Major milestone in partnership between NZ’s Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE) and JP GAMES
Dunedin-based Kiwi Paralympian Holly Robinson may not have won gold in Tokyo yet, but she’s set to be immortalised as a character in the official video game of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics, ‘The Pegasus Dream Tour’.
The world’s first official International Paralympic Committee (IPC) video game ‘The Pegasus Dream Tour’ is created by Japan’s JP GAMES, with Robinson’s inclusion bringing to fruition a major milestone in the company’s partnership with New Zealand’s Centre of Digital Excellence (CODE), the Dunedin-based hub designed to progress the expansion of the country’s growing video game development industry.
Launching on iOS and Android on 24 June, ‘The Pegasus Dream Tour’ is an avatar role-playing game (Massive Avatar RPG) which places players into a virtual Paralympic Games held in a fantasy, futuristic, inclusive and diverse metropolis known as Pegasus City. The game generates an advanced avatar named ‘Mine’, which pursues its dreams of becoming a Para athlete and is created based on the player’s own face through a photo taken with their smartphones. Players can equip themselves with prosthetic arms, legs and wheelchairs and train in a number of para-sports including the precision-ball-sport boccia, football 5-a-side, athletics and wheelchair basketball. Mine can forge new relationships with other avatars by freely roaming the city and participating in different competitions.
The only Kiwi athlete to feature in the game – and one of just nine real-life athletes included – Robinson, a world record holding javelin thrower, says she is honoured to feature in ‘The Pegasus Dream Tour’.
“Being part of the world’s first-ever Paralympics video game alongside incredible Paralympic athletes is a dream come true,” says Robinson, NZ Paralympian #183.
“’The Pegasus Dream Tour’ will offer gamers around the globe greater insight into the world of the Paralympics. I’m delighted to have participants come train with me and learn what it’s like to be a para-athlete and what javelin throwing is all about.”
Ōtepoti Dunedin will also make an appearance in the game, though details are still under wraps.
Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins says CODE is the only Government-backed organisation to be involved in ‘The Pegasus Dream Tour’, which illustrates its position on the global stage.
“This important partnership, supported by Enterprise Dunedin, shows our innovative Centre of Digital Excellence continuing to gain momentum. We’re thrilled to align with JP GAMES and help share ‘The Pegasus Dream Tour’ with the world,” says Mayor Hawkins.
“Although not Dunedin-born, we’ve certainly claimed Holly as a local since she arrived here as a secondary student. Realising her dream to represent her country in the javelin, Holly is a fantastic role model who shows where passion and determination can take you.”
‘The Pegasus Dream Tour’ is part of the IPC’s efforts to further promote Para sports across new and young audiences.
Today – 100 days out from the Paralympics – the pre-registration system is launching, with those interested being able to apply already through Pegasus official website https://pegasus-dream.com/.
JP GAMES’ global account manager Ken Kawashima, who alongside the company’s creative director Hiromitsu Sasaki visited Dunedin in 2019, says the partnership with CODE is based on aligned values of fostering diversity, including previously under-represented groups in game development and exploring new territory, particularly in games for the health area.
“Today’s announcement brings to fruition a two-year partnership with CODE and many months of innovation and gaming development. Working together with Holly Robinson online in creating her in-game character has been an absolute joy for all of us here in Tokyo, and although much of the game is still under wraps, we know ‘The Pegasus Dream Tour’ will excite gamers in New Zealand and all over the world.”
Peter Crabtree, General Manager of Science, Innovation and International at Hīkina Whakatutuki The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment, says the relationship between JP GAMES and CODE, fostered through the Ministry’s Innovative Partnerships Team, is an excellent example of how global connections can lead to research and development collaboration opportunities, which are key to growing New Zealand’s gaming sector.
“Robinson’s inclusion in ‘The Pegasus Dream Tour’ is an exciting step in JP GAMES’ and CODE’s partnership and will raise the profile of New Zealand’s research and development capabilities in gaming and digital technologies.”