We’ve been seeing a ton of chatter on our various social channels over the past few weeks, have been discussing internally and wanted to give you an update. We put together a Q&A that we hope provides some clarity on a few key points.
Q: Are you aware of the gameplay petition with 10k signatures?
A: Yes, we’ve been tracking it since it came out. It blows our mind to see so many people care about the game and rally around proposed gameplay changes and features.
To note, we are present on all the main social channels and are connected directly to many players. We also know about, gather feedback on and have discussed just about every suggestion or feature request in public discussion or sent to us in DM (even ones we don’t find time to respond to), including requests for a stats mod, trick additions, multiplayer functionality, switch stance control options, sound effect improvements, the delayed Switch release, and many more.
We love what has grown around the parts of Skater XL that are in place currently and would like players to know we are aware of and discuss all these things at length internally.
Q: Do you consult players when making features?
A: 100%. Although it is not always seen publicly, testing and player research is a core part of how we learn and make design decisions. We have a ton of contact with players when building features and content, and in figuring out our overall strategy.
How we do this is part of what we see as the secret sauce of the studio. As we move forward, we will be tapping players to help test and develop new features, participate in public events and provide one on one feedback. We hope you will participate.
Q: Will you implement modifiable gameplay stats?
A: While we don’t consider the core mechanics at present to be complete, there is an intensive process we follow in making decisions about designing, player testing, iterating and refining certain parts of the game.
We understand and had suspected that dedicated players would hit a skill / depth ceiling after a certain number of hours and would have demands for added realism among other things. The existing mods allow players on PC to unlock some extra variety, control, realism and value in the gameplay, but they also break a number of design rules we established early on as well as opening other complex issues and challenges.
Implementing core gameplay customization matching the existing PC stats mod would likely provide some wins in the short term, but would not be in line with our approach to carefully crafting and shaping the core parts of the game and the bigger picture.
Q: Are you still working on the Nintendo Switch port?
A: Yes. The release is delayed and TBD but still underway. Stay tuned for more info on this.
Q: Will you communicate more about future plans?
A: This is something we have talked through and considered many times. In general, we aren’t a studio who likes to make empty promises and we try to avoid “fluff” answers, so there will be times we just aren’t ready to talk about particular features. Please stick with us. We’re heads down planning and working on new stuff that we will share with you as soon as possible.
The implementation of any feature takes a lot of work to determine if it fits with our bigger goals, needs adjustment, re-design or is even scrapped altogether. So please, try to be patient with us, but keep giving us feedback and we’ll involve you as much as we can.
We understand many people are accustomed to studios releasing road maps and release schedules, but we don’t think this is something that works well for our iterative development process. Rest assured, 2021 is going to bring a lot of new elements to Skater XL.
Some final notes:
Skater XL 1.0 is not the final vision of the game — it’s a solid foundation for something bigger.
Coming into the new year we need to step back and rebuild some of our internal processes to allow for more efficient workflow, better quality control and focus on some growth within the team. Some of this work has already been completed and a new hire was made over the holiday break.
As for the near future, with the Mod Browser now available cross-platform, we are hoping to be able to start a steady stream of content drops to keep players engaged while we take some time to recalibrate the studio. The work that so much of our community has created deserves to be celebrated and giving players access to this content on all platforms is something we feel is very important.
Our goal is to move the skateboarding genre forward, so please stick with us while we give it a shot. We might succeed at this and we might not, but that’s part of what makes doing something new so exciting. It’s been a crazy ride to this point but we have a feeling the best is yet to come.
Most importantly, we want to thank you for engaging with us and caring about Skater XL.
Much love, Easy Day.