So we got a new Sonic game announcement in yesterday’s Nintendo Direct squarely aired for the Japanese audience (and today a “Micro” Direct aired for NA also showing the game), which is weird since this is very unusual where Sonic games are typically announced mainly in the west and certainly not having a world-first announcement in Japan…. except Sonic Runners just before… are we seeing a new trend?
Anywho, that game is of course, Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games for Wii U and 3DS, and in the wake of the announcement, I’ve been thinking about numerous things, mainly entertaining the idea that what if Sega and Nintendo greenlit the series just a little earlier?
That game would have been Mario & Sonic at the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games…. if they went with that naming scheme from the start, it would’ve likely been called Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, and followed by Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Summer Games in 2008… right? Or maybe Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games and followed by Mario & Sonic at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games? Yeah, my head hurts too. 😛
Well for the sake of current naming tradition we’re going with the one in the article title, because reasons! But before we do, let’s explore another small fact.
Have you noticed that after Olympic Winter Games, NO game in the series since has released on the same group of systems? It is true!
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games – Wii & DS
Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games – Wii & DS
Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games – Wii & 3DS
Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games – Wii U
Mario & Sonic at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games – Wii U & 3DS
And Torino would’ve also been different, and as for the handheld, I definitely could’ve seen it being on the DS, but I can’t help but wonder if a GBA version could’ve happened also. Nintendo were still releasing GBA games for a while like Rhythm Heaven and Mother 3, so who knows. 😛
But anyway, the whole Mario and Sonic crossover idea was actually spoken about by Yuji Naka way back in 2005 in fact, as seen here.
NOM: Could [Mario and Sonic] ever be in a game together?
YN: There is a possibility because when I speak to Shigeru Miyamoto, we often toy with the idea. We always say it would be cool, but because of development timing it’s never actually happened. But yeah, it’s very possible. When the time comes…
NOM: Have you had any early ideas on how it might be done? Maybe in a racing game, or Sonic being in the next Smash Bros.?
YN: Imagine Sonic in Mario Kart. Obviously Sonic wouldn’t need a kart because he’s so fast he could just run [laughs]. In that sense, you can imagine how hard it would be to fit them in a game together… We’d have to REALLY think about how we’d put them together otherwise these two characters would completely destroy the game. So when Miyamoto-san and I speak about it, we usually decide that seperate games are better. And that’s mainly why we’ve never gone ahead and made the game… [If it happened] they should really both have starring roles, like a Mario vs Sonic or something… [Having them as allies] would be alright, but I’ve always imagined a game of rivalry… like Alien vs Predator [laughs].
This was actually around the time the game would’ve been unveiled (March 2005), and as per tradition, the game would’ve released at around November 2005, right alongside Shadow the Hedgehog and Sonic Rush, and with Sonic Riders just months later, that period would’ve been even more packed! Also as I said in my Sonic’s history with Nintendo article, Yuji Naka was the one who made the crossover happen.
As said, the game would’ve obviously needed to exclusively use the standard GameCube controller (unless they were crazy enough to use the bongo controller also haha!), so again, this would have been a really unique entry, as every game in the series has focused on Wiimote or touch-based gameplay or with the Wii U, various combinations of them. 😛 Here you just would’ve had the ye olde basic controller and buttons to use, unthinkable!
How would the game have looked though? Aside from the DS entries, this would’ve been made with the lowest-powered hardware (and the lowest on the console front). The series seems firm on sticking with a 30 frames per second framerate which is very unlike how Mario Sport games are, where every Mario Sport game since Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour on GC has ran in 60fps on consoles (Mario Tennis Open and Mario Golf: World Tour on 3DS are 30fps though, not a clue why!).
What we could look at is the developer’s output from that period, them being Sega Sports R&D. Their second game under that name (they were split from Smilebit prior) called Virtua Pro Football (soccer) on PS2, which came out in 2006 only in Japan and EU as a “traditional soccer simulation” game, and actually is their last game prior to releasing the first Mario & Sonic:
And footage here. This should give you a peek at what the team can do on similar hardware. Obviously Mario & Sonic is much more cartoony in art-style, but it’s an example on a technical level.
As for Dream Events, I’d only imagine them taking inspiration from up to Sonic Heroes, as I’m not quite sure Shadow the Hedgehog would be appropriate, and also I don’t think they’d add content from a game that came out alongside, I don’t remember any examples of that (I don’t remember Sonic Lost World being featured in Sochi 2014 aside from the Windy Hill remix, correct me if I’m wrong).
Now, there’s a major snag in the whole concept of Mario & Sonic at the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games ever having the hope of happening in the first place; Sega didn’t get their first license to make the games until December 6, 2005! The license in question was specifically for the Beijing Olympics. That’s right, Sega got the license that far in advance.
But did you know? A Torino 2006 game DID happen, it was just by another publisher, that being 2K/Take-Two:
This was developed by a company called 49Games (would’ve so funny if it was by Visual Concepts, who 2K own, makes sports games, and was owned by Sega until Take-Two bought them in January 2005), the game came out in January 2006 on PS2, Xbox, and PC. It wasn’t good. 49Games actually would make numerous Winter and Summer Sports games on Wii, PS2, and 360 later on as the years passed.
So with that, there’s not much else to speculate on about the hypothetical Mario & Sonic at the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games, but it’s certainly a neat thing to think about, as said because of how unique the game would’ve been had it happened.
What do you all think? Are you a fan of the series? Would you loved to have seen this? What do you think the game would’ve been like? Let me know, and thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed the article. 🙂