Skate 2 rolls out Jan. 21

Sequel to EA Black Box's acclaimed open-world street-skateboarding hit will arrive on US PS3s, 360s early next year; rest of planet gets it January 23.

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The first quarter of 2009 is the new fourth quarter of 2008. With the current holiday period bursting at the seams with AAA-game releases, many top-tier games have shifted their launches until after hangovers from New Year's Eve revels will have long worn off. These include Resident Evil 5, Street Fighter IV, Dragon Age: Origins (for the PC), and the downloadable expansion Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned.

It's skating weather in San Vanelona year-round.
It's skating weather in San Vanelona year-round.

The latest game to join the early-2009 set is Skate 2. This morning, Electronic Arts announced that the sequel to its open-world street-skateboarding hit will grind onto North American Xbox 360s and PlayStation 3s on January 21. The T-for-Teen-rated game will launch in other territories, including the UK and the rest of Europe, on January 23.

Developed by EA's Black Box studio at EA Canada, Skate 2 is actually the third installment in the publisher's Tony Hawk-foiling franchise. Coming two months after the launch of the Nintendo DS and Wii Balance Board-enhanced spin-off Skate It, the game returns to the fictional city of San Vanelona. Recently rebuilt after an unnamed disaster, the San Francisco/Vancouver/Barcelona hybrid offers an open world in which players can perform a variety of tricks. The game's thumbstick "FlickIt" trick system has been enhanced with an array of button-based moves, including the ability to grab obstacles and step off of the skateboard itself.

For more on Skate 2, check out GameSpot's previous coverage.

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