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Tony Hawk Meets Journey Gives Skate Story a Killer Hook

by Neal Ronaghan - March 4, 2020, 12:53 pm PST
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Not totally confirmed for Switch and still far away from launch, this skateboarding game has me at full attention.

I played a lot of interesting games at PAX East 2020, including a ton confirmed for Switch and coming in 2020. However, the one thing I saw that took me all the way to 11 was Skate Story - a game pitched as Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater meets Journey. That’s all I knew about it as I picked up a controller. By the time I finished the brief demo, I wanted to know more.

The demo was not so much a demo as it was a proof-of-concept prototype. You control a crystalline skater, riding through the underworld, from a third-person perspective that is more evocative of the Skate series than Tony Hawk. It’s simple at first, just roll down the pathway and periodically steer around obstacles and speed up by pushing off the ground. Later in the demo it gets trickier and you’re forced to ollie over barriers. You can do some tricks if you’re inclined, but that wasn’t the focus of the demo.

My time with Skate Story was brief, but as a huge fan of skateboarding video games, it struck a major chord with me. It feels like we’re nearing a potential inflection point, with games like Skater XL and Session nearing release. Maybe the Tony Hawk and Skate legacy will live on in some capacity? But what makes me so excited about Skate Story is that it strives for something more than just “here’s a skateboarding game.” It’s the Journey-inspired part of the equation that is thrilling. If you don’t know, Journey is a heartfelt exploration game made by thatgamecompany that came out in 2012 and is available on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, iOS, and PC. Part of the hook of Journey is that it was something easy to replay and enjoy many times. That appears to be part of Skate Story’s goal. Skateboard through the underworld. Reach an emotional catharsis. Rinse and repeat. That twist is enough to make me stand up and pay attention. Skateboarding games were always the most fun when the focus was on exploration and creativity. Seeing that through a different lens sounds wonderful.

Skate Story isn’t confirmed for a Nintendo platform. It’s release date is a far-off concept; one of developer Sam Eng’s friends who helped him maintain his PAX East booth told me 2021 or 2022 is the rough goal (I revisited the booth a few times over the weekend and always seemed to miss Eng). His last game, Zarvot, was a Switch exclusive. It also happened to be a game our own Jordan Rudek enjoyed a lot. So at the very least, the man potentially making my dream video game has a Switch dev kit and whenever Skate Story releases, hopefully I’ll get to cover it on this website.

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na: Skate Story (Unconfirmed)
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