 goal, the Kickstarter was cancelled on April 12. However, True Axis says it will "push on and explore other options" to make True Skate: BS happen. Unfortunately, there have been no updates on its social channels since the cancellation. I'll keep my eye on it and update you if anything noteworthy is revealed.

Project Session is promising, but I'm keeping my expectations in check.

Project Session - Not much has actually been shown of Project Session, but it looks and sounds promising. It seems similar to Skate in the few videos developer Crea-ture Studios has released on its YouTube channel, as well as a photo of the control scheme the studio posted on its Facebook page. Late last month, the team posted pictures of its motion capture filming, which surprised me because I didn't realize the scope of the project had allowed for something like mocap. It's something I'll definitely be keeping my eye on, though I'm going to hold back my excitement until much more is shown. 

Let me do a dang Benihana!

With rumblings of skateboarding video games coming from several corners of development, I'm excited as ever to see some new games based on my favourite extreme sport. While I don't know that I'll ever feel the way I did during those early years with the Pro Skater series, I know there are talented people out there that can make exciting games. And whether it's Hawk, EA, or a small developer, I'm excited to see what they come up with.