Some games are inspired by the deep personal experience of the developers. Others are caused by real-world events or love for other media.

For Megan Fox, the developer of skateboarding, it all started with a bird gif on a skateboard.

Fox is a veteran developer, working for AAA at LEGO Universe before becoming an indie, releasing games such as Jones on Fire, Hot Tin Roof, and Spartan Fist. She says she had to start working on Skatebird in 2018 after the Spartan Fist “bombed” and let go of the entire development team. Whatever she did next, Fox at the time was convinced that she needed to do it almost alone.

But that conviction didn’t last long. First, fellow game developers using KevKev realized that putting humans on a skateboard was “inconsistent and weird,” and then provided a physics-based skateboard prototype codebase to those who needed it. Did. Fox began tinkering with it, leading the inspiration from the gifs she saw, and soon realized that it was much easier to put a bird on a skateboard than a human.

“I know what a human on a skateboard looks like,” says Fox. “Pros should look cool. They have a special look and stance. When you put a bird on a skateboard, no one knows how it should stand on the skateboard. It looks awkward, well. , They are skateboarding birds. “

Feather skate bird

Fox wasn’t the only one who thought skateboarding birds would be fun. At E3 2019, Fox found a Skatebird slot in the Kinda Funny Games Showcase and launched Kickstarter at the same time. There was tremendous support for Fox to expand the range of the game from fun little skate gag to purpose, story, and much more birds than originally planned. She planned to enjoy this next project alone, but Fox began working with others again to support the development of Skatebird. What started out as a “hell” gag has become a complete and serious project.

“I think people think it’s a lot bigger than that,” says Fox. “It takes about 5 to 8 hours to beat. It’s not that big, but I think it’s the size of most skate games. Probably so.”

The idea for Skatebird started out as a bit of a idiot, but as its scope expanded, Fox soon had to become an expert in two things she didn’t know much about: birds and skateboarding. .. The former happened organically after she moved to the Seattle area and began feeding birds as a hobby, gradually learning how to name and identify different species.

Well, if they flap a lot and look awkward, they’re skateboarding birds.


She also hired a skateboarding expert to teach her various tricks and techniques. She wanted the skatebird to truly reflect the sport, rather than include a lot of crafted tricks. Fox, who had previously skateboarded “in combat boots in a trench coat,” chose not to return to the board during development to avoid injury, but now that the game has begun, again. I’m going to start a hobby.

In parallel with the investigation, Fox wanted her skateboarding game to be accessible in the way the famous skateboarding titles knew, but in the end it wasn’t enough. To do this, she looked at the very clear button assignments in the Tony Hawk game (meaning you could easily relocate or map to another controller if needed) and be more accurate with the EA skate franchise. I tried to combine it with the elimination of the side of the arcade.

“You can fold almost any button into one button. You can allow one button to perform grind and flip tricks,” she says. “And it’s not ideal because you can’t perform all the tricks of the game this way, but you can play the game perfectly this way.”

The finished skatebird is cute and capricious and, as Fox wanted, is full of “doing the best” birds. It is linked by the story of a bird whose “big friend” (of course human) gave up skateboarding and motivates the bird to pick it up again when skating on a small bird-sized course. .. Bird heroes have a purpose to discover and a lot of customization. It’s mainly a skate game, but you can’t deny the meme ability of Skatebird. This applies to the gifs that influenced the skatebird.

From indie title announcements like Bomb Rush Cyber ​​funk and goofy riffs like Street Uni X (I think Tony Hawk is a unicycle) to AAA efforts like EA’s revival of the skate franchise. It’s time for skate games to reach a little renaissance. And of course, the resurrection of Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1 + 2.

Whether the genre lasts long or skates towards sunset, Fox says it turns out to be a great opportunity to release a skateboarding video game.

“There are a lot of indie music that is starting to play in this genre,” says Fox. “And usually it’s a sign that the genre has blossomed and is actually starting, and when EA Skate comes out, it’s a sign that AAA is back in space, because indie music has this genre. And because it shows once again that it’s working. It makes money and AAA says “I like money.” And I don’t know what will happen after they come. They may or may not kill the genre again. But at least for now it’s pretty cool. “

Rebekah Valentine is a news reporter for IGN. You can find her on twitter @duckvalentine..