It’s got the licence, it’s got the legacy and it’s got the longest name for a game in recent memory.
However, with Sega behind the helm, Vancouver 2010: The Official Video Game of the Olympic Winter Games is set to be a hit when it arrives in January.
Sports and video games have had a particularly lucrative relationship over the past year, with Ashes Cricket 2009 benefiting from its real world counterpart, and this year’s Wimbledon driving sales of both EA Sports Grand Slam Tennis and Virtua Tennis 2009.
More recently, Sega has worked to recreate the success of the original multi-million selling Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games. Both this year’s Olympic Winter Games and its 2007 predecessor have been performing well in the charts for the last two months, so the public is clearly eager for more chances to bag those elusive gold medals – albeit virtual ones.
It’s easy to forget that Sega also saw similar Olympic-themed success in 2008 without the need for iconic gaming characters and a casual tone.
Beijing 2008 proved that the more hardcore sports games fans were also craving for the challenge that only the Olympics can provide, giving even the Mario & Sonic edition a run for its money. Now the publisher is set to build upon this with Vancouver 2010.
“Our previous next generation Olympic-licensed title has performed really well – in fact, it is the most successful official Olympic video game to date,” says Sega’s UK marketing manager Jo Fawell.
“The developer Eurocom has again produced a great game, and this time the dangerous nature of the winter Olympic events themselves adds to the adrenaline of the experience.”
As can be expected, Vancouver 2010 recreates all of the events set to take place during the upcoming winter Olympics. From bobsleighing and luge to ski jumps and slalom, players will be able to recreate all 14 of the snowy athletic antics they see on their screens.
Thanks to the power of the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC, these are all rendered in a stunning realistic graphical style, making it feel much more serious than the more cutesy Nintendo/Sega editions.
Crucially, the realism is enhanced by the addition of a first-person view. No matter what the event, players have the option to view the competition through the eyes of their chosen athlete, making sports such as the ski jump much more exciting and immersive.
LET THE GAMES BEGIN
Single players can work through each of the disciplines and try to perfect their art in order to be awarded the highly sought after gold medals.
If they require a fresh challenge or wish to practise their skills, there are also a range of more light-hearted scenarios, such as Smashing The Snowmen and Speed Bands.
Should their efforts in each premium event result in a new world record, they can go online and upload this time to the leaderboards, comparing their performance with that of other players around the world.
There is even an online head-to-head competition mode, allowing them to try and best a global rival directly.
Alternatively, up to four players can enjoy each of the game’s events in the traditional splitscreen multiplayer mode.
Sega is confident Vancouver 2010 can live up to the success of its predecessors, both the bestselling Wii and DS titles and its Beijing counterparts.
The publisher prides itself on having the most comprehensive Olympic gaming experience available, and believes it has all of the necessary qualities for a chart-topper, which will be supported by an extensive campaign (see Olympic Bid).
“The game looks amazing,” adds Fawell. “The first-person view puts you directly into the action and really immerses you into the gameplay.
“Vancouver 2010 will also be fully online or four-player splitscreen so you can compete in fourteen of the adrenaline-filled events. There is also a new range of challenge modes included within the game.”