Skate (video game)
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|Developer(s)||EA Black Box|
|Designer(s)||Scott Blackwood (executive producer)|
|Platform(s)||Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, mobile phone|
|Release date(s)||Xbox 360|
|Mode(s)||Single-player, multiplayer, online multiplayer|
|Media||Blu-ray Disc, DVD|
Skate (marketed as skate.) is a skateboarding video game developed by EA Black Box for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. It was released in North America on September 17, 2007 for the Xbox 360 and September 24, 2007 for the PlayStation 3 and in Europe on September 28, 2007 for the Xbox 360 and October 5, 2007 for the PlayStation 3. As of February 1, 2008, Skate has outsold the 2007 skateboarding game Tony Hawk's Proving Ground by a ratio of almost 2 to 1 on seventh generation video game consoles. A sequel to Skate, Skate 2, has been released for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, as well as Skate It, a spin-off for the Wii and Nintendo DS. Skate 3 will be released 2010.
The player controls a custom-designed skateboarder in the fictional town of San Vanelona. Skating challenges are marked on a mini-map, along with stores and subway stations that allow the player to traverse the city quickly. As the player develops their skills and performs various tasks (such as completing certain tricks while being filmed), sponsorship and notability are acquired, eventually leading to participation in the X Games. "Filming" challenges allow the player to create a line of tricks to meet the filming goals; the player may also place a session marker to return to a spot quickly after finishing a line. Several "own the spot" locations throughout the city allow the player to try to claim that spot by beating a certain score requirement, thus "owning" the spot from other skaters. Additionally, there are jam sessions and "death races" against other AI-controlled characters. Completing challenges will generally unlock new clothing and equipment items, characters, and additional challenges to compete in. Players are able to create and edit short video clips (15 to 30 seconds) at any time, selecting desired camera angles and video effects, and upload them to EA's "Skate Reel" website to share with others.
Dissimilar to the Tony Hawk skateboarding series in which most tricks are initiated by button presses, the player initiates tricks in Skate using the analog sticks, pulling and pushing in various directions and combinations with other parts of the controller to launch ollies, nollies, grabs, manuals and flip tricks. Mid-air spins and other unique stunts are also performed in the same manner. Grinds require the player to land on an appropriate surface, with the landing type determining the type of grind that is performed. A line of tricks is generated by continuing to perform tricks without letting a multiplier meter run out. Player attributes such as balance or trick ability are not based on earned statistics and do not artificially improve as the player progresses. All tricks possible in the game are available to the player from the beginning, with one goal to successfully complete each trick listed in a trick book.
Skate allows players to freestyle or compete against other players online in jam sessions, races, S-K-A-T-E and own the spot challenges, using selected sections of the San Vanelona map.
The mobile version of Skate features two game modes: Thrasher Mode (the main game mode, in which the player completes goals to make the cover of skateboarding magazine Thrasher) and Free Skate (where the player can play on levels previously unlocked in Thrasher Mode). The player plays as a customized skater, who receives tips from pro skaters Danny Way, Chris Cole, Rob Dyrdek and Mike Carroll, through twelve missions divided in four goals each. Though the game is still set in San Vanelona, there are only three explorable areas: Plaza, Halfpipe and Downtown, aside from linear levels only playable in Thrasher Mode. The mobile version of Skate later won "Cellular Game of the Year" award at the 2008 Interactive Achievement Awards.
The demo was scheduled for release on Xbox Live for August 15, 2007 but was delayed (as stated by Scott Blackwood on the Skate forum) due to a sudden problem with the demo's Skate Reel (video editing) feature, releasing on August 21, 2007. It was released on PlayStation Network in September 2007. The demo let players skate around the San Vanelona Community Center for thirty minutes and learn how to do various tricks as well as create and edit videos.
The game's "flick it" control system began development long before any graphics had been implemented: the initial prototype simply read analogue stick motions and displayed a basic text message saying what trick had been performed, along with speed and accuracy ratings. The developers found that in order to receive accurate information from the very fast analogue stick motions used when playing the game, input data from each control pad had to be read at a rate of 120Hz.
The game relies extensively on physics to model the skateboarders' movement. Havok, Endorphin and others were considered, but ultimately a RenderWare package called "Drives" was used to model the joints of the human body.
Evidence from different versions of EA's official website for Skate show that the game has been through some major changes in development. For example, one screenshot, dated "04/06/2007", shows that San Vanelona was originally planned to be a coastal city, featuring a football stadium, harbour and cruise liner.
