This is it! This is what video games have been working up to since the very first. Skatebird is exactly what it sounds like: a skating game with birds instead of people! What’s more, the game was all made by a single developer: Megan Fox. Recently, Fox sat down with IGN to talk about the inspirations, design process and development timeline behind Skatebird and offered some insight into what players can expect when they get their hands on it.
Fox is a veteran game developer whose worked in both the AAA and indie spheres. She’s the founder of Glass Bottom Games and has been working with the studio for the past decade, but development for Skatebird only started in 2018. After coming across the free codebase for a skating physics system built by fellow developer KevKev, Fox got to work building her own game, but there was one issue. See, putting people on skateboards isn’t nearly as simple as it sounds. Even KevKev’s original codebase was posted because he described the process as “inconsistent and weird.” You know what’s far more straightforward to code? Tiny round birds flapping wildly through the air. She was inspired by a GIF of (plot twist) a bird riding a skateboard and it was off to the races. In Fox’s own words: “if you put a bird on a skateboard, well, no one really knows how it’s supposed to stand on the skateboard. And if they flap a lot and look awkward, well, they’re a bird on a skateboard.”
The premise wasn’t just hilarious: When Fox brought her game to E3 2019, people absolutely loved it. The game’s Kickstarter was released simultaneously, and suddenly her extended visual gag was turning into a fully-fledged project. Fox began to build the scale of the game, adding a story, bonus objectives, and tons of birds to shred with, until Skatebird had around seven hours of content.
It takes about five to eight hours to beat. It’s not huge. But then I guess that’s the size of most skate games. So maybe it is.
To really make sure she was doing the concept justice, Fox says she hired a skateboarding expert to teach her about different tricks and even started birdwatching. She hasn’t been skating during development, but now that her game has been released, she’s planning on trying it again.
Skatebird is out now for $19.99 on Xbox, Switch and PC.