PSLS On Location: EA Skate 3 Community Day
Skate 3, the latest iteration in the crown of skateboarding games, is set to roll onto the scene in a manner of days. This past week EA Canada held a media Community Day in anticipation of the game’s release at their headquarters in Vancouver, and PlayStation LifeStyle was there to take in the sights, sounds and new features of this ambitious game. Recount the day’s events with us and take a look at some new screenshots of the game after the jump!
The day started off relatively early in a hotel lobby at 9:30 in the morning, where a shuttle was waiting to take us literally up the street to the massive EA studio. This complex is teeming with video game developers of all types, and is comprised of two major buildings. The morning consisted of a nice breakfast and a quick tour of the facility. There are multiple levels in each building, and hidden within are a full-size basketball court, soccer field, and apparently a half-pipe which we never did see. Many of the rooftops were converted into hangouts, with lawns and places to sit littered throughout. Arcade machines were also everywhere, including just outside the main server room or “Mission Control” as it was labeled. An employee told us later that the work environment is very laid-back, which makes for happier workers and thus better products.
Around 11 AM the real festivities began. Part of the development team gave us a basic overview of the game, and we got to see for the very first time the game’s introduction video. The skate series has been known to produce some very unique intros to their games, using actual pro skaters as actors. This was the only aspect of the game that EA asked us to keep under wraps, but let me just say that this one starts off more abstract than any others before it, but it is definitely enjoyable to watch. The storyline behind Skate 3 was explained to us – while in the original Skate your goal was to become a famous skateboarder, and in Skate 2 your goal was to rise up after disappearing from the scene for a while, in Skate 3 you take on building your own empire of a skate team. This is evident in nearly every aspect of the game. Your cameraman from the two previous entries has become the manager of your shop, while a new employee takes the helm. You also recruit other skaters to join the team, and you occasionally play as these new teammates making photo shoots and filming tricks.
There is much heavier emphasis on online gameplay this time around, and much deeper customization. For example, tattoos can be applied to your skater wherever your heart desires. Some of these features must be saved for the review, but everything that was in Skate 2 is here and better than ever, along with many new features.
A huge new feature which we got to play with for a good portion of time was the skatepark creator. You can basically craft any sort of sick skatepark that would make Tony Hawk envious. Once your masterpiece is complete, you can upload it for the world to see and earn credit for it. Again, without going into too much detail prior to the review, this editor is slick and gives users a blank canvas with which to bring their ideas to skate-able life.
Later during the day, we played some online against others in the room. While the gameplay obviously took place over a LAN connection, the lag was minimal and the game did not stutter when in this mode. Veterans to the series will feel right at home here, and perhaps challenged with the new Hardcore difficulty setting. Newbies to the series shouldn’t feel threatened by the game’s learning curve, thanks to a new Easy mode as well.
When the day was nearing its close, one thing was clear – the folks over at Black Box have been paying attention to what their audience wants, and they have more than met those demands. A huge thank you to EA Canada and the whole team for hosting this event, it appears the fans will be pleased!