Skate's janky playtest videos are making unfinished games look cool

Skate has posted yet another video of insider highlights from its closed playtests, all of which makes me want to play the skateboarding game because of how hard I'm laughing at these skaters absolutely eating it. I cannot play it, however, because I have not been deemed worthy by EA to be an insider. That's a shame, because these insiders look like they're having a lot of fun.

The footage, which the watermark describes as "pre-pre-alpha gameplay," is just what it says: Highlights of skaters smacking into things, grabbing onto architecture, traversing absurd-looking level designer courses, and even, yes, pulling off some tricks. An overlay of some happily choppy skater rock completes the vibe.

And that vibe is that this makes playing what is surely a janky, broken mess of an in-development game look very enjoyable. It's probably kind of fun, but also not! You can see how that last guy just kind of inexplicably slides right off his board mid-grind like his shoes have been soaped. The Skate reboot is clearly still early, and yet instead of wincing at the jank, I'm just laughing. There's just something about watching bendy silly putty people get in horrible accidents and then jump right back up and high five each other that's delightful. It's like consequence-free Jackass.

I found these highlights particularly fun because they show measured growth from the Still Working On It trailer released early last year. Watch that one, then the August 2022 and November 2022 playtest highlights for a look at the game as it grows in development. Animations and physics, especially, get noticeably less stiff from video to video.

Skate is a reboot of EA's much beloved open world skateboarding series that ended over a decade ago. The originals were known for their unique gesture-based trick system, and their chaotic approach to skateboarding, letting you go to all kinds of places you shouldn't as a matter of course. The new Skate will let you do much the same, kickflipping and superman-ing all over the fictional city of San Vansterdam. As you can see in the highlight it'll also have wild course creation tools, letting you make the kind of bizarre sky-palace sandboxes that have made games like Trackmania famous.

You can learn more on the Skate website and sign up for a shot at the insider playtest as well.

Jon Bolding is a games writer and critic with an extensive background in strategy games. When he's not on his PC, he can be found playing every tabletop game under the sun.