We last spoke with Skate 3 producer Chris "Cuz" Parry at the community day back in November when the game was still in alpha. Now that the latest Skate title is almost here, we spoke with Cuz again about what's changed since then, what challenges they faced, and why it's all about skating with your friends.
Co-Optimus: So the last time we talked was back in Nov. for the Skate 3 community day, and we were playing an alpha build of the game, and between then and now, what was the biggest thing you’ve seen progress in that time period?
Cuz: I guess the big thing is everything comes together. You know, at that time everything wasn’t fully realized and wasn’t integrated together. At that time, the Skate.park feature wasn’t ready. We were messing around with it, we were still learning the limitations, and the object-dropper didn’t have a full compliment of the objects. So in terms of what’s happened, regardless of polish and actually building the world – because when we saw you last time the world wasn’t fully built – I think the thing that like literally wasn’t finished, that wasn’t even underway, was the Skate.park, so that’s huge.
Co-Optimus: You mentioned during the introduction this morning that the development team took a different approach to the on-line and single player modes. Could you tell us a little more about that?
Cuz: So, really, the team and Brian Lindley, the on-line producer… looked at it from the beginning as trying to stop thinking [about it in terms of] on-line versus single player. It was more just like how can we just – and I know this sounds cliché – but how can we blur the lines? How does everything feed off each other? One of the themes that we wanted to go with to broaden our audience was teams, but [we still wanted to] be true to the story. We always looked at Skate as a trilogy and we knew we wanted to tell this part, which was “you’ve become a legend, now start your own company;” and in a company, you know, the word is “company,” but the reality is you have a team to support that. So it made sense from the story we wanted to tell, it made sense from the new gameplay and stuff like that. So… then how does on-line make this seamless transition? …We started looking at some of the stuff that we did and saying, “how can we make it fun?” “What things lend themselves naturally to teams?” Of course, Deathrace and Contest, they’ve already done that, so that makes sense. But then what are some new modes [that we can add] that, you know, sort of get the competitive juices flowing? And then, what about those people who aren’t necessarily super competitive, what do they get? That’s what co-op is… You know, for a lot of skaters, or a lot of people who play our game even, [the competitive portion] is not why they picked up our game. They have a little bit different sensibility, and the co-op provides that. And the cool thing about the co-op, basically if I’m the host, and about to enter into [pretty much] most of our challenges, there’s an option on the menu screen that just says, “do you want to play on-line?” If I say “yes,” I start a Freeskate session at that spot and then I can invite my friends to it. It’s just that simple.
Yeah... that hurts
Co-Optimus: And what are you finding as a result of opening up a lot of these challenges to allow players to complete them cooperatively?
Cuz: So… if six of us are playing, say, a photo-challenge, the first person who finishes gets credit for it and all that stuff, but he’s still there to freeskate in the background, and you know, create some background filler, or some antics for the other people. Again, that allows us to, you know, share, be cooperative. It also allows, if you wanted, to take the team thing into a funny area, and that’s what we’re finding; teams – like our dev team – are showing off, “hey, check out our photo!” And they’re all standing in the photo while one guy does some crazy trick.