For the first time in ages, fans of action sports games get to feast. A spiritual successor to Steep comes out in September. Next-gen versions of history’s most beloved skateboarding games recently landed. A new Skate is in the works. I’m particularly intrigued by Shredders, shown off yesterday during Xbox’s E3 press conference.
Amid all of the spectacle (Halo Infinite! Starfield! Redfall!), Shredders sailed under the radar. Publisher FoamPunch bills it as a snowboarding sim “for riders, by riders.” You’ve probably seen similar messages from similar games (most notably with the open-world skiing and snowboarding game Snow) but Shredders seems to really nail the part. Here’s a trailer:
The vibe is no doubt part of it. You don’t have to be a snowboarder to know that every crew of snowboarders includes That One Kid With The Camera Who Says They’re Really Good At Filming So They Don’t Have To Reveal How Secretly Bad They Are At Stomping Tricks. That kid is front and centre in this trailer. Hey, dude.
But the tricks are very clearly designed by a team that’s actually put in time on the slopes. At one point, someone stomps a double backflip, which is easily the biggest trick shown off in the trailer. The rest focuses on mellower fare: measured spins, careful grinds, and such. There’s even a shot dedicated to buttering! From this early look, it appears the team put more time in capturing the slow arc of a cork 7 than in allowing for players to spin like a dreidel.
Over the past decade-and-a-half, snowboarders have taken up arms against gravity, and appear to be winning the war. Recall how, in 2010, everyone collectively lost their shit over Shaun White’s patented “McTwist” trick (essentially just a double cork 1260 by a different name). The sheer progress pro snowboarders have achieved in the interim years is mind-boggling. Just look at this past January’s Winter X Games, where Norweigen snowboarder Marcus Klevland stomped a quad cork 1800 — a trick he’s been refining for four years — to take home top honours in the Big Air event.
It is human nature to drop your jaw at spectacle. But snowboarding, as with all things, makes room for muted sensibilities. Riders like Klevland can send it to the moon and back; there will always be those who prefer to see creative riders like Keisuke Shimakata push the envelope in the opposite direction. It’s a delight to see that ethos get transposed to video games.
“In snowboarding, there are so many incredible ways to do a simple 180,” Shredders project lead Dirk Van Welden said in a press release. “Shredders gives you that level of control.”
A focus on realism should come as little surprise: In addition to old-school snowboarding videos, FoamPunch explicitly lists Amped as a point of reference. Amped, a series of Xbox exclusives from the early 2000s, aimed to replicate the easy-to-learn-but-hard-to-master dance of IRL snowboarding, to the point where it was tough to land a double cork — a noted deviation from the mile-long boardslides and flatground triple flips that defined the SSX games.
The series faded into oblivion after 2005’s tepidly-received Amped 3 for the Xbox 360. Not for nothing, Amped 3 broke from Amped series tradition by jumping the shark both in terms of the tricks you could do and the tone it struck. (The game ends with a comet crashing into Earth, shattering the planet to pieces. One YouTube upload of the final cutscene describes “the absolutely worst ending ever.”)
Shredders is out this December for Xbox Series X/S, where it’ll launch as part of the Game Pass library. I’m amped.