London 2012 - The Official Video Game of the Olympics Preview
Post by Naren @ 10:40am 01/05/12 | Comments
AusGamers had a chance to send budding correspondent, Naren Hooson, out to SEGA Studios Australia who're based in Brisbane to check out their work on London 2012 - The Official Video Game of the Olympics. Read on for his impressions...
SEGA are set to release the first fully in-house developed Olympic Games videogame, developed right here in their Australian studio nonetheless. Despite having one of the lengthier titles of a videogame, this will no doubt warm up those wanting to get into the Olympic Games spirit in preparation for July.
Offering over 45 disciplines in the game, across the 14 events within four game modes, there’s plenty of record breaking, personal best and gold medal winning opportunities. Leaderboards also give you the chance to tally up the medals for your country adding to the overall worldwide Olympic feel.
The various game modes offer you a chance to compete a few different ways: Olympic Games mode, where you can play through the full Games experience, is an all events mode where you pick your country of choice, and unlock kits and equipment along the way. Event and Online modes let you drop into any choice of discipline or set up a custom playlist of events, solo or with friends (or strangers) to test your skills.
With the addition of Party Play you’ll be able to go all out on the likes of Archery Blitz, where speed is the key and Javelin Target, giving you more points the closer to the target centre you can get. With 14 events available in Party Play for up to four players, you can either compete against friends or combine forces as a team.
Darius Sadeghian, Senior Producer of the game, told us how this mode came about when we caught up with him recently at their Brisbane-based studio.
“Party Play was a really good opportunity for us to (kind of) open what tends to be simulated Olympic games to a more casual market and have more people like families play it and really try and experience it,” he explained. “And we wanted to keep the (kind of) simulated area within the Olympics campaign but use Party Play as “what makes these events really good and how can we make them even better and make them even more fun to play?”. So motion control was added in as a step up and then we added different gameplay variables into things like, say, archery, where we now call it Archery Blitz and we open up time attack and new scoring mechanics and things like that, just to elevate them just that little bit more and allow people to feel a bit more like they are just playing an in-and-out experience. It very much has a hot seat kind of gameplay feel to it.”
Bringing an updated style of play from the previous release, a much stronger emphasis is put on timing and rhythm as well as balancing how you coordinate buttons and analog sticks.
“(With us) we tried to really explore new mechanics with that stuff,” Darius adds. “Keep them traditionally -- some of them the same -- but, as you said, be a little bit more sensitive; have a little bit more skill to what you are trying to do rather than just have a button basher.
“So things like archery, we really wanted to explore more with the analog sticks, the A buttons and things like that, and we really got a nice mechanic going on. Table tennis as well, I think will surprise people because your initial thoughts will be, “It’s completely different to how you would expect a table tennis game to be played”. We use two analog sticks in this, there’s no one analog stick with an X button. It’s all done from analog, at first people pick it up and they’re kind of like, “this feels different”, but within seconds they’ve already got a handle of that, of the controls and they’ve got a lot more feeling and a little bit more control over that.”
This was all evident with events like swimming, which called for timed and synchronised strokes and hurdles, requiring timed button tapping for running and an analog stick jump setup and javelin, coordinating the running controls with an analog wind up and release at the right angle.
Although events like trampoline, diving and vault seem restricted where you end up timing a button hit with a point of movement that did not really set a challenge or progress much in difficulty.
And while the graphics and animation have some fluidity to them, it’s still strides away from a lot of sports games available at the moment. That said, it’s still great to see an Australian team handling such a big game that coordinates so much variety and that will no doubt be a huge success in the build up to the real-world games.
Overall this will cater to those really wanting the Olympic experience, and is definitely a big step up in play mechanics from the previous release.