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Talking to the Creators of Session about Skate 4, Early Access and Kickstarter

Talking to the Creators of Session about Skate 4, Early Access and Kickstarter


The prevalence of skateboarding games has been in steady decline over
the past few years. The untimely demise of EA’s Skate series and the multiple disasters that plagued the
Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater franchise has left the gaming landscape wide open for a new skateboarding game to lead the way. Session is the debut title from recently established indie studio Crea-ture Studios. Set to release
into early access in May 2018, Session promises to be a hardcore, simulation-heavy skateboarding experience, with a dual analog control scheme not too dissimilar to EA’s Skate. In December 2017, Session celebrated a successful Kickstarter campaign in, raising over $160,000
from almost 3 and a half thousand backers. Marc-Andre Houde and Vicent Da Silva are the co-founders of Crea-ture Studios. They originally
met whilst working at WB Montreal, lending their talents most notably to Batman Arkham
Origins. Marc-Andre is Crea-ture Studios’ artist and animator, while Vincent handles the programming. Recently I got a chance to talk with the team at Crea-ture studios, about the success of their recent Kickstarter, what the future holds for Session, as well
as comparisons made between Session, and the illusive, Skate 4. Also just a heads up, Marc-Andre and Vincent both have fairly thick French accents and
the audio quality isn’t fantastic, so, I’ve taken the liberty of creating subtitles, which
you can turn on, here. GAME BRAIN: What’s your reaction to your Kickstarter? You guys were thankful enough
to raise $160,000, what was your feeling coming out of the whole process? MARC-ANDRE: Super happy, we were really tired at the end. But yeah we’re super happy, I
think the reception was really good. People clearly showed that there’s a need for a new skate game, so it’s always good
to see such an amount of positive feedback, so yeah, super cool. VINCENT: It was pretty much what we expected, but a little bit more, you know you never
really know how things are going to go. GAME BRAIN: I think just over 3,000 people contributed to the Kickstarter. If you had
to send a message to the backers, what would you say? MARC-ANDRE: Massive thanks, I think it’s really cool. We know the project’s been in some
weird position in the beginning, it was a really tough start, but we’re really happy to see people stood by and kept believing in us, and showed really
explicitly that they’re really down for this concept, so yeah, big thanks. GAME BRAIN: How’s the money from the Kickstarter going to impact the project in the short-term
and the long-term? MARC-ANDRE: Well, as we were saying during the Kickstarter video, making games is something
that’s really expensive, so we wanted to make sure that we could bring a really solid early access version, so that
was mostly why we wanted to go to Kickstarter. We already had some funds, so that allowed us to make the prototype and make something
decent. But we also felt that the Kickstarter would help a lot to help make a really solid early
access version. So short term, I think it’s going to help us make Session look way better than we could have for the first
early access version, we hope it’s going to have a long term impact because it’s going to start better than what
we expected. GAME BRAIN: You guys are lucky enough to already have, without even releaseing into early access,
a pretty dedicated online community, there’s quite a lot of people playing Session that are pretty active and vocal online. What’s it like to that trust and reassurance from players so early in the development process? VINCENT: It’s actually pretty cool, we weren’t expecting that much, sometimes I’m on YouTube and in the history since i’m looking at skateboard stuff there’ll
be like a Session video that pops up and it’s like ‘wow that’s pretty impressive,’ something that’s not even a full game yet and already there’s so many videos popping
up. So it’s cool, it’s a nice feeling. MARC-ANDRE: It’s really cool, it’s really motivating, but it’s also really stressful
at the same time. Right now we’re only two, expectations are high, and for those who have been following the project, this prototype is something that
we’ve made, we’ve built in less than 8 months. I think it’s going to be a really fun challenge, it’s really cool that people are that excited
but it’s kind scary at the same time. GAME BRAIN: It was almost as if the Kickstarter came a lot later than a lot of people expected.
Why was right now the right time for the Kickstarter, what made it the optimal time to start it? MARC-ANDRE: There’s actually no particular optimal time I’d say, it’s really difficult.
