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An early build of EA's next Skate game has leaked online

EA is asking players to not download a pre-alpha build of the next Skate game.

Electronic Arts has confirmed that a pre-alpha build of the next Skate game has leaked online, and is asking players to not download the file in an attempt to play the game early.

This news come via an update blog from the Skate development team, which also thanks players for the positive reaction to the first official gameplay footage from June 2022. In that video (titled "Still Working On It"), EA allowed the Skate team to show off very early footage of the game, which included greyboxed levels, unexpected crashes, horrifying animation bugs, and more. 

According to EA, the build floating around the internet at the moment is from September 2021, and was "never intended for external use." The company is encouraging interested players to sign up for the internal playtesting service, and warning players against downloading files from unknown sources (which would also violate EA's terms of service).

EA is trying to wrangle excitement for Skate

Releasing "Still Working On It" was an unexpected marketing move for a large publisher like EA, which regularly works to make sure its games are presented in the most polished form possible. The trailer's playful spirit and chaotic energy managed to both tease how the game will play and humanize the process of game development. 

Leaked game builds from too-enthusiastic players are nothing new for the game industry (anyone remember when the leak of Half-Life 2's source code caused havoc for Valve?). But the leak of a Skate build shows how large publishers are trying to wrangle enthusiasm for new titles with the realities of game development timelines.

We've also noted recently that developers and publishers are shifting their approaches in how they respond to fan pressure, which can sometimes take the form of harassment. 

Today's blog from EA has chosen a more tactful, soft-handed approach to how it responds to builds leaks. Other companies in the past (like Activision Blizzard and Nintendo) have publicly promised a more forceful response to hackers, using the (justified) threat of punishment to try and deter further efforts.

EA's approach here doesn't condone the leak, but it does at least empathize with why players would want to seek out such a build. 

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