Skate, the EA skating sequel that we once dreamed of as Skate 4, is finally coming, and it'll definitely be landing on PC. It's following on the heels of a recent boom of skating games like Skater XL, Skatebird, Session, Tanuki Sunset and the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 remakes. And with a new Skate on the horizon, we might as well be fated for a veritable renaissance of virtual kickflips.
Skate still seems like it's got a good amount of dev time ahead of it, but below you’ll find everything we do know about Skate so far, along with some educated guesses.
Is there a Skate release date?
Skate doesn't have a release date, we know it's not releasing this year. A May 2023 EA financial report listed the publisher's upcoming games releases through March 2024, and Skate wasn't mentioned. In other words, don't expect Skate 4 until later next year, at the earliest.
After a 2021 confirmation from EA that a new Skate was coming, Full Circle, the new EA studio handling the new Skate game's development, acknowledged the game's still being worked on with a release of some dev footage. While there wasn't any mention of a release date, there's now a closed beta sign-up on the Skate website. If you're lucky, you might be able to get your hands on it before the rest of us.
Here's the latest Skate playtest highlights from May 2023
While this Skate playtest footage is clearly marked "pre-pre-alpha gameplay," it seems like the Skate devs at Full Circle are chugging along. Sure, there are still plenty of placeholder models and geometry on display here, but there's a refreshing confidence to the Skate series hallmark gameplay. Including the hurling of ragdolled bodies.
What other Skate footage is there?
With this "Still Working On It" video, the Skate devs at Full Circle finally gave us a glimpse at the upcoming skating sequel, proving its development is still very much alive and kickflipping. The game's still very much in its early stages, with the video describing itself as "pre-pre-pre-alpha gameplay." Gridboxes and untextured meshes abound here, but even so, seeing the fluidity and realistic motion of a Skate sequel with 2022 tech is a delight to look at.
Also worth noting: shortly after the release of the Still Working On It video, Full Circle had to release a statement to acknowledge that a cracked version of an internal development build of the game had leaked into the wild. That build, some footage of which you can see on Twitter or on Reddit if you're so inclined, is from an even earlier version than what's shown in the Still Working On It video, and should be considered even less representative of what the game might look like.
If you're looking for more Skate, check in on the Skate YouTube channel, where Full Circle regularly uploads gameplay highlights from playtests.
Skate will be a free-to-play live game
Skate's developers at Full Circle are pitching the game as "an authentic evolution of the Skate franchise that can be enjoyed for years to come." Instead of a starting point for new, numbered entries released every couple years, the next Skate game will be a free-to-play, live-service game, continually updated with new content, events, and seasonal additions.
Free-to-play means microtransactions, of course, but Dan McCulloch, general manager at Full Circle, was up-front about the studio's "hard ground rules" for Skate monetization: "Skate is not pay-to-win, there are no areas of gameplay or the map that you'll have to pay to unlock, there won't be any loot boxes, and there's no gameplay-altering advantages that you can pay for."
Presumably, this means the game's monetization will rely on optional, purchasable cosmetics. Specifics about those cosmetics, and how many of them will be unlockable through gameplay, remain to be seen.
What will Skate's gameplay activities be like?
In its Board Room series on YouTube, Full Circle listed four main types of activity concepts that they're working with for Skate. As you complete them, you'll earn rewards depending on the activity's difficulty, which increase in level from "Own It," to "Crush It," to "Shut It Down."
Here's the four activity concepts Full Circle is currently working with:
- Challenges: Bite-size, solo objectives like those in previous Skate games. Here, they rotate out regularly, so you've got a reliable set of new things to do
- Pop-Ups: Dynamic, cooperative city events. An example given was that a Pop-Up might appear requiring players to cooperatively earn 50,000 points in an area.
- Community Events: Carnival game-like public activities meant to celebrate the spirit of the cherished Skate pastime of hurling your skater's aggrieved body around like a meaty sock puppet.
- Throwdowns: User-initiated, customizable, competitive activities that you can place anywhere on the map. Sort of like Skate's version of a private match that you can initiate on the fly.
Skate's multiplayer will have cooperative park-building
Full Circle hasn't fully detailed what Skate's multiplayer will look like, aside from a passing mention during this dev video that it'll be "massive multiplayer." The one thing we do know about this MMO-style Skate experience is that it'll apparently feature "collabozones"—areas in the Skate's city of San Vansterdam where players can collaboratively build out a skate-park with each other in real time.
