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Everything We Know About Google's Homepage Olympics Game

A feline-themed Olympics game on the homepage of Google? You bet your cat there is. 

Coinciding with Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremonies on July 23, 2021, the "Doodle Champion Island Games" have officially begun. Developed by Google and Tokyo animation team STUDIO 4°C (which handled the cutscenes and character creation), the free-to-play title is available on the front page of Google. Players take on the role of "Calico (C)athlete" Lucky, a cat who tests her skills in a mythical take on the Olympic Games. 

Players the world over can compete on one of four teams for the top spot on the leaderboard by playing sport-themed mini-games in a campy RPG landscape. The sports included are marathon, climbing, rugby, artistic swimming, skateboarding, table tennis, and archery. It's up to Lucky to take on animal opponents, complete side quests, and collect seven sacred scrolls.

Players have already had a blast diving into the many small details hidden in "Doodle Champion Island Games," but what's the story behind its creation? And what makes it so unique?

Doodle Champion Island Games' champions are rooted in myth

"Doodle Champion Island Games" is an even more enjoyable experience once you know its roots. Lucky for you (cat pun intended), Google has shared a Q&A and behind-the-scenes video with STUDIO4°C exploring the background of the adorable Olympics game.

STUDIO4°C drew inspiration for each champion character from Japanese folklore, pulled from sources across all 47 of Japan's prefectures. The various champions that Lucky must compete against are based on mythological creatures, including the ogre-like Oni and a shapeshifting Tanuki. 

The natural environment seen in the game is not only gorgeously inviting, but it's also based on real world locales. The game's creators explained that they "hoped to convey the rich and diverse natural beauty of [Japan], including underwater, sandy tropical beaches, forests, and snowy mountains." 

The game embodies the thrill and competition of the Olympics. In addition to spreading happiness and Japanese culture worldwide, the STUDIO4°C team "want[s] to convey that joy can result from the focus and hard work of every one of us." Not only does "Doodle Champion Island Games" get players even more into the Olympic spirit, but it might just join the ranks of sports video games that are fun for non-sports fans.

STUDIO 4°C's Story

STUDIO4°C focuses on film and video creations for a variety of genres and platforms. The award-winning company has worked on films like "Genius Party" and "Tekkonkinkreet." It has also collaborated with international companies on the game "Halo Legends" and the TV series "Thundercats."

Why the name? The company's "About" page states that since water is most dense at 4° Celsius, STUDIO4°C captures the company's guiding principle: "Always create works that are dense with substance and quality."

Google's Q&A allowed STUDIO4°C to offer further insights regarding "Doodle Champion Island Games." When discussing the team's favorite game elements, STUDIO4°C mentioned that it love the stone guardians, which give Lucky directions throughout the world and act as the guides for the story. STUDIO4°C's favorite sport in the game is the fast-paced table tennis match against the demonic Tengu. 

Judging from the excited comments from the members of STUDIO4°C, it appears as though this game was a real labor of love, one that the team hopes "brings happiness" to all who play it.