It’s a good time to be a fan of skateboarding games! After a long hiatus and, well, Activision’s awful Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5, the hype is truly back. Here are a few titles that are expected to fully release soon and what you can expect from each upcoming skateboard game.
Session, developed by indie team Crea-ture Studios, began development a while back in 2015. Motivated by the lack of skateboarding titles available at the time, Crea-ture Studios began working hard on Session, a title much inspired by the Skate series developed by EA. After attracting a successful Kickstarter funding, the title was recognised by Microsoft and shown off at the Xbox E3 conference in 2018.
Do not expect wacky stunts and crazy combo chains with this title, for Session plays as a simulator type skateboarding experience. Each trick is mastered with time and connected to realistic physics. Session genuinely nails that feeling of putting blood, sweat and tears into learning a trick, and that sense of accomplishment once you finally land one. With your tricks, there are no scoring systems. The devs state that this is because they want to avoid players feeling forced to spam the same tricks over and over again. The controls are a little unorthodox, too. The sticks are mapped to the characters feet and the player turns with the trigger buttons. It’s a little strange at first, but feels quite smooth once you adjust over time. And for those worried about the controls, there’s a “Legacy” controller option which handles similar to the controls from Skate 3.
Session will not have a story mode. The game’s primary focus is on free skating in NYC. The devs have hinted at a party mode or challenges here and there to change things up in the future. But in summary, the game is about free skating, filming and sharing your accomplishments.
Speaking of filming, there’s a neat implementation in Session in which a second player can control the camera while the the first is skating. Videography is, of course, a central element to the skateboarding culture many grew up with, and Session puts it all on display. Session also provides a few other features such as dropping in objects on the go, changing the time of day, and the option to get on and off your board. These might not be revolutionary additions, but providing players with more options something you can’t complain about.
Session will allow players to play with and customise their own character, alongside the option to play as pro skaters such as Donovan Strain, Dane Burman, and Ribs Man.
Session makes a solid attempt at genuinely understanding skateboarding culture alongside giving you a solid skating experience. If you’re looking to dabble in the world of Session, an Early Access version of the game is available on Steam. Unfortunately for console players, Session so far appears to be an Xbox exclusive title. But fear not, for the title below is one available for many console players.
Developed by Easy Day Studios, Skater XL is unique among upcoming skateboard game as it does not have any tricks programmed into the game. Players have control of the board via analog sticks. Much like Session, each stick controls a foot. Moving the stick (based on which one you move) leads to a direct response from the board and the execution of a trick. But the trick you complete isn’t actually in the game. It’s the way you move your board and the physics of the board that allows you to complete a trick. Does that make sense?
Very much like Session, Skater XL aims for a simulation type skating experience. Unlike Session, however, Skater XL opts for a sandbox play space, featuring many real-world skate spots where legendary pro skaters have made a name for themselves. Speaking of, Skater XL will launch with pro skaters such as Tiago Lemos, Brandon Westgate, Evan Smith, and Tom Asta. Said names will feature alongside the option to create and customise your own skater.
Skater XL is very much an onboard experience that focuses on one thing: skating. There is no campaign or “story mode.” There are no pedestrians or cars. You can’t hop on and off your board either. So when you inevitably fall, you are instead met with a placemarker that will allow you to restart from a place of your choice. There’s also a tight modding community on PC right now. So no need for PC players to be worried about a lack of game modes. Unfortunately, there appears to be no news on modding on the console versions yet.
In short, for those looking for a simulation-type experience that hard focuses on skating itself, look no further than Skater XL. Thankfully, the title will be releasing on all major platforms and also has an Early Access version available on Steam. So if you were disappointed with the fact that Session is an Xbox exclusive on consoles, not to worry. Easy Day Studios has your back with Skater XL.
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 & 2 are back! The iconic franchise returns in the form of a remaster for current gen consoles. If you missed out on the popular skateboarding franchise, here’s your chance to jump in.
There’s not much that needs to be said about the Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater series. It’s quite the opposite to everything mentioned in this piece so far. If Session and Skater XL are simulation experiences, then Tony Hawk’s 1+2 would fall into an “arcade” category within upcoming skateboarding games. Controllers are a lot more simplified. Button combos directly lead to tricks and there isn’t much importance in paying attention to board physics. Actually, physics aren’t really grounded in this world. I mean, sure, there’s gravity, you know? But sometimes I question how much of an impact it has in the crazy world of the Tony Hawk’s titles.
But that’s what it’s about. This isn’t a place for simulation or real life physics-focused skateboarding gameplay. Tony Hawk’s games have a main focus. It’s over the top, fun, fast paced and humorous, all presented in classic Tony Hawk style.
Both games feature medium sized levels in which players must complete challenges in order to progress. You’ll occasionally take part in tournaments too, which can be quite a blast! There are other options such as free skating, creating your own park and co-op skating in a level of your choice.
Thankfully for old school Tony Hawk’s fans, many are extremely happy that 1 & 2 are being remastered. If you want to jump into this franchise for the first time, you’re in luck, for these two titles are arguably the best released titles within the long running franchise. In fact, THPS2 sits at an impressive 98 on Metacritic, if that means anything nowadays.
And of course, when we talk about Tony Hawk’s 1+2, we have to talk about soundtracks. Many are scheduled to return, so our remaster is going to be soaked in nostalgia while being a polished experience. Get ready to chain the craziest of combos to the best of soundtracks!
It’s been just over 10 years since we last played a new Skate game, but alas! EA surprised many by announcing Skate 4. It’s difficult to give details on this title, as it was only announced recently with very little information. But if previous Skate games are an indication, we should be expecting the return of an awesome experience, as Skate titles rank high among skateboarding games.
EA launched the first Skate title in 2007. It seemed that EA was interested in taking advantage of the weak latter titles Activision was releasing with its Tony Hawk’s franchise. However, Skate wasn’t crafted in the crazy looking style of a Tony Hawk’s game. EA had no interest in mimicking Activision’s style. Skate was certainly after a more simulation type skateboarding experience.
But it’s tough to say that the Skate titles were as fixated on realism as let’s say Session or Skater XL. Though grounded in some realism, the Skate community certainly provide for some wacky experiences in the form of player created parks and interesting mods. Given how tightly knit the Skate community is and how big the franchise has become due to creating and sharing, many expect Skate 4 to run off that sort of vibe.
Unlike all of the games mentioned so far, Skate 3 had a story mode which many players dabbled in and enjoyed. All in all, based on our previous experiences with Skate, we can expect Skate 4 to contain a neat balance among upcoming skateboarding games.
No details on when we can expect Skate 4, as the game appears to be entering a pre-production stage. Not to worry, as we’ll have it covered here once we get some more news.
Those are all the upcoming skateboarding games announced and expected to release soon. Who knows who else will jump in on the hype, but until then, which are you looking to buy? Any titles I missed out on? Be sure to drop a comment below.