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Interview: Easy Day Studio reveals how Skater XL on Switch hit 60fps

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Announced all the way back in 2020, Skater XL for the Switch announced alongside the other consoles but it’s taken a little while to arrive. The good news is the team at Easy Day Studio have used all this time to really get the game running on the Nintendo Switch silky smooth.

We got to have a chat with Dain Hedgpeth, co-founder of Easy Day Studio (and fellow Aussie), all about Skater XL on the Switch.


For those who don’t know, what is Skater XL?

Skater XL is an authentic, physics-based skateboarding game. The core controls and gameplay are unique in that each joystick controls one foot of the player, and the gameplay and movement of the board is all calculated in real-time rather than being based off of canned animation sequences. 

The result of this is extremely responsive and satisfying gameplay where you feel fully in control of the board and no two tricks are ever exactly the same. For anyone with an interest in or connection to skateboarding, this is the gameplay that we always really wanted.

It also features famous real-world skate spots, 4 top pro skaters as playable characters, an authentic soundtrack, gear from more than 30 core skateboarding brands, a replay editor and freeskate multiplayer. As skaters ourselves, we tried to bundle as much of the experience and culture of skateboarding in the game as we could. It’s the closest thing to having a digital version of a skateboard.

Skater XL appears to be more of a skating sim, with more advanced controls where each analogue stick is a foot on the board. Will non-skaters still be able to pick this up?

Making the game as accessible as possible was a high priority for us. In the many decisions and iterations to build the controls and game content including map design we aimed for an experience that was easy and low stress to play, but had optional depth and challenge available if and when the player chose to ramp things up. ‚ÄėEasy to play, hard to master‚Äô was a design goal we worked towards.

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Due to the novel control scheme, there are a few new concepts and skills to get the hang of in the first hour or so of play, but in player testing and feedback since early development we‚Äôve found that once players get past this short learning curve, the controls become second nature and allow for a lot more control, expression and fun than with past skateboarding games. 

It’s been a while since the game was initially announced for the Switch. How’s the journey been bringing the game to the system? Especially since it’s running at 60FPS.

Yes, we originally announced to launch on Switch in 2020 alongside the other platforms. We could not get it to a high enough quality bar by that time though. The heart of the experience of Skater XL is the responsive, physics-based core gameplay. For everything else in the game to have value the gameplay needs to be smooth. We had the game running at a jumpy 30FPS back in 2020, but it just wasn’t enough. It didn’t feel like the same experience as on the other platforms.

Finding another 16ms per frame and getting to 60 FPS really didn‚Äôt look possible at that time. But we kept working on optimization alongside other development. As a fully self funded studio we‚Äôve had the luxury to be able to simply keep working on it until it felt ready, rather than having external time pressures or deadlines for release. 

It‚Äôs been a  long journey, with the code for a huge number of systems re-designed and re-written, art assets re-structured from the ground up, and much more. I think we‚Äôre all in agreement that it was worth the extra time and care.  We feel like Skater XL running at a buttery smooth 60FPS on the Switch is a stand out experience for a third party title on the platform. It really looks and plays amazingly.

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The Switch version of the game will also support mods, something we don’t really see on consoles, let alone the Switch much. What will be available?

An important note that we encountered some unexpected technical hurdles requiring a little more work and so the Mod Browser will now drop in a patch update shortly after the game launches. 

Skater XL much like skateboarding itself is a platform for creativity and culture and mods have been a huge part of that. When we initially launched the Mod Browser in game on other platforms it received over 1 million downloads in the first 24hr. 

With bringing the game to Switch we had always planned things in a way that would give us the best chance of having parity in experience and features between all platforms and we have put a lot of work in to bring all the same mod content to Switch. It takes a fair bit of work to convert and optimize maps, but we already have a good number ready to launch and the Switch will receive all the same maps and gear as other platforms.

It will be a game-changer for the Switch version of Skater XL and help the game feel fresh and alive.

Tell us about the online modes. There are up to 10 players supported. Is it just skating around with friends, or can you drop in with anyone?

You can skate in public rooms with both strangers and friends, or private rooms with friends only. It’s a free-skate style mode where there are no rules to the skating, and it includes a spectate feature where you can flip between watching other players skate and also watch them scrub through and edit their replays. You can also choose to drop at the same starting pin as another player you are spectating on so you can skate the same spot together.

We tested a lot of different rules and modes in developing multiplayer and this simple collection of features gave the most fun and flexibility for people to hang out, be spontaneous and let fun interactions emerge in a group setting without forcing a particular structure.

Skater XL features several professional skaters. How do you approach getting them in the game, and do they contribute to the tricks and moves in the game?

There‚Äôs actually a fair bit of work getting a pro skater into the game. The visual likeness includes an initial photogrammetry scan of their body and clothes they will wear in the game (with the wardrobe all being worked out with their sponsors). 

The animation system is complicated, using four different systems combined to animate the character as the player controls the skateboard directly. We do use a range of fragments of animation which are blended and stitched together on the fly as part of this system, but they are not raw mocap or representative of the real life movements of the pro skaters.

The soundtrack of skating games is essential for setting the game’s vibe. How do you choose what songs you want to include?

Skater XL is really an attempt to bring the experience and vibe of real skateboarding to video game platforms, and so music was important to setting the game’s atmosphere. We carefully selected tracks that not only add to the skateboarding experience but also resonate with the culture and vibe of the skateboarding community.

Some tracks have particular cultural relevance, having featured in iconic skate videos, etc. We aimed for a laid back, West Coast vibe with the music, to compliment the game‚Äôs lean back, chill nature. Getting all those music licenses dialed in and negotiated for a workable price for an indie studio can actually be quite complicated, so we‚Äôre stoked that we were able to come out with the track list we did. 


Skater XL is out on Switch on December 5th, it’ll be available on the eShop and in stores. Thanks to Dain for taking the time to answer our questions.

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About The Author
Daniel Vuckovic
The Owner and Creator of this fair website. I also do news, reviews, programming, art and social media here. It is named after me after all. Please understand.

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