You know the Kickstarter, I think it went really well, considering the time it showed up, November, end of November,
it was getting really close to Christmas time. So it probably could’ve been a better timing but for us it was so important that we come
up with something playable, something that people can just take time to download the demo and see if it’s a good fit
for them to believe in this game, to follow us, to back us. Lots of people were expecting Skate 4, or a copy cat of Skate.
We love Skate, we’ve said it many, many times that it’s a huge inspiration for us, but we’re working to build something different because we felt
there was some untouched ground. GAME BRAIN: And you play around with it as well, you mention Skate 4 in the tutorial,
you’re not shy to reference that sentiment. MARC-ANDRE: Yeah yeah! It’s kind of funny jokes we like to say, we know that people
were expecting like Skate 4, we’ve been really vocal that we’re making something realistic, we’re getting close
to simulation, we have those stick, control sticks concept, so for sure there has to be some links to the EA Skate franchise.
But at the same time yeah, I think Session is this kind of cool game that deserves it’s own identity and can definitely
have it’s place in the skateboarding games history. GAME BRAIN: There’s a pretty long history of some very successful skateboarding games
out there, do you guys have a favourite skateboarding game in particular? MARC-ANDRE: : For me, for sure I’ve played Tony Hawk a lot when I was young, I think
I was something like 16 or 17 when the first one came out. But I must admit that as soon as EA’s Skate came into play, it really shifted the whole
thing, it was like for the first time time I was able to enjoy doing some more realistic stuff. I would say that probably Skate 1 was
probably my favourite one, even though you couldn’t get off the board, I felt the whole city was feeling more natural
and making more sense to me. VINCENT: On my part I wasn’t, as you saw from the video, I’m not a skater of the
group, I played some Tony Hawk when I was younger also, the Skate series a little bit. I’m noway near, I can’t tell you which ones my favourite,
really. I havent played enough of them to say ‘oh this is the one, this my favourite’. I do definitely prefer the more realistic aspect of the Skate series than with Tony
Hawk, but out of all them I’d say Session is my favourite, that’s a little bit bias. GAME BRAIN: All good, that’s fine, you can say your own game, there’s no rules! I wanted to say, there’s an interesting part in the tutorial in Session. Starting in a
prison, its a really distinct starting location with your orange jumpsuit and everything. And the tutorial is delivered by a security guard, or a prison guard. Is that relationship
with authority figures and rebelling against the system something that’s important to the fabric of Session? MARC-ANDRE: Yeah it’s a really good point you bring there. For sure this is something
that I always enjoyed about skateboarding, it’s not always because you have to go against the rules or something, take time to think
about what is prohibited, does it make sense? Having your own way of thinking. And usually when you end up going against those rules or having your own way of thinking,
you end up in trouble. So I think that works with the skateboarding culture, you’re expressing some other things, you’re destroying stuff, you’re breaking the law
because its written somewhere that skateboarding is illegal, that doesnt make sense. But this whole prison thing is kind of a mix of how we wanted the people to see Session
as more than just a park, indoor park game, it’s something that we wanted to reflect the skateboarding culture. GAME BRAIN: The trick menu in Session very brazenly states that this is the first ‘true
hardcore’ skating game, why did you want to make the simulation element so prominent in the gameplay? MARC-ANDRE: I think is what�s fun about skateboarding, to us it’s not necessary, you
don’t have to jump like a 50 stair set to feel like you’ve accomplished something, it’s more that you think about what you want to do, you put in the effort. And we also
wanted to, with what we kind of call the ‘Real Stance Concept’, since you have the left foot and right foot on stick, when
you go switch, the whole control scheme changes. And yeah we could have avoided and stick to the more
simplified version, but we also wanted to create this kind of thing that exists within the skating culture.
Skateboarding is not only several tricks in a row, it’s really something that you think
first, you plan and you try. So yeah, that’s why we we’re making sure people are aware of this,
