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Interview: Skate 3 producer Chris Parry

Mike Schramm
Mike Schramm|@mikeschramm|May 14, 2010 9:05 AM
It was a motley crew at the Venice Beach, CA skate park on Wednesday, as EA held a public launch party for Skate 3. Skater kids were running everywhere, checking out the game, taking full advantage of the free food and giveaways, and of course skating, grinding and jumping on the various rails and bowls available to them.

In among all of the skaters was one Chris "Cuz" Parry -- even as he gave out free copies of the game and limited edition skateboards to raffle winners, he would see a 12-year-old pull some air and respond directly over the PA: "Did you see that little ripper go? That was sick!"

After he finished the giveaways, we pulled the producer of all three Skate games to the side and asked him about what EA's Black Box studio has planned post-release.
You really got into it out there. You know what you're talking about! You're the producer of the game, and a lot of producer guys need to know what their game is about, but you seem like you're really into skating.

Chris Parry, Producer on Skate 3: A little bit, yeah. It's weird because people talk like -- most developers, when the game ships, it's like, "Whoof, I'm glad I'm not going to play that for a long time." I just couldn't wait for the game to get out, so now I can skate with my homies. There's a lot of people here from our community. And I'm working on Skate 3 all day, but I go home at night, play Skate 2 or skateboard for real. Yeah, I'm from skateboarding, and at the end of the day when this surreal dream of working on a video game, when it ends, I'll still be at the skateboard park skating. At the end of the day, that's what we said, is that we didn't want to mess up skateboarding, because we still have to live it.

"I'm working on Skate 3 all day, but I go home at night, play Skate 2 or skateboard for real."

The game came out yesterday -- what has the reaction been like so far?

Everybody wants a free copy! [Laughs]

I really don't know -- I'm on this promotional tour kind of thing, and I don't check my Blackberry, so I don't know yet. But what it feels like to me is that a lot of people are hyped. Especially if you talk to skaters. Gamers, if you were into the first two, it's bigger, it's better, it's got all of this stuff, so I think those people are figuring it out. But from the skateboarders' point of view, they're super excited. That's really what it's about -- the skateboard world is like, "Yeah, the engine looks great, and I can't wait to play it."

The thing that I'm excited about is that it stands out as being quite different than the other games out now. We didn't know when we were going to release that May was going to have all of these other games, but ours is different. It's a certain mindset to play our game, and I like the fact that it's not just shooting people or doing stuff like that. We're giving people tools to make their own art.

Sharing is such a big part of the series. Any stats on how many photos or videos have been shared so far?

It's through the roof, I know our demo numbers were insane. When the demo was out, people immediately started making videos. In terms of stats, I don't know with Skate 3 yet, but it's overwhelming for us.

Thousands? Hundreds of thousands?

Oh yeah. Thousands and thousands, hundreds of thousands. The numbers of skate parks was mind-boggling immediately. The game came out yesterday and we were checking it out -- some guys in Europe, even some reviewers, had started up making parks. I was like, "Where'd this one come from," and they said a reviewer did it. I was like, "Sick!" I think in the next week, once people figure out the tools -- the tools are really easy to work with, but some of the guys are like, "Oh I'm a perfectionist, and I don't want to release my work until it's ready."

The other cool thing about sharing is that you gain credit for it in the game. So if you upload a park and people download it, you get credit for it, and you sell skateboards. I love that, because people are killing themselves for hours to make something, and now they get something for it.

"We reenvisioned Maloof a bit. It's in Skate 3, but for a lot of people that didn't buy it in Skate 2, we said well, let's just give it to them."

DLC is another big question post-release. Any ideas of what you're planning with that?

Yes. I have an idea. [Laughs]

Anything you can share with us?

No. Unfortunately. I don't know if we've announced it, but we'll probably be partnering with a big contest like we did last time.

Wink wink.

Yeah! [Laughs] So we'll be working with the same guys, and they're awesome. I was just in Las Vegas at the Palms Casino, if that gives you any clue. People will connect the dots.

I don't know what our official policy is about talking about DLC, but let's just say when I go back to Vancouver, I have stuff to work on for a while.

Great. A lot of the Skate 2 DLC was actually locations from the previous game. The Maloof Money Cup was DLC for Skate 2, but it's already in Skate 3, right?

We re-envisioned Maloof a bit. It's in Skate 3, but for a lot of people that didn't buy it in Skate 2, we said well, let's just give it to them. It's going to be there.

Do you think anyone who bought the DLC for Skate 2 might have been disappointed to see that?

Me personally? Possibly. That's a valid question. I would say don't skate there if you don't want to. The vast majority of the people that bought Skate 2 have never seen it. And we did tweak it -- with the Object Dropper, we created a whole new back skatepark area of it, so you can make it as different as you want, because in Skate 2 you didn't have the ability to just drop objects in it. So it breathes new life into it, but if you don't like it, hey don't skate there. If we do new DLC, there'll be new places to skate, that definitely makes sense. People like it.

We did one classic pack, revisiting San Vanalone, because people were like, "San Vanalone is cool, but I wish I could do this set of tricks with the Object Dropper." And even though they're like, "Yeah, I've already been there, but oh man I could do inverts back in that pool."

So are there any other locations that you'd like to bring back then?

We're looking at ideas. Part of it is getting feedback from the community, we don't want to jump the gun. But we're figuring it out. We do have a few, and I have seen one that I'm really, really excited to skate with people. I can't say more, though. I'll get in trouble!

All right, I'll let you tease. Thanks!