A wise man once said: “I will face God and walk backwards into hell”. But why walk when you can tear through nine circles of damnation on four wheels and a solid deck? Skate Story, currently in development by indie developer Sam Eng, is skateboarding like I’ve never seen before. Gone are butt-rock anthems and Jackass-tier celebs. This is skateboarding for the supernatural, tearing a radical line from our mortal reality all the way down into the underworld.
Skating games are in a weird place. For better or worse, Tony Hawk is still on an indefinite Pro Skating hiatus, and there’s no sign Skate 4 is happening anytime soon. But in the indie space, you can’t really move for bodacious sk8er bois.
In one corner, you’ve got Session reviving Skate’s low-angle technicals. In another, Skatebird is bringing back arcadey combo-busting – resurrecting Pro Skater’s breezey tricks by taking the “Hawk” part of Tony’s name way, way too literally.
Earlier today though, this bizarre image ollied its way onto my Twitter feed. I was enthralled. Who is this crystalline Chad Muska tearing their way towards a crimson sun? Why is the lad from Superhot powering through Richard Perrin’s Kairo?
— Skate Story (@skatestorygame) February 16, 2020
This is Skate Story, developer Sam Eng’s latest trick. Described as “new game about skating down into the underworld”, Skate Story drops mullet-toting stoners for a supernatural descent into the skateboarding afterlife. That doesn’t mean it isn’t taking the act of skating deadly serious, though – it looks like Eng is opting for a Skate-esque approach, mirroring the handheld camera angles and thumbstick kickflips.
hopefully the 360 flip and kickflip to manny pop out is enough to distract you from the bad lighting and lack of shadows pic.twitter.com/GBYZ11AEeJ
— sam eng (@bysameng) February 16, 2020
Eng’s last game was Zarvot, a self-described “emotional cube game” for Switch. It had its charm, but – for me – Skate Story’s alien routes knock it out of the park. Vast, oppressive vistas giving way to tight, intimate paths, city blocks and rainswept streets giving way to otherworldly chambers. Skating games shouldn’t look like this – and yet, Skate Story does, and I very much desire it. Let me 360 nosegrab my way straight into oblivion.
Skate Story is coming “soon”, with no confirmed platforms at this time. In fact, the official website currently just shows an ominous pair of feet. Fair.