this is how far we want to go with the simulation. And it’s not even as far as we want to go, we want to have the catching mechanics and
flipping speed and all these things to be in the game later on. GAME BRAIN: Great, so Vincent, for you as well, what was the development process of
the boarding like? On the gameplay front you’re on the front line. What were some of the main challenges in bringing the skating system to life? VINCENT: I’d say one of my biggest challenges is that I’m not a skater myself. So im often
playing Skate, I actually have Skate 2, Skate 3, Skate 1, it’s actually up there, next to my desk, and I pop it in sometimes when I just want to
get a feel for things, how they go, so thats definitely a challenge, since we’re working with a lot of physics and getting that realistic feel to it. We
don’t believe that we’re at the point where we want it to be yet, so we still want to
push it way more than it is now, you’ve got to find that perfect balance where ‘okay, this is nice it feels realistic
enough and it feels fun enough’. We’ve learnt a lot already, we’ve got a lot more
to learn as we go along. It’s been a challenge, converting that real aspect of the skating for me, which I don’t
particularly know, to that game. So Marc-Andre is kind of my guinea pig, I make a feature and ‘Hey, can I get your feedback, if this feels right or not,’ and
we keep going with it you know. It’s going to be an iterative process, hence why we’re also doing the early access, because
we want community feedback. GAME BRAIN: Early access is only a few months away now, where do you want the gameplay to
be a few months from now, what are you hoping the gameplay looks like at the stage of early
access? MARC-ANDRE: I think what matters most is making sure that the experience is as tight as we
can. We’d like to make sure that tricks feel better, grinds as well,
as much as we go simulation sometimes it still feels arcade-y and when you do grinds and locks thats pretty much it. There’s no balance, theres no friction
or anything, so we’re probably putting most of our energy into these things, experience
is the key. It’s a skill based game, so i think people will be really disappointed if we come up
with a huge city and no progress into the skating experience. GAME BRAIN: Great, can you give me any idea of how that’s going to work? Unlocking new
tricks, customization options, how will the progession system work? MARC-ANDRE: The progression system is something that’s going to come on a little bit later,
right now every trick is available right away. Once we’ve set all the key features, like catching mechanics, which is something really
important. I would say first step, is going to be making sure that grinding feels a lot
better, I think this is even more important than progression at the moment. GAME BRAIN: I think one of the most eyecatching things about Session’s gameplay is the lack
of a scoring system. And that’s something that’s really new for a skating game, it’s like a foreign concept almost, was that really important for you guys to implement?
What was the thinking behind not having a scoring system? MARC-ANDRE: The main and major thinking of it is, I’m taking the question because I’m
the skater guy in between Vince and I. The main and almost only reason why there’s no scoring system is simply because, to me,
as a skater, it doesn’t make sense that you are putting points into something that is so subjective. So having points in
the game was destroying this, and I think this is really important for skateboarding
you know. Just doing what you want, what you feel like doing. GAME BRAIN: I actually headed over the Session subreddit, and asked some of the fans of Session
if they want to ask you guys any questions in particular. So here are some community questions, from the fans. So, some of these user names, I’m
not going to pronounce them right, so bare with me. User NoohShab asked: In the kickstarter the multiplayer online and customization goals
weren’t reached, does that mean those two things are not included in the game completely
or only in the early access? MARC-ANDRE: Actually, no, all those stretch goals that we didn’t reach are just not secure,
so depending on how well the game will sell, we’ll be able to end up making those features. The only issue is it’s going to take a lot more time than expected depending on how well
the project goes, pretty much. GAME BRAIN: User Donwea essentially asks: What’s the difference between developing in
an open, indie environment where the consumer’s feedback has a bigamount of impact in the
game v/s working for a big company with publishers, deadlines and not too many creative
decisions. VINCENT: we do have a lot more creative freedom as opposed to when you’re working for a
