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Gamereactor UK

A Session with crea-ture Studios

We sat down with the developer for a long chat about their skateboarding game.

Session, an upcoming skateboarding game from crea-ture Studios dubbed the 'spiritual successor' to EA's Skate franchise by many, recently hit its Kickstarter goal, and so we caught up with the two main men on the project, Marc-Andre Houde and Vincent Da Silva, to hear their thoughts on the game, and where the motivation for the game came from.

So the first thing we've got to ask is, you've recently hit your Kickstarter goal, how does that feel for you guys?

MAH: It's great. It's really cool actually. We were hoping that it would happen like this, but I think there's a part of us that was surprised. We're really excited, you know. There's always this question that comes back [as to] why there's no skateboarding games out there, is there a reason? So when you launch a Kickstarter campaign there's a lot of bad vibes also on Kickstarter recently, so yeah, that brings questions and makes asking ourselves: "Will it work? Will it be a success? Will it be just buried?" But [...] feedback is so good, people really like the game. Yeah, they're [having] a hard time getting used to the controls at the beginning, but as soon as they get used to it, they seem to really love it, and understand why we did these kinds of decisions, so yeah it's really cool.

We've got to ask with the controls though - why was that change with the right stick and then left stick upwards made? What was your motive behind making that decision?

MAH: Actually the main reason why we did this is simply because, to us, it was making more sense as a skateboarder. Skateboarding is something that happens with both your feet, so it was kind of making sense for us to use both sticks. To us it was bringing you a lot closer to what the skateboarding feel is, because you can really play with the sticks the same way you would with your feet, and the triggers were also making sense because when you skate you're banking one side and another, and so that was making sense to use the triggers, because you can control really well with, to us, a wider range of precision with the triggers, banking, and aligning yourself with the obstacles.

Session's control scheme differs from Skate in major ways.

It sounds like an obvious question, but are you guys Skate fans?

MAH: Yeah we are, and I think you can feel it in the game right now. I've always loved the Skate franchise, especially because they were bringing this realism to the table a lot more than everyone else did in the past, and finally this was something I think people were begging for for so long. I loved the Tony Hawk franchise, I think it's been probably one of the strongest entries for skateboarding games, but as soon as Skate came in it changed and reshuffled everything to kind of show people that you can have fun without having to jump like 40 feet in the air over electric rails or anything.

On the Kickstarter page you say you guys are inspired by the nineties, the noughties era - the 'golden era' of skating. How does that come across in the game?

MAH: Right now I think the biggest thing that comes across is, we don't feel it that much in the Kickstarter demo because it was mostly there to give you a chance to try the controls and see where we're going with this crazy idea, but I think we're going to feel it a lot more when we get to the early access with the Broken Banks, and how much effort we're putting into having this street vibe, this street skateboarding vibe, to it.

At first, you know, we were like a lot more of the nineties, 2000s. We even had at some point been thinking four-by-three, having this SD feel of camera, like VX1000 from Sony, and things like that, but at some point it was kind of hurting the concept. I think at some point you have to evolve and understand the fact that things are now HD, and that makes sense, so we kind of took this portion and made it more inside the filmer mode feature that we have, so you'll be able to really edit the way you are using camera settings. If you want to go SD, four-by-three, old school then you'll have the opportunity, but there won't be something hard-stamped in the game.

And what has the response been to the Kickstarter demo?

MAH: I would say the response is extremely positive, unless you were expecting Skate 4. If people expect Skate 4, and I think that as good as it is for us, you know, we're happy that people talk about it, that a lot of people are excited about the game, but there's also a big portion of them who were expecting Skate 4, who were expecting that we'd do a copycat of Skate with a new city or more goofiness. We're inspired by Skate, we love the Skate franchise, we love Skate 1, Skate 2, and we feel that Session could almost branch from those two and become its own entity in terms of 'spiritual successor' [laughs].

So yeah, feedback is really good, and we've already seen like thousands of videos of people doing some crazy cool stuff with it, but there's also this... I think it's kind of a vocal minority right now that people don't get used to the triggers and would like to have Skate 3 controls. Well, we didn't make Skate 3, so we don't feel it really makes sense to make this because it would kind of like go against everything we're trying to build. We had this vision of making this really cool and really realistic skateboarding experience, so making a control scheme like Skate would just probably mean something like 'we're not going to be able to do any better, so let's just do what Skate did'.

And it's not to diss the game or anything. We have a lot of respect to what [EA] Black Box did, and we owe them a portion of this game because it's been really inspiring for us, but we feel its time to move on and bring the skateboarding experience somewhere else.

Feedback from the Kickstarter demo in the prison has been positive.