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Paint the town with Shaun White Skateboarding


Shaun White Skateboard transports players to the city of New Harmony, a world controlled by a powerful authoritative organization known as The Ministry. In its misguided efforts to create a Utopian society, The Ministry works to cleanse its culture of passion, excitement, and creativity, spreading its propaganda throughout the game world.

"For the good of the people," jokes Alexis Jolis Desautels, the title's Senior Game Designer. "Of course."

The product of this cleansing is a dull, sterile world, void of vitality and enjoyment, people shambling like soulless zombies through the streets. Players join with a resistance to bring color and vitality back to the world by… skating the crap out of it. Of course.

Shaun White Skateboarding (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Developer: Ubisoft Montreal
Publisher: Ubisoft
Release date: Fall 2010

In this way, Shaun White Skateboarding borrows a bit from some unlikely sources in gaming, most notably de Blob, and even Clover's Okami. As the player grinds, grabs, and kickflips through the world, he spreads what Ubisoft Montreal calls "Transformation," creating a "wave of influence" in his path. Color splashes the world, businesses spring to life, and the citizens of the world begin regain their individuality.

Ubisoft is also introducing a new gameplay concept called "Shaping" in which skaters will be able to create their own skate opportunities at given points spread throughout the world.

Signaled by green objects in the world, players can actually create and bend things like rails in real time as they grind, simply by using the right analog stick. It's possible to bend in any direction, even connecting the line to rooftops and other previously unobtainable skating opportunities. The ground can be bended as well, creating vert possibilities or "digging" into the world to find new, hidden areas.

When compared to its start, the small demo area we were shown was a completely different skating experience at the end because of these techniques. It seems plausible that the game's open world city -- broken up into five districts -- will never really be the same for any two players. In theory, a single player could also have a fresh experience each time he or she skates.

Despite all of this illogical gaming magic, Shaun White Skateboarding's core skating mechanics are grounded in reality. Working closely with White, Ubisoft says the game will feature over 80 tricks, including the extreme sports superstar's own creation, "The Armadillo." Everything is said to be based on real world physics, with full sets of both street and vert moves.

Controls also appear to be balanced for casual as well as more hardcore players. For those just looking to land cool-looking tricks, a single button (X in the PlayStation 3 demo I saw) can simply be tapped to perform various moves. (Different, more extravagant moves "unlock" as the player continues to trick, building up "flow.") Alternately, Shaun White Skateboarding also adopts a control scheme similar to EA's Skate, where "flick" motions on the right analog stick result in a variety of moves, depending on direction.

Ubisoft seems to have found an interesting and surprising take on a genre, a game that looks like it falls in an interesting sweet spot between simulation and full-bore "game." It's certainly a refreshing angle, and could be an attractive reprieve from games that either require far too much skill or more floor space than your coffee table allows.

Shaun White Skateboarding is scheduled for a fall release on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

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Nick Chester
Nick ChesterFormer Editor-in-Chief (2011)   gamer profile

Editor-in-Chief @ nick at  more + disclosures



Filed under... #E3 #PS3 #Ubisoft #Xbox 360



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