A screenshot of a skateboarder in Philadelphia in Session: Skate Sim.
© creā-ture Studios/Nacon
Games

Get shredding in Session: Skate Sim with these developer tips

We talk to the developers of Session: Skate Sim about how to get rolling in this unique skateboarding simulation.
Written by Jack Ridsdale
5 min readPublished on
Session: Skate Sim has come a long way since its first demo back in 2017. Since then it's launched on Steam Early Access, attracted a publishing deal and is now seeing its full release across PC and consoles. And in all that time, one thing about the game has never changed – its unique control system.
To achieve total immersion in the sport, each analogue stick represents one of the players' feet, challenging you to learn how to control your weight to stay on the board. Once you've mastered the basic movements, you can start introducing Ollies and Flips, feeling the sense of achievement that comes with landing a trick for the first time.
To learn more about Session: Skate Sim and how to quickly get on board with its controls, we sat down with producer Jeff Spicer of developer creā-ture Studios. This studio is currently made up of just nine people, who are in the last stages of polishing the game's launch build

Kick, push

"The idea for Session was really a breakthrough in Marc-Andre's [Houde, former development lead] mind, in terms of using a second stick for the representation of both feet on the physical controller," explains Spicer. "That idea grew into a studio, which grew into early access, which grew into a publishing deal."
The game first made its way into players' hands in 2017 as a free demo, before a Kickstarter campaign launched to fund further development. In 2019, the game came to early access, allowing fans to get stuck into an early build. A dedicated player community quickly formed, eagerly anticipating the full release in September 2022.
A screenshot of a skateboarder grinding a rail in Session: Skate Sim.
Session: Skate Sim has finally hit its full release
With its unique control system, new players may need some time to adjust to Session: Skate Sim. The developers recommend taking the time to learn the game's rhythm when they first step onto the deck.
"People are used to navigating with their left thumb. Really, navigation goes onto the triggers," says Spicer. "Taking the time to get that under your belt helps. Take your time and enjoy it. Think of it in a real-world scenario.
"With Session's increased realism, chaining together a series of impressive tricks is as rewarding as it is challenging. With no scoring or progression systems, the focus of Session is entirely on player creativity and skill. We kind of teach you the logical natural progression and it's up to the player if they want to follow that or not."

Tools of the trade

All the tools players will have to pull off stunning tricks are available at the very start of the game. There are no skill points or trick unlocks. Instead, players must experiment and discover the possibilities on their own.
"When you start the game, you can do anything right off the bat," says Spicer. "But can you physically do it? That's where the challenge and the progression come in. And that's where there's a bit of a learning curve.
"It's more about the ability to link things or navigate smooth lines. It's bringing together the realness. We aren't a game. There are no points, there is no score. It's not like, 'who can do the flashiest single trick?'. It's more about the ability to recreate realism and for it to be believable. Overall, it's cleanliness and flow over complexity."
This emphasis on creativity extends to the game's robust replay editor, which allows players to put together their own skate videos in the style of classics like 411VM and Flip.
A screenshot of a skateboarder in the middle of a kickflip in Session: Skate Sim
Session has many different filters you can apply to your skate sessions
"A journalist said to us once, 'you've made a skate sim and a video editing sim', which is pretty true," Spicer says. "We've got the most robust replay editor in-game. You can change everything from the camera angle, camera type, lens field, view, depth of field, camera, shape and time of day within the replay editor. You can then make individual clips, extract them and compile them into a video."

Skate scenes

To properly evoke the American skate scene of the late '90s and early 2000s, Session transports players to a variety of iconic locations around the United States, including Black Hubbas, Brooklyn Banks and FDR Park.
"We focused on what was the biggest influence on us as skaters," adds Spicer. "Some of these locations don't exist anymore, so we wanted to give players the ability to restore that. We focused on three North American meccas – San Francisco on the West coast and New York and Philadelphia in the Northeast. It provided a good spread in terms of skate terrain, nostalgia and storylines that we could tie into."
Session: Skate Sim is all about discovery and the full release has plenty of secrets for players to find, whether they've played the early access version or are coming to the game fresh. It's also possible for players to fine-tune their experience to match their skate style.
A screenshot of Torey Pudwill in Session: Skate Sim.
Pro skater Torey Pudwill is one of multiple skaters you can play as
"We have gameplay parameters or options you can tweak such as how grippy your wheels are, how high your pop is and, if you're limited with realistic physics, how far you can separate from your board," he explains. "If you're a skater, we recommend you choose the stance you use, regular or goofy, because it'll just make more sense.
"We made a skate simulator for old guys like me and young people who can't get out if it's raining, or can't afford new trucks on their board," concludes Spicer. "They can explore the creative freedom of skating without having to have a board, shoes, or a place to skate."
Session: Skate Sim is available now on all major consoles and PC.