Interview: Skate 3's Chris "Cuz" Perry

At PAX East, we managed to bend the ear of Chris "Cuz" Perry, one of the Skate series' producers -- you know, the dude from those developer diary videos? Yeah, him. He was rocking the Skate 3 booth, showing off the game, so we did what we do best: cornered him and started firing off questions. See what he had to say below!

Could you tell us what your name and position is?

My full name is Chris Perry and I'm a producer on Skate.

You guys really kept up support for Skate 2 through DLC long after the game came out. Is that something you plan to do with Skate 3?

Official policy is that we can't talk about that, but it sounds like it's a good idea!
So as far as Skate 3 goes, it seems like you took everything from the sequel and kinda just ramped it up, added in this co-op and ...

Well, it works on a couple of different levels. You know, we did the team thing, so with team mode you can actually go online and play team versus team -- we actually got new challenge modes that are conducive to that and we wanted to expand it. For the co-op, which is you and I, or up to five other people, we can be doing a challenge and if I'm in my single-player career, and I just say hey do you wanna do this challenge with me, you come in and we're not competing against each other, we're both trying to finish the challenge at the same time. The cool thing about it is we both get credit for it in our game. The object for the game for everybody is to sell skateboards. You're a skateboarder, you started your company, you created your team now get out there and hustle boards. So every challenge that you do from the hall of meat to doing the death races to going online -- that even goes so far as to the skate parks you create and people download, you'll sell boards. so with co-op, the thing that's cool is you're actually getting credit in your game. most co-op games, the person who joins doesn't get credit.

Speaking of the social stuff, Skate online sharing the pictures and stuff -- it's all coming back again. But with Skate 3 really focusing on a team, does it mean you've dropped those kind of every-man-for-himself modes?

Oh, no no no -- if you're into Spot Battle and are like screw it, I'm anti-social, I don't have a team, it's not what I'm about, go ahead: skate. The same stuff's back. Like if you want to go into Death Race or if you want to do games of Skate or Spot Battles or whatever -- all that, it's all there. But if you wanted to do it in Team mode, you could do it in Team mode and there's also new modes for people who like to play on teams.

In Skate 2, you had that DLC to unlock extra editing features, but it seems like the video suite in Skate 3 is pretty extensive. Will there be optional DLC in Skate 3?

"Some people have said that our game is hard, you know? Maybe. So they're like 'I feel like I did a heelflip, but what did I do wrong? I want to see.' The trick meter shows you exactly what you did so then you can correct it."

It ships with it. So in Skate 2, when we shipped it, the full editing suite was not yet complete, so that's why we offered it as DLC. Anybody, if you turn it on right now -- anybody who does it, you get the full editing suite and me made it a little more user-friendly. It's a beast and what we use to create our videos ourselves.

For us, content sharing is the thing -- and the other big thing is the skate parks. Because when you create your own skate parks -- there's four huge lots each with its own theme and kinda unique feel. Each one of those, you can build your skate park, upload it, you can invite your friends to play and the cool thing is if somebody downloads a skate park that you upload, you sell boards -- you get credit for it.

Is there going to be some kind of limit, like space for how many skate parks I can have saved?


100 skate parks?

You'll have 100 slots through the the interface that you can fill up.

So there's not going to be some kind of like Bungie Pro thing, like Skate Pro, where you have to pay to ...

100. You'll get 100 immediately.

As far as sponsors and stuff, the last game had Thrasher and Skateboard magazine and they're both obviously back, but who else has signed on? New sponsors and new skaters?

We kind of look at it as a family, so, like, all the family that was there before is back in Skate 3. We have a couple new ones based around new pros that we have, so Deathwish is in because we have a guy called Lizard King -- it's part of the Baker family. But, we don't look at them as sponsors -- so, a brand that's in that's tied to something else is Stereo Skateboards and the reason is, you know, Stereo is cool, but the other reason is that one of the people who own Stereo is Jason Lee, the actor and also old pro skater.

Yeah, Coach Frank ...

Exactly, he's Coach Frank. So that's one thing you definitely see and so Stereo has a presence and the reason being because Jason Lee's in the game and we're honored. It's really cool having him.

One of the other new things you guys have shown off is the new difficulty settings and the new meters -- all of these things look like they depend on what difficulty you're playing on and one of the things I've always liked about Skate is that it has a clean presentation and favors itself as more of a sim than the crazy score-driven, kind of arcadey gameplay that has been the Tony Hawk games. It's always been about hitting spots in a more realistic way. Can you go into that a bit?

Say, for example, the manual meter: that's an option that you can turn on. So where we're coming with that is that's for the people who wanted them. Some people have said that our game is hard, you know? Maybe. So they're like "I feel like I did a heelflip, but what did I do wrong? I want to see." The trick meter shows you exactly what you did so then you can correct it. It's a toggleable thing -- you can turn it on, you can turn it off, it's up to you.

Same thing with the manual meter. So, you know, some people say "how do I know I'm in the sweet spot?" In the past, we've kinda just been like figure it out for yourself. We're being a little more friendly with it and, again, those are options you can turn on or off.

And this also applies to Hall of Meat. Some people said they would like to be able to turn the Hall of Meat off so actually Hall of Meat is now a sign-up challenge. You go and sign up and it's only on during the Hall of Meat challenge. But that effect [when you bail], you can turn it on -- by default it's set to off, so it's not intrusive to your experience. If you want pure skateboarding without a bunch of meters and stuff, it starts with them off, you choose to turn them on.

I guess my last question is: where do you go from here? To be, iteratively it's seemed to be a very steady, gradual climb in expanding the feature set and what you can do in the game. But, it's like, in Skate 1, you were a nobody trying to be a somebody. Then in Skate 2, you're kinda known and have to try and get to the top and in Skate 3, you've made it, but now it's about getting a team recognized. What's in store for Skate 4? Is it going to turn into an RTS where you're a CEO and managing your company's resources?

Skate Manager?

Yeah, definitely.

Honestly, when Skate started years ago, most of us were in a room and we wanted to make the ultimate skateboarding experience. A lot of us were new to the industry and what we had in mind, we still haven't got there. The reality is we're just trying to get Skate 3 out and see what the fans' reaction is and see if anybody even wants us to make another one. Who knows? If there's no appetite, there's no appetite -- and if there is, then we'll put on the thinking caps and explore. There's still ideas.

The creativity that's expressed in skateboarding, it's fertile ground from what we can do. So we're just trying to think about Skate 3 and get it out there.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.