Fans of skateboarding games are still crossing their fingers that they'll some day see Skate 4, but the next great skateboarding game might be closer than they realize. Session is a brand new game from Crea-ture Studios that promises pure, raw skateboarding, and it's supposedly going to be the hardest game the skateboarding genre has seen. With stripped-back, raw mechanics, and a technical focus on the sport, the game aims to give players the most realistic representation of skateboarding yet, while simultaneously highlighting its culture and overall essence.
What Happened To Skateboarding Games?
The skateboarding genre was boosted into the mainstream by the iconic Tony Hawk series. Featuring pro skaters, detailed maps, and the ability to perform over-the-top tricks, each game's entertaining gameplay turned it into a must-have title and the franchise still remains as the best of skateboarding games. Even with the series' success, it eventually played itself out and it has been a few years since we've seen a quality Tony Hawk game. The eccentric style of gameplay grew stale, and players began gravitating towards a more realistic approach.
The Skate series began in 2007 and ended with with 2010's Skate 3. It presented players with a more grounded take on skateboarding, making tricks more difficult to perform, and requiring specific joystick movement and timing to pull off a quality combo. Unfortunately, the games didn't see the same sales success as Tony Hawk titles, and the series fizzled out after only three years. Despite this, the Skate fanbase has grown in the years following Skate 3, and anticipation for a Skate 4 has been growing each year. Skateboarding fans are looking for another realistic, mechanical skateboarding game, and if EA Games doesn't want to capitalize on that anticipation, then Crea-ture Studios might take advantage of that opening.
An Unforgiving New Approach
Session promises to be "an ode to skateboarding's golden age", giving players the most realistic portrayal of the sport, and including famous real-world skate spots in New York City's Lower Manhattan. Where Skate required you to use the analog stick to perform specific tricks, Session takes things to an entirely new level. Each analog stick controls one of your character's feet at all times, requiring you to use both of them to do everything from kick-flipping to turning. Due to the game's considerable learning curve, its difficulty is being compared to games like Dark Souls and Cuphead, and it promises to give players quite the challenge.
In an interview with GamesRadar, Session co-creator, Marc-André Houde, explained how "You need to rewire your brain into something completely new," in order to play the game. "You're going to eat shit a lot," he added. The control scheme is reportedly difficult to get used to at first, but once you get a handle on it, the game gives you more control than your average skateboarder, and makes landing a trick incredibly satisfying. It will certainly be a breathe of fresh air for the genre, giving players who are up for a challenge an opportunity to conquer something more realistic than anything we've seen before.
Crea-ture Studios is aiming to make a game that captures the essence of skateboarding, down to the very last detail. There is no scoring system and you're not necessarily rewarded when you land a trick. The game's map of Lower Manhattan was recreated to an extensive degree, even throwing you into situations where you'll need to evade law enforcement in order to reach a skate spot. The game will also include video tool that allows you to record your best tricks and favorite spots, encouraging players to create a community and share them online. The creators are aiming to give players a highly authentic experience representing what it means to be a skateboarder in the sport's golden age, down to every last detail.
The Next Big Thing
After successfully being funded via Kickstarter within three days of its campaign opening in 2017, Session is finally nearing its release date. On September 17, the game will be available on Steam Early Access, and is expected to arrive on Xbox Game Preview in October. The final product is slated to release some time in 2020. Although we haven't seen a significant skateboarding title in years, Session's fresh approach fosters hope for something that can breathe new life into genre. Although with a game this difficult, there will likely be a few broken controllers down the road as well.