When EA stated that it isn’t working on Skate 4, skateboarding fans around the world were extremely disappointed. These players want to feel the exhilaration of landing a kickflip or completing a wicked grind, but it’s clear that EA isn’t going to give that to them anytime soon.
But fans of EA’s Skate series may have found a savior in the indie skateboarding sim Session. Developer creā-ture Studios is inspired by the Skate franchise and skateboarding culture and feels that its game could appeal to fans who want a more realistic and more hardcore skateboarding game experience.
Session‘s Skate influence is most evident in its control scheme, as each analog stick on the controller represents the character’s feet. Players have to consider their balance as well as catching tricks, and the flipping and scooping speed as they try to pull off tricks in the game’s recreation of New York City.
Speaking to Game Rant, Marc-Andre Houde, the game’s creative and artistic director and the co-founder of creā-ture Studios explains the thinking behind the game and its realism:
The way we see the game and how we want to make it is really we are targeting a niche market and we are trying to serve it as well as we can.
Sometimes [game developers] try to do too much to please everyone so they make a lot of compromises and they make sure the experience is available for every skillset. It restricts the experience for more advanced gamers or more hardcore people. So, we decided to take it the other way for Session.
The game “might appeal to the Tony Hawk Pro Skater audience but we are more targeting the Skate audience,” adds Houde.
The Session development team is keenly aware of fans’ expectations, though, as Houde admits that it is a “good” kind of pressure. “We really feel like we have what it takes to be this contender but on the other side people are always expecting a Skate 4,” says Houde. The team’s “biggest challenge right now ” is proving that Session can “bring something fresh and [move the skateboarding game] experience forward with the concept we have.”
Session‘s strongest selling point – and the biggest deviation from the tried and tested skateboarding game formula – is that its gameplay fully embodies skateboarding culture. That means that Session ditches the points scoring in favor of “giving yourself personal challenges,” continuing to do tricks will make skaters better at them, and the game has much more of a focus on the social aspect of the sport too.
This includes a video sharing and editing mode where players can make their own gameplay montages, easily sharing them on social media and getting “direct feedback from fans.” Real-life skaters are already familiar with this sort of thing but it especially fits in a skateboarding video game. After all, the Let’s Plays of Skate 3 are one reason why people are so eager for a brand new skateboarding game to be released.
As Houde stresses, Session‘s focus on the reality of skateboarding is ways away from the arcade-y gameplay of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series. No one should go into Session expecting to be able to shoot fireworks from their boards. Rather, the game is made for those who have the “skateboarding flame” and have that passion for the sport, as Session‘s developers share that love of skateboarding too. For those craving the more serious tone of EA’s Skate, Session could be the perfect game.
Session is aiming to release on PC and Xbox One (via Steam Early Access and Xbox Game Preview) in July 2019. It is currently aiming to raise funds on Kickstarter.