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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Look Forward to These Tokyo 2020 Olympics Videogames (Paralympics, too!)

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - Analysis from your KoopaTV Olympics experts.

When it came to answering where Mario & Sonic were at for the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games, KoopaTV was the top result on search engines for a long time and got thousands and thousands of hits. I believe that makes us the authoritative source on the Olympic Games videogames, coupled with our very comprehensive before-and-after coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The future of those games seemed in great doubt when the Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games franchise was removed from the Nintendo eShop before the PyeongChang games

While they're still missing from the eShop, we now know what's happening for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games:
  1. Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 by SEGA and Nintendo
  2. Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - The Official Video Game by SEGA
  3. The Pegasus Dream Tour by JP Games, Inc

One of those is clearly unlike the others, so let's go through one-by-one and I'll let you know what I think.

Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020

First of all, given series history, this is probably called Mario & Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. There's also an arcade version coming along with the Nintendo Switch version. We don't know anything substantive about this. All we have is this launch trailer on Twitter that Nintendo (and SEGA) tweeted out that briefly promotes the game by the end, but mostly focuses on the next game in this article. It's not on their YouTube channels or official websites or anything. For everyone who asked why the Phoenix Wright in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate trailer wasn't on Nintendo's YouTube channel (not that it matters now that Phoenix Wright is kicked out), you'll have to ask the same question here. It happens.

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - The Official Video Game

However, this game is on SEGA's YouTube channel with a video all to itself, released just yesterday:

It's coming out July 2019, a year before the Tokyo 2020 games actually occur. There's actually a whole site for it, but both the video and the site are in Japanese so I have no idea what it says, and the website designer did a sin and has the text all on images so it's not translatable. There's clearly character customisation.

The site and the video say it'll come out on the PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo Switch, but SEGA's tweet adds the PC (Steam) and Xbox One. 

There will be fifteen events in the videogame version, which is under half of what's in the real life edition. I'm not sure if fans of these games actually care if their favourite sport is in or not.

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - The Official Video Game table tennis gameplay
Table tennis is the sport that I practiced back in Rio 2016, and it's in Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - The Official Video Game.

These seem to be fairly realistic representations of the sports, but there are some colourful special effects in the trailer, so maybe there's some creativity involved too. Or maybe that's just for cinematic finishing moments and not representative of a special game mechanic. 

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 - The Official Video Game beach volleyball Japanese bikini women
And here's the fan favourite sporting event of perverts, beach volleyball!
(Roy Koopa did a great job with this one.)

The Pegasus Dream Tour

This is the most unique of the three games, especially because The Pegasus Dream Tour is an RPG about the Paralympics (legitimate sporting event with talented and well-trained but somehow disabled athletes) from Hajime Tabata, formerly of Square Enix where he was the director of Final Fantasy XV.

Yes, it's not a sports/action game. It's a role-playing game. Well, a “sports role-playing game.”

This is the first-ever official Paralympics game, and as far as I know, there aren't unofficial ones. (Not that I've bothered to look.) This will raise the prestige and reputation of the Paralympics... provided it's well-made.

Here's their description of what this is:
“[P]layers participate in a virtual Paralympic Games that takes place inside a fantasy metropolis known as Pegasus City. Here, players awaken their special abilities or ‘Xtra Power,’ in an alternate Paralympics world dynamically rendered in ways that only video games can achieve. The makers are planning for the ‘Pegasus Dream Tour’ to be accessible on various platforms, including smartphones.”

The Nintendo Switch might be one of those various platforms. The guy hasn't done anything anyone has heard of on Nintendo platforms in his career except produce Final Fantasy XV: Pocket Edition HD on his way out, but doesn't stop indies from putting their first-ever game on the console.

This is significantly more imaginative than “the Olympics has these sports, so let's put some of those sports in a minigame compilation.” I have no idea if this is going to be interpreted as aspirational for disabled people or some jerk protest group is going to complain that they're making the game about disabled people only interesting by giving them special abilities instead of focusing on their disability.

As far as I'm concerned, cool fantasy factors are a great way to make a group likable. And if the International Paralympic Committee is happy, then no one should be... unhappy.

Well, let's hope the game is good and on enough various platforms. Then players would have no reason to be unhappy, either!

If there were any screenshots or video of The Pegasus Dream Tour, I'd share them, but there isn't anything but the announcement. Oh, well, there's concept art.

The Pegasus Dream Tour official art International Paralympic Committee JP Games
See, isn't this significantly cooler and more appealing than the “realistic” beach volleyball screenshot?

Ludwig is all for empowering games for change that transcend reality and operate on the basis of fantastic coolness, like The Pegasus Dream Tour. Realistic Olympic games are a snooze. He has no idea where Mario & Sonic at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games or whatever it ends up being called falls on that continuum. Probably in the middle, but with Mario involved, it's probably a disaster for Tokyo. It was a disaster for Tokyo back in 2016, and that was in Brazil!

We know the official name and release time of Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, and... that it's not gonna be very good.
In mid-2020, The Pegasus Dream Tour has no news... but it's not cancelled!
Sort of related: Alongside the Tokyo 2020 (or Tokyo 2021) Olympic videogames is an Olympic Virtual Series.
THE PEGASUS DREAM TOUR didn't meet expectations.


  1. It's interesting that Tabata is doing something significantly different from his work with SE. Most of the time it seems like whenever a developer leaves a big company to make their own games, they try to clone what they're most well-known for.

    1. (lol Inafune)

      You make a great point, so I'm happy that someone who wants creative control actually gets to advance their creativity instead of rehashing the past.


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