EA’s Skate reboot is underway, and hopefully, it won’t be too long before fans are kickflipping and tail grabbing through sprawling urban environments again. Skate‘s remergence is a unique story in the world of game development. Throughout the 2010s, many believed the skateboarding genre had reached its end after a string of poorly received games and lacked releases almost shelved many popular IPs. However, fans persisted in their requests for a Skate sequel and won the day in 2020 when EA announced that Skate would return with a new studio, Full Circle, leading development.
Skate‘s uncommon development journey doesn’t end there and continues to depart from industry trends. In a time when games are announced far from launch, remain silent for years, and only show themselves in the best possible light, Skate stands out with its transparency. Full Circle is unafraid to show the game it’s working on, warts and all, and be open with the community about its struggles in game development.
Marketing Could Use More Transparency and Communication
Games are getting bigger, and development timelines are getting longer. As a result, games are announced years befores intend to release them and studio fans shut out information to many years on end. Starfield is a good example, which was formally announced in 2019 but would only receive a full gameplay trailer three years later at Summer Game Fest 2022. In the interim, fans would receive information about the game through supposed leaks that left more questions than answers. Fans hungered for updates and information about Starfield but were left in the dark for a long time.
However, Starfield isn’t the only game that has left fans hanging. Currently, Fable only has a CGI trailer as the one thing fans can latch on to with no word from the developers about how the game is coming along. More recently, titles like God of War: Ragnarok and Forspoken are oddly quiet for presumably releasing later this year. Fans have seen very little from both games since their announcement. Undoubtedly, game development has been turbulent as of late, and many of these games likely remain quiet in case studios need more time to flesh out the final product. Despite that, Skate has managed to take the challenge that is game development and make it a marketing strength.
Skate Flips The Industry On Its Head
Skate separated itself from current marketing trends the second it was revealed. At EA Play 2020, Skate was, and there would be no CGI trailer or a logo to accompany the reveal. Instead, fans were greeted by Cuz Parry and Deran Chung, Skate‘s creative lead and game director. The two stated that Skate had a long way to go before it was ready, and the announcement, running at under a minute in length, made it clear that this was simply to let fans know EA granted their wishes. Skate‘s refreshing first move was to adequately set fan expectations instead of releasing an early trailer and leaving fans wondering what it entails for the game’s development cycle.
In 2021, Skate debuted the “We’re Working On It” trailer, showcasing mo-cap sessions and rough animation work early in the game’s development cycle, which is often unseen in marketing trailer. Full Circle speaks plainly with the audience here and lets fans know that the game is still early in production, but development is still coming along. Just recently, Skate debuted another trailer titled “Still Working On It,” which presented “pre-pre-pre-alpha” gameplay footage littered with missing textures and a slew of bugs that still need to be ironed out. By all accounts, Skate still needs more time before it’s ready, but Full Circle’s transparency about that matter has been refreshing and reassuring to eager fans.
Rarely do trailers show games in anything but their best form, sometimes even embellishing them with features that never make it to the full game. In contrast, Full Circle proudly shows off Skate in what some would consider its worst and most bare-bones state. Given the positive fan reception to its latest trailers, Skate‘s communicative and gritty marketing might prove to be one of the best things a studio can do to promote a game.
Skate is currently in development.
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