Skate 4 is finally in development, and probably coming to PC. Skating games in general are back in fashion, with Skater XL, Skatebird, Session, Tanuki Sunset and the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 Remakes all either released or currently in development. For some though, EA's realistic but accessible approach to virtual skating could make the next Skate game the cream of the crop.
We don't have all of the concrete details yet, but below you’ll find everything we do know about Skate 4 so far, along with some educated guesses.
What is the Skate 4 release date?
There’s no indication that the game is coming in the immediate future, we haven’t seen any gameplay footage or concept art—we don't even have an official title. For all we know Skate 4 could have received the greenlight the day before it was announced at EA Play 2020. After 10 years, we can wait a little more, and it’s better to do it right than do it fast. 2021 is optimistic but possible, although 2022 seems more likely.
A lot depends on the scale of the game the resources EA affords the development team, and we simply just don’t know what they're working with yet.
Who's developing Skate 4?
EA has now announced that it's formed the 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 4 come to PC?
We have no idea at this point. It will now be firmly in the Xbox Series X and PS5 era, and Skate has traditionally been console-exclusive with mobile spin-offs. Nintendo Switch feels like a solid bet alongside the Xbox and PlayStation editions, but there’s simply not enough to go on for PC right now.
We'd be surprised if Skate 4 didn't hit PC, given how little of EA's catalog doesn't hit Steam and Origin these days. Even Madden made a big return to PC, so Skate 4 on PC feels more likely than not.
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 4 developers Cuz Parry and Deran Chung confirmed that it’s definitely an all new Skate game, but the title is yet to be confirmed.
The stream did end with one of the Cuz Perry saying "Skate forever!", which might even be a clue to the title (Skate 4Ever). We’ll just have to wait and see. After a ten year gap, EA might be wary of numbering the series, so we may see a subtitle instead. A soft reboot could well be on the cards.
How will Skate 4 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.