Mark Darrah Development began in 2006 when BioWare started looking into developing for handheld systems. The actual Sonic project came along later. Currently we’ve got a decent sized team with over thirty people.
IGN: The Sonic games are traditionally action / platform based. Why bring the Hedgehog into the RPG genre?
Mark Darrah BioWare are big fans of the Sonic IP. One of BioWare’s core strengths is developing story driven games, so it was natural to bring Sonic to that genre. Fortunately, the Sonic IP is filled with rich characters and is an excellent series to expand the storyline.
IGN: How does the storyline in Sonic Chronicles begin?
Mark Darrah Eggman was defeated some time ago and Sonic has gone out to explore the rest of his world. He has been gone for a while and then gets a call from Tails – Knuckles has been kidnapped! Not only that, the chaos emeralds are disappearing!
IGN: The storyline is made up of two acts. Please explain how this works?
Mark Darrah The first Act takes place mostly in Sonic’s World. Sonic and his friends are figuring out what is happening and trying to stop the Master Emerald from being taken. In the Second act, the group must travel to another dimension to stop a new threat to Sonic’s World.
IGN: What kinds of locales will gamers recognize from the Sonic series?
Mark Darrah To name a few: Green Hill Zone, Central City, Mystic Ruins and the Blue Ridge Zone
IGN: How is the second act of the game darker? Can you give us some details?
Mark Darrah The second act takes place primarily in another dimension. We are not discussing the story of Act 2 at this time.
IGN: Explain to us how the two screens on DS are being used.
Mark Darrah In exploration, the top screen serves as a mini-map for the current area. In other screens, it is used to display the non interactive parts of the GUI.
IGN: How exactly do you play the game?
Mark Darrah The game will be controlled using the stylus really allowing for a sense of speed that is key to Sonic series.
IGN: Please detail the intricacies of the control system. For example, how do you move Sonic and friends about the environment and interact with objects and characters?
Mark Darrah The game has full stylus controls. In exploration, the stylus is used to guide Sonic around. In other GUI screens, the stylus is used to pick individual components on the GUI to interact with.
Interacting with elements in the environment is done through an icon system. So if you want to talk to an NPC, a speech bubble will appear over the NPC’s head. To fly Tails across a chasm, the player will click on a flying icon.
IGN: Is there a layer of interactivity to the turn-based battles? How does it work?
Mark Darrah In Combat we have the added twist of real time elements. These are on screen elements that keep the player engaged by having them click, drag and smash various icons.
IGN: Sonic games are known for blazing speed. How will you present (or sidestep) this in an RPG? As a direct question, are there any loop-de-loop moments?
Mark Darrah There are loop-de-loop moments. The most important thing in Sonic Chronicles is remaining true to Sonic’s roots while still exploring new directions. This means evoking a feeling of speed and attitude in the player’s interaction with Sonic.
IGN: Who can you play as in the game?
Mark Darrah There are several playable characters in the game. The ones we are discussing right now are: Sonic, Knuckles, Amy, Tails, Rouge the Bat, Big and more soon to be announced.
IGN: Please give us a few examples of how the different mascots have different attributes?
Mark Darrah The major differences between the characters will be the movement and combat powers that each possesses. Amy has a hammer and can smash things in the environment as well as in combat. Knuckles can climb and glide.
IGN: How many characters can you have in your party? And can they work together? How?
Mark Darrah You can have four characters in the party at once. In combat many different combinations of party members will have different combination attacks that use their special moves together.
IGN: How deep is the character leveling up system? How customizable are your characters?
Mark Darrah You control the combat moves that each character gains and improves. Additionally, you can collect items to equip each player. There are a few other things as well that we aren’t talking about right now, but stay tuned for more info coming soon!
IGN: Is Sonic Chronicles entirely a single-player affair or will there be a multiplayer component either wirelessly or by way of Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection?
Mark Darrah We aren’t talking about how we will be taking advantage of any wireless capabilities yet.
IGN: There seems to be a lot of beautiful hand-drawn backgrounds in the game. How big of a cartridge will Sonic Chronicles require?
Mark Darrah Big — though we aren’t saying quite yet which cart we’re using.
IGN: Do you see The Dark Brotherhood as the beginning of a new Sonic RPG series? In other words, supposing the first is a success, might you make sequels?
Mark Darrah The story is rich enough it could possibly support a series so who knows what may happen but at this point out whole focus is on this new title.