The first three Skate games were traditional, full-priced experiences, but the newest one is evolving for the new age. The upcoming Skate will be a free-to-play live service game in order to be open to as many players as possible.
Some developers from Full Circle talked about the game in a lengthy new video series titled “The Board Room.” Head Product Management Isabelle Mocquard explained the decision to go free-to-play, saying that the team “wanted to remove as many barriers as possible, so that everyone can play together on day one, regardless of price or platform.” Creative Director Cuz Parry went into more detail, stating that part of the decision stemmed from what they heard from the community.
“We believe that making it free-to-play helps us with [being available around the world] because I was talking to a few of the guys in the community, and everyone was like, ‘Oh, I didn’t play Skate 1 or Skate 2,’” said Parry. “And we were like, ‘Why not?’ [and it was because they] couldn’t afford it or he is on PlayStation, they were on Xbox.”
RELATED: OlliOlli World Review: Ascending to Gnarvana
Skate will also have full cross-play and cross-platform progression, meaning users on any system can play together and keep one consistent profile. General Manager Dan McCulloch even said it will be on last and current-gen consoles as well as PC. He briefly talked about it coming to mobile, but it’s “pretty early” on that platform and it will all come together when it’s ready.
The group then addressed the elephant in the room: microtransactions. Skate will have microtransactions, but McCulloch said the game’s model needed the support of a constant revenue stream and then broke down the studio’s philosophy toward them, even laying out four simple rules.
“We knew that to support a never-ending, ever-evolving, free-to-play world of Skate, we’d have to look into different models for the game itself, which means that there will be microtransactions,” said McCulloch. “And we know this is a sensitive subject. That’s why when we decided to explore this model, we made some hard ground rules to follow. The first is that Skate is not pay-to-win. There are no areas of gameplay or the map that you will have to pay to unlock. There won’t be any loot boxes. And there’s no gameplay-altering advantages that you can pay for as well. It doesn’t mean you get some watered-down Skate, either. This is going to be an authentic, bigger-than-ever game for the fans.”
Players will likely be skeptical of microtransactions, especially since Electronic Arts is involved, and Mocquard said it was “understandable to be nervous,” seemingly acknowledging the industry-wide fears over microtransctions, but ones specifically concerning EA. Mocquard said they looked at games that were doing microtransactions well and ones that weren’t. They are still exploring different options, but she said that they are looking at fellow EA game Apex Legends where “spending money is totally optional and it’s mostly about cosmetics and convenience.” This model also dodges a complaint about the other Skate games where DLC would split the community between those who plunked down the extra cash and those who did not.
RELATED: OlliOlli World: Void Riders DLC Review: Unidentified Flying Ollie
Parry said that, while the business model is different and is an “authentic evolution” of the series and skating culture, it still “feels like Skate” and has the “chaos, slams, and fun with physics” that the other titles were known for. Feedback is going to be essential in this process, which is why Full Circle is getting community members to play it this early on. The team noted that it deliberated bringing in people to play it at such a primitive state, but also stated that this was the way to make the best game possible. It’s why the visuals aren’t finished; the gameplay is more important to them.
The video is full of other information about the game, too. The game will come out when it is ready, whenever that may be. It is also not called Skate 4, but it is not a sequel, remake, reboot, or remaster. It’s not an “iterative title” and it will evolve over time for “years to come” with new content drops and seasons. It’s just “Skate, period,” which is why it is stylized to have a period at the end. The game also doesn’t place in San Vanelona anymore, but will take place in San Vansterdam, which is thought to be somewhat of a sister to city to San Vanelona.