We finally get details about Skate 4, including custom socks and Tim Robinson

The fourth game in EA’s cult skateboard series, formerly known as Skating 4just called now Skate – is finally starting to come into focus, four years after it was announced… so to speak. Fittingly for a game that took an unusual route to reality, and is quite a departure from its predecessors, EA is also taking a slightly different approach to the marketing for the game.

Instead of a flashy trailer highlighting the new game’s features, EA confused and delighted everyone by dropping a live-action sketch starring I think you should leave‘s Tim Robinson in Friday’s Sumer Game Fest stream. In the sketch, Robinson plays Richie Dandle, an executive at M-Corp, the fictional company that previously owned and ran the city of San Vansterdam. Skate is set. Robinson denies that M-Corp San Vansterdam leaves while employees flee behind him, crying and shredding documents. (M-Corp is probably the new version of the tyrannical Mongocorp, which controlled the city of San Vanelona in Skating 2. Yes, these skating games have a story.) Anyway, the video is pretty funny, you should watch it.

This is all in good fun and is supported by an official story so far blog post and a gloriously dated one M-Corp website. But what about the, you know, game?

Luckily, the developers at Full Circle, a remote-only game studio created specifically by EA Skatefollowed up the Robinson sketch by lifting the lid on the current state of the game in a blog post and accompanying development update video. Skate, as previously announced, will be a free-to-play, live-service skating MMO for PC and console. There is no release date yet.

There’s quite a bit of detail in the post and video, and it’s not all that surprising; Full Circle repeats the signature ‘flick-it’ control scheme of the Skate series using new physics and animation technologies, and goes big on player customization. One of the most exciting tidbits is a ‘quick drop’ system that gives players the freedom to customize the city themselves, adding rails to a balcony to increase trick potential. You can do this in real-time in multiplayer and then challenge other players to try out your creations: Throwdowns are a way to instantly challenge other skaters as they roam the abandoned city-turned-giant skatepark.

Elsewhere, much is being made of the fact that players can now customize the color of their socks (I suspect this is a common request among fans), and Full Circle promises that the game will continually evolve over time, with new areas will open up and new music will also be added to the soundtrack. The studio is actively recruiting new playtesters to help with development, and says it will expand from PC to console playtesting later this year.

The Skate series seemed to be consigned to history after that Skating 3 was released in 2010. But starting around 2014, that game found a surprising second life on YouTube, as creators exploited the wild ragdoll physics for comedy. It was made playable again on Xbox in 2016. A fan campaign for a sequel built up steam and was eventually rewarded with the announcement of Skate in 2020.

Skate may not quite be the game fans expected, and it remains to be seen whether EA’s decision to rebuild it as a free-to-play live service game is a mercenary business move, or a smart way to capture this passionate audience operate. But Skate doesn’t look much different, and that’s something.