Skate 4, or at least a brand new Skate, was officially announced at this year's E3 2020-esque EA Play event. Series' creative director Cuz Parry and game direct Deran Chung confirmed the cult skateboarding game's return - although not much info was given.
The idea of a sequel has been a popular fan request for years and as Parry stated in the livestream reveal "you commented this into existence." At this point, there's little more than the promise from the creative duo that "we've a long way to go," adding that "we've been waiting years to make the game at the right time."
We're Back! pic.twitter.com/EYCH07wz7EJune 18, 2020
The timing, and a caveat that the game is some way off, means Skate 4 is likely going to likely launch on PS5 or Xbox Series X. So, while we wait, let's take a look at what's happened, and what's been said, to get to this point - where Skate 4 is an actual thing that's going to happen.
What the games are saying
On the evening of June 4, out of nowhere, Skate 3's online servers came back online, mere days before the start of EA Play. Sadly, Electronic Arts had nothing to say during its E3 conference, undermining the significance of that server reboot, but the fact that it happened could still be interpreted as a signal of future intent nonetheless.
Going back further in the series' history, Skate and Skate 2 released in 2007 and 2009 respectively, and both sold exceptionally well for a new IP in a niche genre historically dominated by a single franchise. Each title was received favourably by critics and skateboarding fans, too, which quickly established the narrative that Skate was fast on its way to dethroning Tony Hawk as the king of the genre.
This success inevitably led to the release of Skate 3 in 2010, and while that title represents the series at the top of its game, it didn’t sell as well as EA had hoped at the time. Tellingly, however, the game only grew in popularity from there, with a surprising peak in sales by 2014 thanks to Pewdiepie. This eventually created more demand than supply for copies of the threequel, at which point EA even reissued new stock to keep sales going.
As of today, Skate 3 has sold 2.68 million units worldwide. Still, this clearly hasn’t been enough to yet warrant a fourth game in the publisher’s mind, as you can read on about below.
What the developers are saying
Let’s start from the beginning. In an interview with Kotaku in 2010, former EA chief John Riccitiello admitted that “at least for the level of excitement out there, skateboarding seems to have run its course as the representative example in that broader genre [of action sports].”
Considering Riccitiello said this only five months on from the release of Skate 3, it reveals how quickly EA had apparently resigned itself to the perceived death of not just their own IP, but the genre at large. This goes a long way in explaining the official radio silence from the company for the next few years, give or take a handful of unsourced rumours. Then, nearly seven years later, something happened.
In January 2017, Daniel Lingen, a community engagement executive for EA, tweeted “#skate4” from his personal account, with no context or explanation as to why. You can imagine the reaction that followed, with everyone presuming the tweet to be a savvy marketing tactic teasing the existence of the hashtagged game in question.
#skate4January 28, 2017
This appeared to be corroborated by the fact that EA had recently made Skate 3 backwards compatible for the Xbox One, fuelling further speculation about the long awaited return of the series.
Unfortunately, EA CEO Andrew Wilson quickly threw cold water on the buzz in an earnings call a few days later, telling investors that the company is “not presently making Skate 4.” Ouch. That was the last official word we’ve had on the game since then, but note the use of the word “presently” by Wilson, meaning EA hasn’t definitively ruled out making another Skate title in future. They still own the IP, after all.
What the rumours are saying
According to professional skateboarder Jason Dill, Electronic Arts is making a new Skate game, but not the one we wanted to hear about. Speaking on a recent episode of The Nine Club Podcast, the publisher contacted him in 2020 to appear in "a mobile version of Skate 3."
I" wrote back and said 'What else?'" explains Dill. "She wrote back and said 'No, that's it.' So I write back and said 'Look, no big deal [but] no one wants your stupid mobile version of Skate 3. Make Skate f*****g 4 already. Just do it. You can't level it to the same numbers you get on other games. You do it for a cultural thing that pays you back later."
If EA really is working on a mobile port of Skate 3, there's still hope for the franchise. As disappointing as that sounds, there's every chance the company is using the project as way to test appetite for a potential Skate 4. If the mobile game flies of the app store, it could be enough to encourage top brass to greenlight a fully fledged sequel. Fingers crossed.
What we're saying
We're of two minds about Skate 4. Of course we'd love to see another entry in the series but, at the same time, EA has changed a lot since 2010. If the reality of a Skate 4 game is one which features an overpriced season pass, walled-off pre-order bonuses and distasteful micro-transactions, then we'd instead prefer to just theoretically enjoy the ideal version of Skate 4 that currently exists in our imagination, thank you very much.
After all of this build-up and drama, then, Skate 4 absolutely has to be worth the wait, but we're willing to give EA the benefit of the doubt if it eventually wishes to make a four-wheeled comeback in the future.
What would you love to see in Skate 4? How could EA reinvent the game for current consoles? Let us know what you think by tapping the 'see comments' button below.