Skate 4 is officially titled Skate, and EA and developer Full Circle have confirmed that it will be a free-to-play live-service game with crossplay and cross-progression when it eventually launches on PC, PlayStation, and Xbox platforms. It’s a surprising shift for the extreme sports franchise that was revealed during a special broadcast today. The news may come as a shock to longtime Skate fans who were hoping for a traditional continuation for the series that they could pick up for the typical retail price.
Creative Director Cuz Parry said fans will find all their favorite franchise features in this next entry. That means visceral skateboarding with goofy physics, in addition to new features that players can take for a spin. Of course, because Skate is free to play and a live-service title, there will be microtransactions, though Full Circle promises that this is not a pay-to-win experience. There are no loot boxes or paywalled areas either. Instead, the team looked to games such as EA’s Apex Legends for inspiration in this regard.
“Every time someone bought paid DLC (in previous Skate games) we were splitting that audience into smaller and smaller groups,” Full Circle general manager Dan McCulloch said. “Now, our players can enjoy many hours of the game without spending any money, and they can unlock cosmetics like they did in the past.” This monetization model is meant to carry Skate for “years to come.”
Speaking with The Verge, Creative Director Deran Chung explained the reasoning behind the change in direction: “It’s an authentic evolution of the franchise and taking what Skate 3 was in 2010 and bringing it to now and to the future. That is not only an evolution of the franchise, but it’s an evolution of where skateboarding is and was from 2010 to now and also where games are from then to now.”
Part of Full Circle’s desire to accurately capture the real-world community that surrounds skateboarding led it to create this game’s version of multiplayer. One of the most interesting features is CollaboZone, which are areas dedicated to offering player-created skate parks. As seen in today’s video, CollaboZones gives players a chance to let their imaginations run wild.
“You don’t know when you jump into the city what’s being built, what was built, or what’s going on,” Chung says. “You jump in, and it’s like, ‘Oh, shit, what is that? Like a human Plinko wall? I need to go check that out.’”
Skate is being created for PC, PlayStation, and Xbox platforms, but a mobile version is in early development, too. It’ll be quite a long time before we see this new free-to-play, live-service take on Skate available to download on any platform. However, the developer hasn’t been shy about showing off early behind-the-scenes footage, so we can probably expect to see more as we wait and move ever closer to its upcoming playtests.