Sonic and Mario in a game together is a big deal. After more than 20 years of rivalry, the two mascots have joined forces in the Sega-developed Mario and Sonic in the Olympic Games.
CVG caught up with the president and chief operating officer of Sega Europe, Mike Hayes, and marketing director of Nintendo Europe to talk about the momentous event.
You have two huge characters that are both very different in nature - how will the game represent both characters in the same light?
Mike Hayes: Coming under the Olympic banner, I think the Olympics acts as a neutral ground for the two characters. 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.
How will you balance the extremely differing skills of the characters in the game?
Hayes: It's too early to talk specifically about how this will work. Suffice to say that you will be able to play as all the characters and compete in any event.
So why were the Olympics chosen as the meeting ground for Mario and Sonic?
Hayes: "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, and then we thought that is would be perfect if Nintendo could bring Mario into it so we talked to Nintendo and they agreed it was a great idea. So it was actually from the Olympics that this was born.
This shows how video gaming globally is now so important - that Mario and Sonic are actually going to help bring in young people into the Olympics. That's quite a step forward for us in this business. And it's perfect because it's about competition but it's also about co-operation and friendliness.
Laurent Fischer: It's about gathering everyone, from young to old, together. And in that spirit, we thought this the best time for Sonic and Mario to be in a game together.
We already know that Shigeru Miyamoto will be involved in the development of the game - how much is Nintendo, as a whole, involved in the making of the game?
Laurent Fischer: Mr Miyamoto is always there when Mario is involved. I think it is a co-operative arrangement - they are there to share experiences and ideas.
But it is being primarily dealt with by Sega?
Hayes: Yes, but with very clear involvement of Nintendo. And I have to say that our team in Tokyo is thrilled to be working with the big man in videogames.
So are we going to see some sort of a trade-off deal? Sega's working on game with Mario, so will Nintendo be using Sonic in one of its games?
Laurent Fischer: It's too early to say right now. We are concentrating on completing this one.
Hayes: I think we have a very good relationship with Nintendo anyway, and it's great to come together. This is the one project planned at the moment but if we do work well together, who knows what will happen in the future?