If you’ve read our article pondering whether the world will ever see SKATE 4, you’ve likely given up hope that EA will revive the series and give the world a new skateboarding video game that doesn’t suck ass. There has been a serious void in skate nerdom ever since the last SKATE release back in 2010.
Enter the squad behind Session, who are building the newest and most promising skateboarding game we’ve seen in close to a decade.
Marc-Andre Houde, Creative/Artistic Director And Co-Founder of creā-ture Studios Inc. who are behind Session, has been skating for 25 years and is striving to make a game that reflects skateboarding more accurately than any video game has before. Session expands on the joystick-centric controls of SKATE and makes some of the skating’s most iconic spots skateable in the digital world.
As SKATE nerds, we’re eager to see how this thing plays, so we hit up Marc to shed some light on what we can expect from Session, with an early access/Xbox exclusive dropping at the end of 2018 and a full release coming at the end of 2019.
Q&A WITH THE GAME DESIGNERS
What will separate Session‘s gameplay from the button-mashing style of THPS and the joystick-centric controls of SKATE?
First of all, there’s no scoring system. We imagine if there are no points attached to your tricks, people won’t feel forced to do the same tricks over and over because they are worth more points than others.
After that, I’d say the dual stick controls and catch mechanics are big differentiators. With your thumbs, your left stick is your left foot and right stick the right foot no matter which stance you are, so there are four different ways to do each trick. And if that’s not enough, you can turn on the manual catch mechanic that literally redefines the entire experience!
It’s really built with the mindset of replicating and capturing what you are experiencing as a skater in real life. The frustration that turns into this massive sense of accomplishment when you finally land your trick… That moment when you realize a simple kickflip to five-0 is not a given in a video game is quite special! [Laughs]
What did THPS games do wrong? Do you think they could ever make a comeback?
The big issue I have with most of the mainstream games out there is – it’s like you try to make a soup that everyone will like. You put every fuckin’ ingredient your clients want so you’d expect it would make the best soup ever! But at the end, it looks like a big brown mud thing that everyone eats but nobody really enjoys because it had what they liked, but it also had sooo much shit they don’t really care about, and it ended up tainting the taste! [Laughs]
I think this is the reason why THPS slowly died. Can it be revived? I don’t know. I think franchises like that or Star Wars, the expectations are so high, everyone has their ideal version in their mind. And even then, I also think people are tired of being bullshitted and milked by big corps..I think THPS5‘s failure is also the result of consumers saying, “Stop treating me like a dummy.” I think it is time in the gaming industry to accept there can be niche games that won’t please everyone and Session is pretty much that.
“Session’s primary mode is free skate. There are no other goals than the ones you set on yourself.”
Will Session have a story mode with a narrative, a series of challenges to beat, and so on?
Session’s primary mode is free skate. There are no other goals than the ones you set on yourself. Just shred, film, share.
After this, we’ll also offer some party game modes like games of S.K.A.T.E, spot battles, etc. We have short-term plans to add some contextual events and challenges so it can spice up the sessions a bit, and if the game does well when it’s out, we’d love to build a nice story mode. Something decent and not cheesy like we may have seen in the past…
Have you considered adding the ability to chug beers or smoke spliffs in the game as you skate?
[Laughs] That’d be dope! I really can’t understand how some people can skate like that though, two beers and my balance is completely fucked! I’m stealing your idea and if we implement it, we’ll send you a check!
Can you fight a local scooter kid or longboarder who gets in your way at a spot like in real life?
With the amount of scooter kids videos on YouTube riding the Brooklyn Banks, that’d be rad! I’m stealing that idea too!
You’re also marketing a filmer mode. How does that work exactly?
Yeah! We have this two player mode where the second player can take control of the filmer so you can have a crazy good time killing spots, trying to work on the best lines with the best angles possible and all that while playing, and not only in a replay editor. We also have a more traditional replay editor letting you edit your footage and send it to Instagram or Twitter right away.
Will you be able to choose the camera you shoot with? Can I film with a VX1000 or HPX?
Yes! there will be different camera types, lens filters, and so on to choose from. Same for photos. We’d love to approach some of the big brands to try and replicate their cameras and lenses in the game too! In the beginning, we wanted to make Session 4:3 [aspect ratio], VX style all the way, but it was maybe too much. I think it’s time to move on and embrace HD [laughs].
The trailer looks to be mostly set in NYC. Is NYC the setting for the whole game, or will there be multiple levels that players can transport to?
We felt NYC was a great place to start. I think this particular area played a major role in what street skating is today, but no, the game won’t be totally set in New York. Right now we are trying to recreate the key spots under the Brooklyn Bridge as accurately as we can; the big and small banks, the smaller 10 [stair set] and from there, we’ll expand to the courthouse, black hubba, and so on. After we feel NYC is in a good shape, we’ll move on to another city. We will also have more isolated iconic spots you will be able to session too.
I read something about spots going under construction if there aren’t people frequently skating it in the game. How will that work?
We’ll have this heat map feature showing where the players like to skate in the game, what type of obstacles, and we’ll include an easy way to reach out to us letting us know what sucks and why. From there, we’ll update the game via a patch and put some construction signs to let skaters know we are working on that particular section and to come back later for a fresh edit of the spot!
EA just mysteriously turned their SKATE 3 servers back on. Do you think they did that as a distraction from your game announcement?
I think it would be pretentious to think we’re important enough to have EA trying to sabotage what we are trying to do with Session… But if that’s the case, that is some low ass shit right there! [Laughs] Big corp trying to fuck up a five guy project! Honestly, I don’t really have a clue why… It may be because SKATE 3 is backward compatible on Xbox One and now they have a 4k enhanced version? Time will tell I guess!
Will I finally be able to do wallies in this game? No comply flips? Hippie flips? I’m tryna keep it trendy…
Yes to all of those. Not from day one, but eventually we want to bring all these tricks to the game. Having the Brooklyn Banks as a starting point and not being able to wallie would be a total shame on us! [Laughs]
Do you think you guys will get laid as a result of creating this game?
Can you really get laid for making games? [Laughs] Definitely not the best hook up line… “Hey I make games, let’s go…?” I guess the answer is no… Maybe some Pikachu cosplay girls… [laughs]
If you make millions from the game how much would you spend on cocaine and strip clubs?
Funny you say that! it’s always the first thing I say when there is a tiny bit of money going into the business account! [Laughs] Kickstarter backers, it’s a joke! Your money goes 100% in making the game I promise!
Can we get Jenkem t-shirts in the game?
Send us a box and we will for sure, no doubt!
A GLIMPSE INTO THE BAKER HAS A DEATHWISH II WORLD PREMIERE
16 long years later, the second coming of Baker Has a Deathwish has arrived...
REMINISCING THROUGH THE YEARS WITH STATIC ALUMNI
We talked to 12 skaters featured in the long-standing Static series about their memories and thoughts on the videos.
SKATEBOARDING AND SOCCER WITH NEW YORK CITY’S CHINATOWN SOCCER CLUB
Meet the club of skaters, artists and notable locals that have casually played soccer together for the last 20 years.
THE EVOLUTION OF… NYC’S PYRAMID LEDGES
We collected stories from the only ledge spot made out of tiny mini ledges.
THE STORY OF THE NAKED 540
"Hopefully it’s not remembered. But for anyone that got a laugh out of it that’s about as much as I could hope for."