Interviews// Bioware's Miles Holmes

Posted 24 Sep 2008 16:42 by
Love him or hate him, Sonic the Hedgehog has been at the forefront of some unlikely collaborations lately. First we saw the hedgehog gallivanting over hurdles with Mario in Mario and Sonic at the Olympic Games on Wii, and now acclaimed RPG developer BioWare (Mass Effect) is ready with Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood for Nintendo DS. As you can imagine, it takes the speedy blue creature in a completely new genre and fans are already wondering if the results will be satisfactory because of this.

I headed to SEGA Europe’s HQ recently to have a demo of the DS game in action, and to chat to BioWare’s Lead Designer for the project, Miles Holmes. Included in the walkthrough I noticed that there is a good mixture of classic RPG elements and fast-paced rhythm actions that are used to execute effective attacks. A whole host of Sonic characters will feature in The Dark Brotherhood, and you can select a party of four to take on challenges in the world map that will require unique abilities of all your members.

Sonic Chronicles not only marks the SEGA mascot's first role-playing game, but also BioWare’s first Nintendo DS project. Miles Holmes spoke of the difficulties his team had in creating an RPG featuring the Blue Blur, and of the creative freedom the studio enjoyed while working on the franchise. You can also discover just why Sonic Heroes is BioWare’s most inspirational Sonic title in this interview.

SPOnG: Thanks for joining us for this interview, Miles. Could we get a brief history of your career in video games, and how you ended up at BioWare?

Miles Holmes: I guess I’ve been working on games in one form or another since 1995, when I worked for a small company doing PC games. Over the years I gradually worked my way up and a few years back ended up working in Toronto with Pseudo Interactive doing the Full Auto games.

A good friend of mine who was working in BioWare had been trying to convince me to come out to Edmonton and when I got there he pitched me the idea of being part of the ‘handheld’ group, which BioWare was trying to get a foothold in at the time.

SPOnG: Now, Sonic Chronicles has been an attempt by BioWare to try something that isn’t in the usual style of your back catalogue of games. Why did you guys end up doing Sonic the Hedgehog?

Miles Holmes: It’s a funny story actually – from what I understand of the situation is simply that Simon Jeffery, who is head of SEGA America, and Ray (Muzyka, CEO of BioWare) and Greg (Zeschuk, President of BioWare) are quite good friends. They joked about how cool it would be to do this project over drinks at some point.

And… here we are (laughs) it’s as simple as that really. I don’t know how true that story is, but that’s the tale I’ve been told from a few sources.
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