big company or publisher, especially they want to make the big bucks,
so there calls might not be in line with the creative aspect of it. and more so, is it more accessible as opposed to more niche, that’s definitely different,
the challenges of the indie space is you’re independent, you need to find money to keep
going and you need to find money to keep going, and you need to try and make the best game you
can, so it’s he challenge of balancing. MARC-ANDRE: The biggest different, and it might be our biggest problem or challenge
I would say, is since we have entire creative control, things can grow really easily and
we always have to make sure that we keep a cool head regarding what we want to do with the game. We’re getting lots
of feedback, sometimes there’s some really cool ideas that come up, but in reality making
a game with such a limited budget, there’s a lot of things I would love to do that we cannot do, and we have say, no,
well, sorry, I can’t. VINCENT: Don’t get me wrong, you learn, we went there and learned a lot, what to do,
what not to do, so it was worth it in the end, you get to gain some experience, but
i prefer ten fold the indie space. MARC-ANDRE: Yeah the same for me, by far. GAME BRAIN: mmm_vernors asks: Modding was listed as a really high tier stretch goal,
but people are already making mods. Will they actively restrict mods or just not release
official tools? MARC-ANDRE: Okay, yeah this is a good one, I think there’s a lot of things going around
mods. I think I can speak for both of us, we love the fact that people want to mod the
game and be involved in creating content and really cool stuff. Where we get, i wouldn’t say concerned but, it’s a really thin line because it’s so early
in the game, so many things are going to change that modding at the moment feels really really
early. But right now the reality is we’re just the two of us, and we don’t have tools, we’re
using Unreal and we cannot invest too much time and money into tools for the money because
we need to make the game, and right now there’s not really any game, it’s just a prototype, a cool control, bunch
of animations, and broken Brooklyn maps, so thats pretty much it. GAME BRAIN: And broken maps…And another one, and I think this one is really important
because I feel like the community should know about this. This is from LurkerLew, the question is: Are you still holding true to your statement about
allowing people who missed the kickstarter to back the project via paypal,
granting them access to the Indoor Park v2 and other prototype content? There are many of us out there who simply didnt realize we missed the end date and would
like to contribute. So obviously so fans out there are hoping to fund the game. Are you
guys helping support that? MARC-ANDRE: Yeah this is something that is on our list right, that we want to look at,
we just want to make sure because, for example, you know someone is sending a message,
‘Oh i’d like to back the game, will we have access to paypal and everything?’ And we say ‘yeh sure’, and then seconding question is ‘yeah but will i just have the
indoor park? Will i be able to take some bigger pledges and tshirts and everything.
This is something that we care about making sure that people are happy with the interaction they have with us. We’re definitely
not close with this paypal idea for sure. We just need to make sure it’s efficient,
that it doesn’t become counter-productive. VINCENT: The long answer short: We’re looking in it. MARC-ANDRE: I’m the long answer guy. GAME BRAIN: Yeah great. I guess like you’re Kickstarter you want to make sure it’s the
right time, and that it’s done right it seems. Last question, and I like it, it’s short and
sweet. SameJones782 asked: Is it coming to PS4? MARC-ANDRE: *laughs* Is it coming to PS4. There’s no early access for PS4, unfortunately,
I’m going to have to answer and this is the same answer we give to everyone but we’re
definitely not closed off to other platforms, So as soon as V1 will be out, the first thing we’ll do is look at porting the game to
other platforms. GAME BRAIN: Hey guys! Thank you so much for watching this video. Subscribe to the channel
if you’re enjoying my content and please, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. I
try and respond to as many as I can, and I always enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can also follow me on twitter @thegamebrain.
I always upload little segments that don’t make it into my final videos, so stay tuned
there if you want to see more behind the scenes content. A huge thanks to the Session community for providing questions
and footage for this video, you can find links to their channels in the description below.
I’ll see you next time.

