President and chief operating officer of Sega Europe, Mike Hayes, today told CVG that it was the Olympics that inspired the recently-announced Mario and Sonic in the Olympic Games, and that the event "acts as a neutral ground for the two characters".
Discussing the partnership of gaming's two greatest icons, Hayes said: "Coming under the Olympic banner, I think the Olympics acts as a neutral ground for the two characters."
But both characters are very different, so how will Sega balance their abilities? Hayes explains: "We know that Sonic is fast and Mario is strong. Both characters have different strengths. But having the Olympics is the perfect territory to bring them together because they can use their different skills in the events that we're going to have, which include track and field events, table tennis, swimming and more.
"So rather than being in a Sonic or Mario world this is the perfect meeting place where both characters can bring out their own strengths in the different sports."
Discussing the origins of the idea, Hayes explains, "Obviously we were lucky enough to secure the Beijing 2008 Olympic licence about a year ago and so we were thinking about what we could do with that. Speaking to the IOC (International Olympics Committee), they really pushed home the spirit of sport for everyone, and their wanting to get younger people into the Olympics.
"So rather than just doing a simulation we thought that we had some great characters that young people love and are very iconic. The idea started there."
Let's just hope the young Olympic hopefuls don't take on Mario's mushroom-eating habits.
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