No specifics yet about the mechanics for the collabozones, of course, but the devs described a recent playtest where a player threw together a "huge mega ramp" in a collabozone, attracting their fellow testers to hurl themselves down—and build off of—the monolithic impromptu incline.
Who's developing Skate?
A few months after announcing a new Skate, EA revealed it formed new studio Full Circle to handle development on the next Skate game. The Canadian studio is hiring up for lots of roles, so we presume that development is still relatively early on.
The studio is being headed up by former Xbox Live general manager Daniel McCulloch with creative leadership by Deran Chun and Chris "Cuz" Parry, both of who were part of Black Box, an EA subsidiary and the studio behind the original Skate games that was shut down in 2013.
Parry especially became the face of the franchise, with his infectious enthusiasm making him a popular figure among players. He was credited by many as being a driving force behind the authenticity of the game, so he’s a safe pair of hands for whatever comes next. He seemed very excited about the project during the EA Play stream as well, which bodes well.
Parry and Chung also highlighted Laura Miele, recently appointed as EA’s Chief of Worldwide Studios, as being a key figure in championing the need for Skate 4 at the upper echelons and ultimately getting the ball, or board, moving.
Will Skate come to PC?
Thanks to a tweet from the developers, we know for sure that Skate 4 will be the first entry in the series on PC.
Wait, it's definitely Skate 4, right?
Yes, and no. The EA Play stream itself seemed to dance around calling it Skate 4, which led some to believe that Skate being back might just mean a remastered trilogy. However, in a subsequent interview with Jenkem, Skate developers Cuz Parry and Deran Chung confirmed that it’s definitely an all new Skate game, but they were coy about confirming a name. Now we know they've dropped the number, and the sequel is just called Skate. Technically, it's "skate." (with a period), but you have to draw a line with stylizing a game title in your write-ups somewhere.
How will Skate play?
"It’s going to feel like a Skate game… It’s not going to be something different," Parry and Chung told Jenkem, so that authentic but accessible playstyle will remain. However, not only have graphics and technical abilities advanced since Skate 3, the skateboarding scene itself has continued to evolve. Skate was always about being true to skating first and foremost, so expect it to introduce some new features, places, and faces.
And If you’re only vaguely acquainted with the series, here seems like as good a place as any to explain how Skate plays.
While the Tony Hawk series was all about stringing together massive trick combos through the air, manuals, reverts, and grinding, Skate was a simpler experience. Rather than the button mashing, fighting game style combos of THPS, Skate used a 'flick to trick' method. This involved using the analogue sticks to control your skater’s feet, a more technical approach which offered more control, but one with a steeper learning curve than skating games usually offered, and one which limited your ability to pull off zany McTwist to Christ Air into a triple kickflip combos.
Don't expect anything as complex as Session's control scheme though. While it maps each stick to a foot, Skate maps one stick to both feet and the other for steering.
Will Skate 4 have the usual customization features and creation tools?
Almost definitely. Parry and Chung have spoken about feeling like they were ahead of the curve with the Create-A-Spot mode and community features of the Skate games, in particular Skate 3. Though you could still create skateparks in the game, most often you were left nudging benches and ramps near stairs or rails to make more realistic chains.
Despite the more grounded mentality of the games, Skate 3 did go all out on the extras, especially when it came to the DLC. Parry, Chung, and the rest of the team were under no illusions that Skate 3 might very well be the end of the road, so that’s why the add-ons like green screen mode were thrown at us; Black Box didn’t want to leave anything in the tank.
With Miele becoming EA’s Chief of Worldwide Studios in 2018, Skate finally had a voice on the inside willing to push for a revival. More than that though, while Skate’s last release was in 2010, the series got another burst of popularity around 2013 to 2014 when YouTuber streamers picked it up and helped elevate it to the level of cult classic.
Wait, 2018? So when the servers came back online that was a hint, right?
Actually, no. While the Skate 3 servers did get rebooted and come back online randomly in 2018 and it did coincide with Miele’s early attempts to bring Skate back from the dead, the events are unrelated.
"I think someone rebooted a computer by accident," Parry and Chung said on the issue. An explanation which is boring, not at all magical, but probably true. Oh well.
Of course, they couldn’t really comment on anything at the time, as they might very well have been in preliminary discussions about Skate 4, but they must have been just as confused as the rest of us about why the servers were suddenly running again.