Skater XL has been in early access on PC via Steam since late 2018, and in that time, the game has received high marks even in an unfinished state. Fan-made mods have enabled things like a first-person viewpoint, multiplayer, and a slew of custom map creations. However, while the PC version was the first to get any kind of release, it wasn’t until the Switch version was announced that the game started to garner a more substantial following. With that platform, you have an audience starved for skateboarding-related content, which is going to be more inclined to try it out based on the lack of anything else like it, and there’s the added benefit of portability.
Unfortunately, Skater XL has hit a bit of a snag and will now be delayed until July 28 on most platforms — except for the Switch. The game’s release on the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC will hit on that date in both physical and digital forms, but there isn’t an ETA on the new date for the Switch as of right now. The goal of the delay was to add some more polish to it, which is wise as that has been one of the biggest criticisms about it so far. The core content has been solidly-received, but there has been some detail-work needed, and it looks like this extra few weeks will allow for some fine-tuning.
Given that this is also getting a retail release and the last major skateboarding game to hit retail was the disastrous glorified demo on a disc in Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 5, it’s a smart move. This is especially important for a new, unproven IP as even one lousy launch tanked an entire beloved series with a lot of name value and cache built-up. The developers had announced that they’ll be releasing more information about new features and content before the game’s July 28 launch.
From what’s been shown so far, Skater XL looks to take a bit of the trick transition system from latter-day THPS games with a more technical approach a la Skate, and it may wind up being a great gateway game into more technical skateboarding games as a result. By mixing in ease of use and technical skills within the framework of the game, you can have something that works for both more casual players while still providing enough depth in the core action to please die-hard fans. We’ll find out more when the July 28 launch day hits if the extra time in the oven paid off.