If you’ve been waiting for a brand new skateboarding game, and you play on PC, you’re in luck. Next month, Session launches in Early Access, and from the new trailer, it looks amazing;
Session appeared as a kickstarter-backed game in 2017, having over-achieved it’s funding goal, allowing the dev team to go above and beyond to add awesome features like board customisation, filmer mode and object placement. It was a game with a lot of promise, and the team at crea-ture studios released an early demo to kickstarter backers, before promptly putting their head down to develop the game we will see released next month. The trailer seems to suggest the hard work has been worth it, with a range of character options present in the trailer including clothing, board graphics (including boards from Heroin!!!) and board size/shape (for the first time you can skate using a pool board in a skateboarding game, which makes me very happy). The environments and animations also exhibit a high quality, with a game that truly seems like a next gen skateboarding experience.
Even with next month’s release, “Early Access” means the game will continue to receive work and updates for months to come, hopefully providing a true replacement for Skate3. Console players will also be able to join in the fun, with the game coming to Xbox Game Preview in October, and coming to Playstation4 for it’s full Version 1.0 launch in 2020. All promising stuff. Session, however, has some competition, in the form of SkaterXL;
SkaterXL, from Easy Day Studios, has been out in Early Access since December last year. It has a vibrant, active modding scene, who have been adding new levels and customisation options constantly since launch. The controls are similar to Session, as well. It is, by far, the biggest competition for Session’s crown as Skate’s successor, and has backing from The Berrics, and all associated Professional Skateboarders. It’s also the sequel to the biggest skateboarding game on mobile (Skater), and so has a preceding brand weight attached to it. SkaterXL hasn’t really impressed me so far though.
SkaterXL launched with a single level, no built-in character customisation, and a bunch of missing features, a year and a half after Session had been announced. Even 8 months after it’s Early Access launch, the game has received minimal updates, and the development team had been near silent. The community, whilst active and busy, are convinced the game has been abandoned, and have taken it upon themselves to provide the content they feel the dev team failed to (although this week’s announcement that SkaterXL is coming to Xbox One, with a new level and character customisation, might go some way to changing that opinion).
In comparison, Session had a very clear and transparent kickstarter campaign, which awarded backers with a playable demo (which doubled in size once the campaign was over). The early fountain of information, the proof of the team’s work, the show of good faith and the continued development updates from crea-ture went some way to help Session’s reputation. Riding on that good faith, and seeing the fruits of their labour in their latest trailer, I think crea-ture have a better game on their hands. In comparison, SkaterXL’s development has been rather obscured, and in some cases the team were called out for re-posting an old dev update as if it was latest news. There have been too many questions and missteps related to SkaterXL which causes a wave of scepticism around it’s development, whereas Session looks to be a very strong product (strong enough that Microsoft featured it in it’s 2018 E3 Press Conference).
My opinion on both of these games is that if you are itching for a Skate3 replacement, you might as well try them both. But ultimately, with such high hopes riding on both, only one can wear the crown, and my money’s on Session.