The AM3 team wanted to make Top Skater a game which would allow players to explore unrealistically large skateboarding courses and perform the fantasy tricks associated with skateboarding’s image, rather than a realistic simulation. Because of this, recreating some of the tricks for motion capture would require an unusually large studio with equipment to propel the motion capture actor through the air, so all the animation was done by hand. The primary target audience for the game was young Americans.
None of the development team members skateboarded; instead, they watched professional skateboarders both live and on video for research.An AM3 member explained the game’s trick-based approach: “It wouldn’t make any sense to make a skateboard racing game. You don’t need to skateboard as fast as you can. I just wanted to make the game cool and fashionable. If the game were a racing game you wouldn’t want to do any tricks as you’d be absorbed in trying to race as fast as possible.”
The team collaborated with Sega AM4 in designing the skateboard interface and cabinet. They installed an MPEG board for the sound, since using MPEG boards had recently become more financially feasible.
The game debuted at Sega’s GameWorks venue in Seattle.The main sponsor of the game was Coca-Cola.
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