Major changes were also made to the soundtrack. Originally planned to feature "Roadhouse Blues" by The Doors, the soundtrack now focuses more heavily on hip-hop. Some songs appear in both studio and remixed form.
The soundtrack of Skate consists of many punk rock and hip hop songs, many whom are independent artists such as The Falcon. Some songs in the game are exclusive to Skate, such as Tommy Guerrero, XXXChange, and Z-Trip.
IGN gave the Xbox 360 version of Skate a 9.0, and the PlayStation 3 version an 8.8. Praise was given to the environments, control scheme, and soundtrack. Criticisms included latency issues with the online multiplayer, odd physics glitches, and the lack of freestyle tricks in both the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game (although it is possible to do lip tricks because of the unique grind engine built into the game). However, IGN have since edited their review of Skate, deleting the paragraph to do with complaints of the PS3 version being worse than the 360 version, after sources on the internet lead them to believe there is no difference between the two versions of the game, despite user reviews. IGN has not changed the scoring for the PS3 version of Skate; it is still scored 0.2 lower than the 360 version. GameSpot gave it a 7.5 for the Xbox 360 version of the game and a 7.0 for the PS3 version. The reviews praised the game for a good start and innovation, but was criticized for the in-game advertising and product placement. The PS3 version was also given another demerit the 360 version did not have: an unstable frame rate. This resulted in its 0.5 lower score. GameSpy gave it a 5 star rating for the 360 version, praising it for the control scheme, presentation, expansive environments, audio, and amount of content. It was criticized for the learning curve, frustrating camera, and the slowdown in online game modes. Gamespy has since given the PS3 version a 5/5 as well.
In February 2008, EA games president Frank Gibeau stated in a presentation for industry analysts that the original game posted bigger numbers on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 than rival Tony Hawk's Proving Ground. Because of these numbers, the company had decided to begin work on a sequel. Skate 2 was officially announced in May 2008  and was released at the end of January 2009.
In September 2009, EA games announced the third installment of their Skate franchise, Skate 3, due for release on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in May 2010. The setting of the game is now in a new fictional city called Port Carverton. Dark slides and underflips are now present. The game is currently being developed by the EA Black Box studio.
- ^ EA : Skate
- ^ Skate at Game.co.uk
- ^ "Skate outsells Tony Hawk 'nearly' 2 to 1". Joystiq. 2008-01-01. http://www.joystiq.com/2008/02/01/skate-outsells-tony-hawk-nearly-2-to-1/. Retrieved 2008-08-06.
- ^ "Previews: Skate, Hands-on with the upcoming skating game's video tools.". 1UP.com. 2007-05-07. http://www.1up.com/do/previewPage?cId=3159274. Retrieved 2008-08-06.
- ^ EA's Award-winning Skate Video Game Rolls Onto European Retail Shelves in September - Xbox 360 News at GameSpot
- ^ a b c "New Tricks: Scott Blackwood Talks Skate And Skate 2". Gamasutra. 17 October 2008. http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3821/new_tricks_scott_blackwood_talks_.php. Retrieved 1 December 2008.
- ^ Screenshots from an early build of Skate
- ^ Original tracklist
- ^ IGN Xbox 360 Skate review
- ^ IGN: Skate Review
- ^ http://ps3.ign.com/articles/818/818838p3.html/
- ^ Skate for Xbox 360 Review - Xbox 360 Skate Review
- ^ Skate for PlayStation 3 Review - PlayStation 3 Skate Review
- ^ GameSpy: Skate Review
- ^ "EA Goes Big in '08, '09". IGN. http://ps3.ign.com/articles/851/851868p1.html.
- ^ Brudvig, Erik (2008-05-12). "Skate 2 Made Official". IGN. http://ps3.ign.com/articles/873/873391p1.html. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
- ^ "IGN Confirm January 2009 Release". IGN. 2008-10-31. http://ps3.ign.com/articles/925/925925p1.html. Retrieved 2008-10-31.
- ^ "MAXConsole Confirm January 21st/23rd 2009 Release". MAXConsole. 2008-11-25. http://www.maxconsole.net/?mode=news&newsid=34066. Retrieved 2008-11-25.
- ^ "CVG: EA unveils Skate 3". Computer and Video Games. http://computerandvideogames.com/article.php?id=223370.