Lots of New Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games Info

We know the Blue Blur can run like the wind, but how well can he skate?

That’s just one of many questions that will be answered in the upcoming Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Winter Games for the Wii and DS, as new details have come to light surrounding the title.

Over at the Official Nintendo Magazine website, two new screenshots are available (of which a smaller version of one can be seen above), as well as some information regarding the bobsleigh event.

Mario, Luigi, Sonic, and Amy are shown riding in a bobsleigh, and the foursome can be controlled via sitting on the Wii Balance Board and shifting your weight to the right or left in order to steer. Of course, if you don’t have the Board, don’t worry; you’ll still be able to play, though the specifics remained unclear.

Other events confirmed include alpine skiing, snowboarding, and speed skating. And as expected, the game is due in late 2009.

Eurogamer has also had some hands-on time with the game, and has revealed some additional information. Plus, they have a number of their own screenshots to dazzle you as well.

In the character roster, Mii play is available, and word is that both versions of the game will feature “new playable characters familiar to SEGA and Nintendo fans,” but SEGA isn’t saying who just yet. Another change of note is that all events’ multiplayer counterparts will be available from the outset.

Regarding the use of the Wii Balance Board, only one can be used. SEGA says this is due to the Board taking up two Wii remote slots, thus making it technically impossible to create a game which uses two.

“We’ve tried to make the game more accessible and easier to understand for casual users, but we would also like to focus on core gamers as well,” explains producer Takashi Iizuka. “So we’re making it very accessible, but then putting in in-depth gameplay for the skilled player.”

Eurogamer asks about the possibility of skilled and casual gamers playing together, with the former employing turbo boosts that trounce their competition. “That kind of situation could occur,” says Iikuza. “We can’t tell you the details, unfortunately, but we are thinking about a special mode to make it more balanced for casual and hardcore players, so they can play together and still have fun.”

Regarding the aforementioned bobsleigh event, it is an event in which four players are able to compete cooperatively, using only Wii Remotes to play. “The idea is to do a run-up by shaking the controllers about, and press A at the right moment to jump in the bobsleigh. Players then hold their remotes to their chests and lean left or right to steer.”

As before, these games play it straight, with no Mario Kart-style hijinks. But making their return will be the “dream events,” which should fill that void nicely. But which sports will become dream events remains under wraps.

For the DS game, there will be more notable differences this time around, as separate design teams are following separate design plans, with the idea being that consumers will have greater incentive to purchase both versions.

SEGA is also aiming to boost the sales of the DS version by changing the download sharing options. This time, one cartridge can share all of the Olympic and Dream events with up to four players. When asked about the possibility of fewer people buying the game instead of sharing, Producer Eigo Kasahara said:

“Actually I wanted to make all the events available for free download last time, but because of time constraints it was difficult. With this version, maybe players will bring the cartridge to school and play with their friends. Then kids will go home and ask their Mum to buy them a copy… So it’s a kind of viral marketing almost.”

Some events included in the DS game are Snowboard Cross, played using the D-pad and buttons, and Skeleton Board, which involves doing the bobsleigh run on “a body board-style sledge.” And unlike Snowboard Cross, this one uses the stylus and touchscreen.

All the events are going to be available from the start, and instructions can be skipped if desired. And if you lack enough Wii Nunchuks, you can opt to play all the events with just Wii Remotes.

Finally, it should be noted that SEGA flew Eurogamer out to Vancouver to not only try the game out, but to participate in some curling as well. While the event remains unconfirmed for the games, one has only to wonder if SEGA would do such a thing if the game itself weren’t included.

Of curling, Eurogamer says “it may not be proper exercise, and it may make you look stupid, but it takes real skill to be really good at it. What’s more, even if you’re completely rubbish, it’s fantastic fun.”