100 comments

Too bad the creators are kooks and dont consult any REAL skateboarders for trick names and such. Makes the game waaaaaay less immersive and "realistic" when they use names no one has heard of. No one calls bending down for a trick "cranking it".

i think this game has so much potential, looking forward to its finished version when it meets the creators own expectations. And like others here have said, skate 1 was his favorite game so that's very promising. If this game ends up being a more realistic version of skate 1 then it will be gold. I just realllly hope they sell enough copies to implement online play as a patch / update, as online play with friends (even just freeskating) will increase peoples play time of this game dramatically.

The games seem wonky, i know its early but it will never reach the fluid like motion of the skate series. Seems like a mix between tony hawk ps and skate physics

Great interview, and nice job writing the captions. It was a good idea gathering footage from the community, too- I recognized almost everyone's clips in the video! Very good stuff, man. I am hyped on Session and putting up content at my channel as well. The controls are so much fun! Hope everyone who sees this realizes the potential this game has, and stays committed to supporting the devs.

I can't wait for this game! Great interview! I just wish certain peeps would understand what they have out now is not the demo. It's like pre-pre demo. So quit hating lol. Game looks really promising this early in the stages! More people need to hear this interview.

You would have to have an IQ of 20 to not understand what these guys are saying. Their English is perfect. Subtitles are almost an insult.

Man, you never heard a french talking in english with a strong accent. Their pronunciation is quite good. But hey… subtitles don't hurt anybody 🙂

Can anybody get me a zip file for the v2 park? I missed the backer date by literally a day because of my gf's birthday.

Really like the very realistic controls and everything. Lets hope trick spammers dont ruin this game. Cant wait for them to improve and make the game bigger and bigger.

Neversoft was the best skating game developers… literally almost everyone on the Neversoft team knew how to skate and you could find secret tapes in the old THPS games of the Neversoft team shredding mini Ramps and getting street footage..

I seriously watched the whole video, liked it A LOT ! hit the like button , was surprised but happy nobody disliked yet, then went to hit subscribe and was like DAFUQ !?!?!? How do you only have 6.2k subs yet ????? I adore the professionality and high quality you produced this video ! You'll definetly see me on other videos from now on cause I need to watch more of you now haha 😀 <3 love from Germany 😉

this video was really good, thanks a lot for the upload, cant wait to see the final product, hoping that will come out before my death ahah

the physics fucking suck in this game im sorry this needs to perfect just like skate 3 the super realistic jumps and lands and falls

Nice job, this video was great and contained a lot of information I wanted to know about this game! Keep up the great work man x

Session is going to be awful. I love that they’re trying to make a realistic game but that’s all they really have to offer, realism. They don’t have anything special to keep it interesting, you’ll play it for a week maybe before going “oh I’ve pretty much done it all”

Hey man love this video and your editing etc. Only thing is you don't upload that often! I know you're a new channel but I think you have a lot of potential so uploading on a regular basis would definitely help you grow and expand. Telling from that accent I assume you're Australian (like me) which is nice because we need more Aussie youtubers. Good luck man!

About the progression of the player, maybe they should play around with mussle memory. When you start, you'll got to do tricks perfectly with the joystick, and as you get the trick down many times, the joystick flick maybe could be less perfect to get the same trick!!!

Hmmm this kinda changed my opinion on this game. Even tho EA Skate came "closer" to realism than THPS, I definitely don't think chasing realism is the best thing to do. If there is no point system, challenges, funny shit, no game element whatsoever, why should I play this game if I could go skate outside or at a park. Some poor design choices in my opinion.

What about the falls ??? I know it's an alpha footage but it is really part of the realism when you fall right and not like a puppet !!

if this game doesn't have real life skate companies that you can either get sponsored by or unlock their Merch, wheels, decks, trucks, etc then I can't see this game being as popular as the Skate franchise. Ill personally still buy it because I've been playing skate 3 for over 7 years so I'm chomping at the bit for a new skate game of equal or better caliber. But for me the whole way you unlocked decks, real skate company merchandise, trucks, and wheels is really what gave the Skate franchise great replay value that a lot of Tony hawk games didn't have. also I think having real Pros as playable options In game wold be great too.

Awesome ! I'm looking forward to play this game.
What the dev said about "No scoring system" is just beautiful to hear and I completely agree.
This game is for real life skaters, and there is more and more every year.

this will be the world's 1st competitive skateboarding game. these 2 dudes will be billionaires. well deserved, great game already!

