The new Skate game from EA Sports and Full Circle will be a free-to-play, live service game. It’s, of course, the natural progression for a series aimed at being a skate sandbox, where you set the rules one ollie at a time, but it’s certainly a surprising change of direction for a franchise that has historically been a full-price AAA game.
Although the project is still in very early development – as shown by a recent video showing the state of the project right now – the final version is scheduled to include full cross games and cross-progression between PC and consoles. There is a leaked alpha build that is also going around, but the developer has kindly asked fans not to download it.
While Full Circle is eager to get the impression that this will be a traditional Skate game throughout, it also takes on many of the trends we see in releases like Fortnite and Minecraft. The most important of these are CollaboZones, which are areas that players will be able to collaboratively build and share with others online in real time.
All of this will help create a constantly evolving sandbox, where the challenges you face and the lines you skate always change and adapt. Of course, all of this raises concerns about microtransactions, but in a conversation with The Verge, product manager Isabelle Mocquard stressed that it will not be “pay-to-win”. Instead, revenue generation will be more about cosmetics.
Honestly, this will be a controversial direction for some, but it sounds like a smart direction for the series at this time. Free-to-play lowers the barrier to entry, and live service means there are potentially dozens of events and partnerships that EA Sports will be able to integrate into the game over time. We are excited to learn more.