Your avatar called a “Mine” will be a para-athlete in the game

Players will aim for the gold medal as para-athletes.

The game is set in a virtual city called “Pegasus City.” This is a smartphone RPG that allows your avatar called a “Mine” to grow through playing parasports like boccia and other athletics.

The famous Japanese anime character Doraemon is the deputy mayor, and he is your guide along with the famous figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu who is also in this game. Also, you can interact with the avatars of real para-athletes. For example, boccia player Takayuki Hirose and wheelchair tennis player Manami Tanaka.

Hajime Tabata, who is the representative of JP GAMES which is the game development studio of this game, was the director of Final Fantasy XV and game creator at SQUARE ENIX. He said “I want to solve social issues through games.” We asked him his thoughts on the game.

We made this game with the theme of “interact with each other” through the COVID pandemic.

Hajime Tabata(left) and the members from the development team. The development and design of “The Pegasus Dream Tour” are mainly created by the younger generation of members of the team.

Q. The game was originally planned to release last spring. However, due to the Tokyo Olympics postponement, the decision was made to delay the game.

I thought we couldn't release this game because of the COVID pandemic and the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics. We didn't know if they would hold the Olympics, so it was hard to keep making this game. Also, I thought people would not have a positive image of the Olympics. However, we are happy we are finally able to release this game.

Q. If you didn't release this game, do you think it would cause a loss?

I was thinking about what we would do in the case we could not release the game last summer. Even if we could not release the game as a final product, it would have been worth the technology and development gains over the process of making this game. So I was thinking of using that technology for something else potentially. However, I’m glad that we were able to release this game as a product itself and we could deploy technology.

Q. Are there any changes in this game compared with the contents of this game last year ?

Originally, we released this game to allow people to experience for themselves the heroics of para-athletes and the Paralympics. However, I think the people’s view of the games overall is changing through COVID pandemic. People want to get power from sports, either from being impressed or the excitement and elation of participating. We need to feel these feelings and grow. I want to inspire the way various people exercise in this era. So I thought there is meaning to approaching games this way.

Also, the theme of this game changed because through the pandemic people became separated, we want the Paralympics to be the tournament where our hearts can gather. I want many people to be able to receive the positive energy of the games.

Your avatar gives you energy through participating in parasports

Pegasus City is a virtual city which expresses social good and a sustainable world view.

Q. Is this not just a game where you can get competition experience?

Games are good at making people get experience and express themselves. It is easy to think of the idea that you can experience the feeling of being athletic, swimming, and so on when you want to make a game about the Paralympics.

However, I thought it was different from making another game as this is an official parasports game. We made this a focus in considering how to express the world of the Paralympics in Pegasus City and inspire people to learn about the philosophy of the Paralympics through the positive energy in this game.

Q. Can you tell us an example?

Players will participate in various Paralympic games and aim for the gold medal using their avatar. I think you can get inspiration and stimulation from them just like you can get energy from watching sports in real life. You can get power from them and I have never heard of a game that is designed with that kind of expression. That is the unique point of this game.

You can get power through your avatar and communicate with other players. I think you can only feel that feeling from the world view of this game.

The game was made with social issues in mind

The avatar of Yuzuru Hanyu, ambassador of “The Pegasus Dream Tour”(left)

Q. I heard there are real-life para-athletes and the figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu in this game.

We need to put reality in this game to make it a true Paralmpic’s world view, so it was necessary to put real-athletes in this game.

There are nine Para-athletes available in this game. For example, boccia player Takayuki Hirose, wheelchair tennis player Manami Tanaka. Also, the famous figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu is in this game. We offered him to be in this game because he is an athlete and he is the person who has artistry in his way of life. I think he accepted this offer because he agreed with the studio’s objective to liven up the Paralympics and solve social issues surrounding parasports through a parasports game.

Key visual of “The Pegasus Dream Tour”.

Q. You started the game studio called “JP GAMES '' in February, 2021 after your work at SQUARE ENIX. Is this because you wanted to face social issues?

I think I want to make games to solve social issues and make society better. It is worth being independent to make that kind of game.

On the other hand, it is hard to sell a game that has a theme of Paralympics. I can’t say it sells well, or easily.
The way you make a profit in this game is different from other games. By providing the technology related to game development to various companies, we make a profit and have a structure that supports this game.

I’m glad that the first game we released was this game even though the process to make this game is harder than I thought. I wanted to make it as a business and express the worldview of parasports as a game creator. So I feel good that I got over the difficulties with all of these processes and can provide the game and technology now.

Q. How do you want users to have fun?

This game is a little bit different from other games. Your avatar called a “Mine” will aim for the gold medal in a tournament like the Paralympics through training and participating in games.
It is a game where you support your avatar, your “mine,” and are inspired by them.
I will be glad if you are interested in the para-athletes in this game and feel inspired to be more interested in the Paralympics.

Hajime Tabata during the interview.

Hajime Tabata

Hajime Tabata who was born in Iwate prefecture in 1971.
He started working at SQUARE ENIX in 2004 and he was a director of Final Fantasy XV.
He founded a new company "JP GAMES" and launched his first parasports game project in February 2019.

Overview of “The Pegasus Dream Tour”

Game’s title:The Pegasus Dream Tour
Genre:Massive Avatar RPG
Release regions:World wide
Platform:iOS, Android
Available language:Japanese, English, French, German, and Spanish
Price:Free to play with in-game transactions.
Official website:https://pegasus-dream.com/
Official Twitter:@PegasusCity2021

Para-athletes available in this game

  • Takayuki Hirose(Boccia / JAPAN)
  • Manami Tanaka(Wheelchair tennis / JAPAN)
  • Kohei Kobayashi(Badminton / JAPAN)
  • Rie Ogura(Badminton / JAPAN)
  • Scout Bassett (Athletics / UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
  • Chaiwat Rattana(Athletics / THAILAND)
  • Patrick Anderson (Wheelchair Basketball / CANADA)
  • Holly Robinson (Javelin / NEW ZEALAND)
  • Silvio Velo(Football 5-a-side / ARGENTINA)

The para-athletes who are in the game

  • Takayuki Hirose(Boccia / JAPAN)
  •  Manami Tanaka(Wheelchair tennis / JAPAN)
  •  Kohei Kobayashi(Badminton / JAPAN)
  •  Rie Ogura(Badminton / JAPAN)
  •  Scout Bassett (Athletics / UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
  •  Chaiwat Rattana(Athletics / THAILAND)
  •  Patrick Anderson (Wheelchair Basketball / CANADA)
  •  Holly Robinson (Javelin / NEW ZEALAND)
  •  Silvio Velo(Football 5-a-side / ARGENTINA)

Original Japanese written by Issei Sakakibara
Translated by Hiro Makusu