Missed gaming opportunity?
Name the worldwide sport, that features in Olympics, that last year was watched on TV or demand by 425,200,000 people, had around 615,000 people attend the live events, is a hugely popular pastime to people young and old around the world. It has stars in this sport that are household names in many countries, yet STILL has not had a dedicated video game about it current gen, and didn’t have one last gen either ( PS3/Xbox ) ? In fact you have to go back to the PS2, 2007 for the last time this sport had a dedicated game designed for it?
In this same period of time, we have had game developers make dedicated sports games for minority sports such as Handball, La Cross, Motocross ( name me a Motocross rider ? ), Cricket, Rugby League, and even Surfing, that are no where near as popular or watched by the public anywhere near as much as the sport I am talking about.
Clue ? If you are from Austria / Switzerland it’s your national sport. Even Roger Federer didn’t win sportsman of the year in Switzerland when “ the butcher “ Didier Couche was around. If you’re from Norway, Alex Lund Svindal is your hero. USA it’s a woman called Lindsey Vonn. Blimey, even the UK has a great prospect called Dave “the rocket” Ryding.
It’s glamourous, spectacular locations, 60,000 roaring fans including Arnold Schwarzenegger, and F1 stars are on site for the Kitzbuhel event alone ?
Even though i’m not a programmer, the game would be pretty easy to make with today’s technology. It’s simple physics, not much to it, not really complicated, very few rules apart from who’s the fastest and bravest ?
What sport is it ?
FIS – Alpine ski racing.
Seriously, why hasn’t there been a dedicated Skiing season game made since 2007’s Alpine Ski Racing Bode Miller V Hermann Maier ?
Games like Steep, Snow, SSX, Mark McMorris Big Air, Amped and Stoked do not count, as fun as they are to mess about on the mountains, they are really just snowboard, trick based games.
(Stoked gameplay Trailer)
(Mark McMorris Big Air gameplay trailer)
No, I’m talking pure Alpine Ski races, that are so popular, especially in Europe, which is Downhill, Super G, Giant Slalom, Slalom, Combined, race based seasons and a career mode to play like the 2005/6/7 Alpine Ski games were.
With the ease of physics, of gravity on different snow conditions, correct waxing of ski’s, type of skis and body weight, surely it would be a simple game engine needed to play it ? Even the PS2 could cope with a pretty good physics system. Even an HD remaster would do me for now!
Here is first person replay video taken of me playing the skiing game at the real world location of Les Houches, Chamoinx, France from the 2006 Alpine Skiing game. Below is a photograph I took in 2016 of the real world track and location. This is what the PS2 could do. Imagine what it could be like with the Xbox X or PS4 Pro !
(Image taken by myself, on the slopes at Les Houches of the Men’s Downhill 2016, with the town of Chamonix at the valley floor distance. Note the accuracy to the PS2 gameplay video above )
So why hasn’t this happened ? How can it be that a minority sport like Handball gets a video game, but a HUGELY popular worldwide sport like Alpine Skiing doesn’t ? Licences perhaps ? Even so I’d be surprised as with the video I’ve shown before, of a market of 425 Million World wide fans, what a cash cow someone could tap into for a up to date video game if they just give it a chance. Maybe cash is the issue though, but I’m sure a publisher like EA or Ubisoft, or even 505 Games or Milestone could take it on, as if they can get licences sorted for the other sport games they publish, why not this?
The sport doesn’t even have an image problem so unless I’m missing something here, what a gap in the gaming market to be filled!
The developer of 2005 Alpine Skiing, was Midas Interactive Entertainment, based out of Braintree Essex. I tried contacting them to comment on this article but sadly the company no longer trades.
The Developer of the 2006 and 2007 games was JoWood Productions, who made among other games, The Legend Of Kay, which has had a PS4 / PS3 HD remaster, but sadly the Austrian based company ceased trading in 2011.
Here is what the game would need and what you can do in the 2005/6/7 games. You can create your own character or play as one of the stars. Find a manager, upgrade your skills to suit your preferred event, ie speed for downhill, or carving for slalom. Find the best waxer of your ski’s or depending on the snow conditions, wax your ski’s yourself. Train get better, enter one or all events but that affects your stamina. Unlock better equipment by getting results and get better sponsors. Travel the world to gorgeous real world locations. Race down hills, trying to find the edge of the limits and the fractions of seconds to win. Rinse repeat, enjoy.
So the wait goes on, but I can still dream of what may be. 4k mountain visuals, snow conditions, managers, teams, hurtling down a slope in first person ( available on PS2 games ) or 3rd person, trying to shave off 10ths of seconds on turns, pushing the skii’s to the limit of grip, all at breakneck speeds. I can still do that on my PS2 on my 4k tv, and it doesn’t look as bad as you think, but still a current gen game would fit the bill better.
(Packed house at the bottom of the Men’s Downhill ( including me ) At Les Houches, Chamonix, 2016 )
So just when you think all genres of games are covered, all popular sports are covered, I bet a large proportion of the 425,000,000 fans are just like me, wishing they could play as their hero’s on a console game.
The 11 year wait goes on….
-Peter Keen (Beserker-Boy PSN/cpt blackadder1 XBL)