Pegasus Dream Tour is a sports game people who don’t even like sports can enjoy.

For a long time now, I’ve been of the opinion that the Paralympics was a far more interesting event than the actual Olympics. Everything that makes the Olympics great, from the pushing of human limits, to the developments in sports technology, to the inclusiveness of everyone in the world seems heightened here.

▼ I’ll die on the hill that a lot of sports become way more exciting when played in wheelchairs

So I was really excited when I heard there would finally be a Paralympics video game, because it too had the potential to be something better. Olympics games have come a long way recently, but it’s hard for me to shake the image of simple button mashers I used to play as a kid for about five minutes.

However, as the head of JP Games mentioned in our previous interview, I’m probably a rare breed. The challenge in making the first-ever official Paralympics video game, Pegasus Dream Tour, is to make something that anyone could get into regardless of their awareness of the Paralympics, or even sports for that matter.

To see how this game pulls off such a feat, let’s take a look at how the game works. Upon starting, players are asked to make an avatar of themselves using their smartphone camera. These avatars, known as “Mines,” have a mind of their own but are assisted by the player’s actions. Everyone’s Mines inhabit Pegasus City, a futuristic town where sporting events are held on a regular basis.

“The user can experience a life as a para-athlete in Pegasus City, communicating with the other characters and Mine from all over the world,” said JP Games Assistant Producer Eri Monta. “There will also be a series of quests where you can play against the real existing para-athlete avatars and have conversations with them in the game.”

▼ In addition to training, developing friendships is also an aspect of gameplay

The starting line-up of real para-athletes in the game include Canadian wheelchair basketball player Patrick Anderson, New Zealand javelin thrower Holly Robinson, and Argentinian soccer player Silvio Velo, also known as the “Blind Maradona.”

▼ American para-athlete Scout Bassett pictured second from the right

The actual sports matches are mostly run automatically, with your Mine’s performance determined by how well you train and maintain their health. This is designed to allow anyone to get into playing, but for those who prefer more hands-on gaming, some events such as boccia can be played either manually or automatically.

That’s just the beginning of the famous faces who will appear in Pegasus City, the mayor of which happens to be Japan’s favorite robot cat Doraemon. He will play a supportive role throughout the game offering tools and instructions to all players.

Image: ©Fujiko-Pro

“Doraemon, who came from the future with a variety of magical gadgets, was appointed as the best choice for the acting mayor of Pegasus City,” said Art Director Harumi Ishizaki. “In addition to his most well-known gadget of Doraemon, ‘Dokodemo-Door,’ Doraemon offers his own secret tools that are made just for the Pegasus Dream Tour.”

▼ The camera used to create your Mine is one such tool

Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu will also make a special appearance in the game as an ambassador and Kumamoto mascot Kumamon can also be seen bouncing around as a photographer. In addition, a series of live concerts are also planned to be held in Pegasus City.

The names of acts are set to be announced on 12 July, but when we begged Tabata for hints as to who they might be he told us, “all I can say is that they come from a wide range of genres and are all big-name Japanese artists who also have fan bases in other countries. A lot of musicians approached us to take part, but we selected the ones who we felt best fit the spirit of the game.”

The users may enjoy not only the live performances, but also being builders of the venues. The performances have roles to develop the city by creating a new energy,” added Monta. In addition, these stars will continue to live on inside Pegasus City after their shows as Mines and may even become friends with your own.

▼ Pegasus City will grow and evolve along with the people in it

With all this talk about robot cats and rock shows, it might be easy to forget that this is a Paralympics game. That’s not a problem in the game, however, because everyone is a para-athlete. In addition to customizing your appearance, players can choose from a wide range of prosthetics and wheelchairs, collectively called “gear” in the game, to use during events and daily life.

“For the prosthetic arms, legs, and the wheelchairs, we actually went to see the actual products at Ottobock, an orthotic manufacturer, and asked athletic organizations for the tips and details,” said Ishizaki, “Gear is not only a tool to compensate for disabilities, but also something to be worn as an accessory in the same way as eyeglasses, so we prepared the gears with unique design features.”

She goes on to explain that gear doesn’t add strengths or weaknesses to your Mine but will affect its style and in some ways its progression in the game.

In addition to gear, how your Mine performs in events will be determined by something called “extra power” which is a nod to former IPC CEO Xavier Gonzales, who expanded the Paralympics considerably during his time there.

Monta explained to us, “I was impressed by Mr. Xavier ’s comment that all para-athletes have something called extra power. Extra power is a new, superior ability that was acquired because of a disability.”

“In competitions such as boccia and sprinting,” adds Ishizuka, “the visual effects embody the abilities that are performed when the character’s extra power is output to the maximum.”

Even more additions and surprises are planned within Pegasus City in the future. However, you can be sure that a lot of them will happen at the same time as the real Paralympic Games in Tokyo from 24 August to 5 September, so be sure to download Pegasus Dream Tour for free on iOS or Android now and get your Mine geared up and buff for the Games as soon as you can!

Related: Pegasus Dream Tour
Images: ©JP Games (unless otherwise noted)
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