To fully immerse yourself in the sport, each analog stick represents one of the players’ feet and challenges you to learn how to control your weight to stay on the board. Once you’ve mastered the basic moves, you can start introducing ollies and flips and feel the sense of accomplishment that comes with landing a trick for the first time.
To learn more about Session: Skate Sim and how to quickly get started with the controls, we sat down with producer Jeff Spicer from developer Creā-ture Studios. This studio currently consists of just nine people who are in the final stages of fine-tuning the game’s launch build
“The idea of Session was really a breakthrough for Marc-Andre [Houde, former development lead] Remember to use a second stick to represent both feet on the physical controller,” Spicer explains.
The game first got into players’ hands in 2017 as a free demo before launching a Kickstarter campaign to fund further development. In 2019, the game came to early access, allowing fans to get stuck in an early build. A dedicated community of players quickly formed, eagerly awaiting the full release in September 2022.
With its unique control system, new players may need some time to get used to Session: Skate Sim. The developers recommend taking the time to learn the rhythm of the game when stepping onto the deck for the first time.
“People are used to navigating with their left thumb. Really, the navigation is done with the triggers,” says Spicer. “It helps to take the time to get a handle on it. Take your time and enjoy. Imagine it in a real scenario.
“With Session’s heightened realism, stringing together a series of impressive tricks is as rewarding as it is challenging. With no rating or progression systems, Session focuses solely on player creativity and skill. We teach you the logical natural progression and it’s up to the players whether they want to follow that or not.”
All the tools players need to pull off mind-blowing tricks are available right from the start of the game. There are no skill points or trick unlocks. Instead, players must experiment and discover the possibilities themselves.
“When you start the game, you can do anything right away,” says Spicer. “But can you physically do it? This is where the challenge and progression come in. And there’s a bit of a learning curve here.
“It’s more about the ability to connect things or navigate smooth lines. It brings reality together. We are not a game. There are no points, there is no score. It’s not like, ‘Who can do the flashiest single trick? “. It’s more about the ability to recreate realism and be believable. Overall, it’s about cleanliness and the flow over complexity.”
This emphasis on creativity extends to the game’s robust replay editor, which allows players to compose their own skate videos in the vein of classics like 411VM and Flip.
“A journalist once said to us, ‘You guys made a skate sim and a video editing sim,’ which is pretty true,” says Spicer. “We have the most robust replay editor in the game. You can change everything from camera angle, camera type, lens field, view, depth of field, camera, shape and time of day in the replay editor. You can then create individual clips, extract them, and assemble them into a video.”
To properly evoke the American skate scene of the late ’90s and early 2000s, Session takes players to a variety of iconic locations across the United States, including Black Hubbas, Brooklyn Banks, and FDR Park.
“We focused on what influenced us the most as skaters,” adds Spicer. “Some of these locations no longer exist, so we wanted to give players the ability to restore that. We focused on three North American Meccas – San Francisco on the West Coast and New York and Philadelphia on the Northeast – spread in terms of skate terrain, nostalgia, and storylines to build on.”
Session: Skate Sim is all about discovery, and the full version holds many secrets for players to discover, whether they’ve played the Early Access version or are new to the game. It is also possible for players to customize their experience to suit their skating style.
“We have gameplay parameters or options that you can tweak, e.g. Like how grippy your wheels are, how high your pop is, and if you’re limited with realistic physics, how far off your board you can go,” he explains. “If you’re a skater, we recommend that you choose whichever stance you’re using, normal or goofy, because it just makes more sense.
“We made a skate simulator for old people like me and young people who can’t get out in the rain or can’t afford new trucks on their board,” Spicer concludes. “You can explore the creative freedom of skating without having a board, shoes, or a place to skate.”
Session: Skate Sim is now available on all major consoles and PC.