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Digital Trends / Tech - Game

Unlike real life, Russia retains its 2018 eligibility in ‘Steep: Road to the Olympics’

Russia was banned from the 2018 Olympics on the same day Steep: Road to the Olympics launched, but the country is still in the game.

Steep: Road to the Olympics features authentic Olympic snowboarding and skiing events set in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the site of the 2018 Winter Olympics. But unlike the actual 2018 event, Russia can still compete, according to USgamer.

Road to the Olympics, the expansion for the 2016 extreme sports title Steep, launched with accurate country representation on December 5. However, on launch day, the International Olympic Committee banned Russia from participating in the games. The punishment stemmed from a thorough investigation into a widespread state-sponsored doping program. The Russian flag will not be displayed at the Olympics, Russia’s anthem will not be played, and government officials will not be permitted to attend.

While Russian athletes can still secure special permission to compete, they must wear neutral uniforms, and should they place, their medals will not count towards Russia’s official count.

That’s not the case for Ubisoft’s video game, though. Russia is still available as a team option, and their athletes can still earn medals under the Russian banner.

In a statement to USgamer, Ubisoft said: “There are no existing plans to patch Russia out of Steep: Road to the Olympics.”

Typically, publishers of sports games act according to real-life changes to maintain authenticity. When a player retires from the NFL, EA Sports reflects that change in the next Madden update. When a player is traded to another NBA team, 2K Sports updates NBA 2K to remain as accurate and up to date as possible. Admittedly, this scenario is a bit more complex, but it will be interesting to see if Ubisoft removes Russia from Steep: Road to the Olympics somewhere down the line. It’s worth keeping in mind that the game is officially licensed by the 2018 Olympics.

After all, Steep: Road to the Olympics does seem to make an attempt at an authentic depiction of the Olympics. The game chronicles your journey toward qualifying for the 2018 Winter Games. Players compete in events across Japan and South Korea. Along the way, you watch video interviews with real Olympic athletes offering advice and perspective. Like the full game, the expansion is set in an open-world environment that gives players the freedom to explore.

Road to the Olympics is available now for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The base game is required to play.

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