We’re finally getting details on Skate 4 — including custom socks and Tim Robinson

The fourth game in EA’s cult skateboarding series — formerly known as Skate 4, now simply called Skate — is finally starting to come into focus, four years after it was announced… in a manner of speaking. Fittingly for a game which took an unusual route to becoming a reality, and which is quite a departure from its predecessors, EA is also tackling the marketing for the game a little bit differently.

Instead of a flashy trailer highlighting the new game’s features, EA confused and delighted everyone by dropping a live-action sketch starring I Think You Should Leave’s Tim Robinson into Friday’s Sumer Game Fest stream. In the skit, Robinson plays Richie Dandle, an executive at M-Corp, the fictional corporation that previously owned and ran the city of San Vansterdam in which Skate is set. Robinson denies that M-Corp is leaving San Vansterdam while employees flee, cry, and shred documents behind him. (M-Corp is probably the new iteration of the tyrannical Mongocorp, which ran the city of San Vanelona in Skate 2. Yes, these skating games have lore.) Anyway, the video’s pretty funny, you should watch it.

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This is all great fun, and backed up by an official story so far blog post as well as a gloriously dated M-Corp website. But what about the, you know, game?

Fortunately, the developers at Full Circle, a remote-only game studio formed by EA specifically to make Skate, followed up the Robinson sketch by lifting the lid on the current state of the game in a blog post and accompanying development update video. Skate, as previously announced, will be a free-to-play, live-service skating MMO for PC and console. It doesn’t have a release date yet.

There’s quite a lot of detail in the post and video, none of it all that surprising; Full Circle is iterating on the Skate series’ signature “flick-it” control scheme using new physics and animation technologies, and going big on player customization. One of the most exciting tidbits is a “quick drop” system that gives players the freedom to customise the city itself, adding rails to a balcony to enhance its trick potential. You can do this in multiplayer in real time, and then challenge other players to try out your creations: Throwdowns are a way to instantly challenge other skaters as they roam around the deserted city turned giant skate park.

Elsewhere, much is made of the fact that players will now be able to customize the color of their socks (I’m guessing this is a top request among fans), and Full Circle promises that the game will constantly evolve over time, with new areas opening up, and new music being added to the soundtrack, too. The studio is actively appealing for new playtesters to help with development, and says it will be expanding from PC to console playtests later this year.

The Skate series seemed to have been consigned to history after Skate 3 came out in 2010. But, starting around 2014, that game found a surprise second life on YouTube, as creators exploited its wild ragdoll physics for comedy. In 2016, it was made playable on Xbox again. A fan campaign for a sequel built up steam and was finally rewarded by the announcement of Skate in 2020.

Skate may not be quite the game fans were expecting, and it remains to be seen whether EA’s decision to build it back as a free-to-play live-service game is a mercenary business move, or a smart way to serve this passionate audience. But Skate doesn’t look like much else out there, and that’s something.

This post was originally published on Polygon

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