I'm very excited for session and I also think that this might be another Catalyst to Spur EA along into Skate 4 in order to try to reprove their dominance in the skate video game arena.

im fed up with EA,,,many others are as well,,the game will do fine as long as it works smooth,,,let ppl pick the control scheme they like and itl do better,,get the basics right with the physics,smooth,realistic feel,riding around,pumping,pivots,,,triggers should be grabs becuase it makes sense,,logic,,,trigger spins are so awkward,i prefer games with stick spins,,,i didnt play session yet,if a demo comes to xbox ill try it out,,,btw if the sticks are the legs that should mean you could be able to do different types of flicks,pops,tweaks,late shuvits,late flips,depending how much flick you apply at certain moments,,,if thats the direction of the game its something to look forward to in a couple years,,,good luck to the guys figuring the future of session

There is a quite similar inline skating game and what really bothers me in both cases is the ragdoll for bail animations. The ones in PSX tony hawk games felt more fluid and satisfying than this sloppy mess. Great video overall and I wish the dev folks all the best – the world needs another skating game, for sure

Game controls honestly look horrible and I know it's Alpha but turning with the triggers is so dumb why don't you stick with skate controls

Thank you for this video. I just heard of this game. Looking into other videos is just gameplay. Being a hardcore fan of the skafe series i was very unimpressed. Did not like thinking this is going to be the next skateboarding game. After hearing their stories and how dedicated and understanding they are. Also theirs only two people working on it made me see that this could be great. I actually hope that they get the funds , experience, and the help to put alot more detail into this. I stilk want skate 4 but a realistic sided game would be great. Who knows? They do it right it could be the best!

The body animations need to be improved. Some times the feet merged through the board. The animations also look robotic at times when the skater is between tricks. It needs to look more seamless.

I am a decent skateboarder and have loved skateboarding my whole life. i personally thought skate 2 in particular was the best skateboarding game ever created. For me, it all comes down to the physics of how the skaters body moves and the board flips. Skate 2 was much more smooth and simplified compared to skate 3 and skate. I truly hope session will restore my faith in skateboarding games as a die hard skateboard fanatic. I don't care about all the unlockables or how big the game is. Get the physics of a kickflip right. Get the ollie mechanics perfected. These are things people like me want out of a skateboarding game.

I would be willing to learn this games controls if their animations weren’t so ugly but right now, not for me

I’m really afraid they’ll get sued and these amazing people won’t be able to fulfill a need that EA won’t give us

Just fix the pushing to where it doesnt look like he has a stick up his ass as well as 2 pushes should get you goin. Fix the foot going through the board. Other then that im pretty fine with it, although if i heard right there is no multiplayer. Big red flag for me but im sure the game will sell decently enough.

I hope this game ends up having a good campaign. I love skating games with role play elements, and since there can't be any stat progression in a game based off your own skill, it would be nice to see tangible feedback in other ways, like sponsor relationships growing and career choices opening up kinda thing. Starting from making sketchy youtube videos or something to getting paid to fly out to do international film parts and shit. A long shot, but getting to do literally any sort of customization with your pro model sponsor merch would be great. As hokey as the customization was, I loved the moment in T.H.U.G. when you found out you were getting your own deck, and that you actually got to design it yourself. I wanna like, at least pick custom colors and textures on some brand name shoes. Maybe I want weird things though. Also. Hippie jumps and hippie ollies. And plants would be cool. But I know the old school ways don't have much place in today's skateboarding games :c outside of not being popular, it's a little too fast and rough and experimental to accurately simulate.

The creature studio said that if the reason the game is coming soon that when the full Kickstarter campaign was great but if it came out yeah it would be nice to do that in the Kickstarter 🤔

Tbh game Brain. Tony hawk is the first one who’s make a game a life and when EA is the only first one make it skate 1 skate 2 skate 3 session game It was really wet because the purses style and the person who is popping a skate board when game glitches sometimes and they ruin skateboard and community but is Rosa about breaking the rules spray paint stuff about each other and hella meat The only game went Tony hawk had is underground 2 it cool game you can break rules a lot of shit but session fuck no #skate4

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