Electronic Arts hosted a lavish party in S.F. this week to promote their new skateboarding game Skate (short and sweet title, right?), and some of the game’s pros/characters were there to pop the cork—Danny Way, Mike Carroll, and Jerry Hsu to be precise. The video game is still unfinished, but EA had some raw footy for everybody to play—check the links for a glimpse and for all the party flicks. In fact, this was the first peek the outside world has had of Skate, and based on my 10 minutes of drunken play, I gotta say it was pretty damn accurate.
The folks at EA kept hammering home how “un-exaggerated and “realistic the gameplay was. In fact, that’s the main selling point they hope to differentiate Skate from the dominant Tony Hawk series with. But if Skate’s going to be as hard to learn as actual skateboarding, here’s your $100,000 question: is it gonna be any fun to play? Here’s what Skate‘s associate producer, Jay Balmer, had to say about that. “It’s hard to be good, but it’s easy to skate. There are a lot of fun things you can do on a skateboard without doing tricks. For example, standing on top of a hill and bombing down through traffic, takes no skill except for steering. But if you want to be a tech street skater, yeah, it’s hard.
All in all, EA seems to have something truly enticing in the works for real skateboarders (the game’s due out in late 2007). To elaborate a bit, Skate‘s got a feature called Flickit that lets you bust tricks with both analog sticks—supposedly as a result, EA promises that no two tricks will ever be the same. Not bad, eh? You also get to play in a free-flowing environment known as “San Vanelona (a clever mixture of SF, Vancouver, and Barcelona) which consists of a variety of all-new spots, including mega ramps. But the true strength of Skate is the team they’ve assembled: Danny Way, Mark Gonzales, Rob Dyrdek, Mike Carroll, PJ Ladd, Chris Cole, Jason Dill, Chris Haslam, Pat Duffy, John Rattray, Jerry Hsu, Paul Rodriguez, and Dennis Busenitz. And they all look and skate exactly like themselves—the product of that crazy “balls-on-the-wetsuit technology you’ve probably seen on TV.
So let’s wrap this up and get to the slideshow already. This game will undoubtedly appeal to true skateboarders. As for the rest of the population, who knows? And frankly, who cares?–Carleton Curtis