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TVG discusses the 3DS and Wii versions of Mario & Sonic London 2012 with a roundtable of SEGA Japan developers...
Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games is the third entry in the sporting mini-game series developed by SEGA in partnership with Nintendo. Previous titles have enjoyed considerable commercial success in the UK, with the first Wii entry achieving four weeks at the top of the all-format game sales chart. The latest iteration is due out for both Wii and 3DS, and a share of the profits will contribute towards the cost of the London 2012 Olympic Games. TVG spoke with Chief Producer Osamu Ohashi, Producer Nobuya Ohashi, Wii Director Eigo Kasahara, and 3DS Director Kohji, to find out what's new for 2012.
TVG: What's the biggest change between this and the previous game?
EK: For the Wii version, one of the main differences would be the Dream Events; we're completely renewing them this time around. In the previous game we had Dream Events but they were more close to the real events or sports; this time we took the liberty to take quite a liberal approach in creating these events. The events you will see in the final product will be quite different from the actual sports. Also, the key feature in this game is 4 player multiplayer, so we're trying to incorporate that in all the events - and the extra mode... actually we can't tell you too much about it, but we're preparing a kind of party mode for extra elements, which will hopefully be available for multiplayer as well. It's going to be a key difference as well.
KS: For the 3DS version, obviously we were creating the game for a new console, so that is going to be one of the biggest differences in this game. Not to mention the new, novel features like the gyro sensor and motion sensor that comes with the console... So in this game we're taking a quite different approach in game design; what we're trying to do is, when we look at each event, we would try to pick up one element, or two elements, that make that sport fun or unique, and we try and build up game mechanics based on that point. For example, in the Breaststroke event that we showed yesterday, the whole game is based on the breath; the idea is that you have to blow into the mic with the right timing when your head is above the water. So what we did in that event was try to come up with the point, or essence of the sport, and we kind of agreed that it's probably the timing of the breath. So we picked up that point as the core of the game that we're creating, and we tried to build up to get the whole game based on that single idea.
TVG: What classic games are the Dream Events based on - what stages will we see?
EK: So far we've shown two Dream Events: one of them was Dream Long Jump, which was based on Yoshi's Island from the Mario universe, and the other one was Dream Discus, which was based on Windy Valley from Sonic Adventure. We tend to have the game mechanics - or the game idea - first, and we try to find the location that is the best for that game. In the case of Yoshi's Island - I mean Dream Long Jump - we came up with this idea of having four characters racing with each other and hopping on the clouds, so we felt that that location would suit it best.
TVG: Obviously there's a Party Mode in the Wii version, but is there any sort of single-player campaign?
OO: We're not preparing a specific single-player mode, but you can of course play single play, in which case you'll be playing with computer AI.
TVG: In that case, are all the stages unlocked from the beginning, or do you unlock more as you progress?
OO: You can play single modes, but in terms of the levels, or the choice of events, you can play all the events from the start. However, there might be some other unlock elements outside of the choice of sports or events...
TVG: Will there be online play and leaderboards for both games?
NO: There's no WiFi online mode but we do have WiFi ranking, so you can compare your score with your friends or with people from all over the world for both games.
TVG: Will the Wii game be compatible with Project Cafe (Nintendo's new console)?
SEGA PR: We haven't got any information on that.
TVG: Is it possible for Mario to outrun Sonic?
OO: If you play well, yes [laughs].
TVG: During the presentation you mentioned that the 100m event had been improved. Can you talk about exactly how?
EK: We're improving a lot of elements like camera work, and we've added a new move that was not in the Beijing game; we call it Special Move. Special Move was actually incorporated in Vancouver, but it's the first time we have it in the 100m Sprint.
TVG: I know that Kasahara-san has experience of working on F-Zero GX; do you think there's any chance of a future collaboration between SEGA and Nintendo for another F-Zero game?
OO: It might happen, if someone comes up with a brilliant idea that would make both Nintendo and SEGA happy. If there's a good idea, that will work for both of us, then we might do that. But as far as we know, we haven't heard of any concrete plan or project that's going on.
TVG would like to thank Chief Producer Osamu Ohashi, Producer Nobuya Ohashi, Wii Director Eigo Kasahara, and 3DS Director Kohji-san for taking the time to speak with us about Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
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