Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood Developer Q&A
After hearing that the wacky Canadians at BioWare were making the next big Sonic game with Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood, Gary tossed his runners on and decided to run the whole way there - just like Sonic would! About three blocks later he caught a bus and decided to start exercising more than just his thumbs... But, when he arrived at the BioWare game HQ, he was able to meet up with Kirby Fong from Sega and Mark Darrah from BioWare. They sat down over maple syrup and back bacon to answer a few of questions about the upcoming game for DS. Here's what they had to say.
Gary: So, what made SEGA want to make a Sonic the Hedgehog RPG game?
Kirby Fong (Sega Producer): It was the opportunity to work with Bioware and their expertise making RPGs – it just made sense. We wanted to take Sonic in a different direction so all the pieces for this just fell into place and the timing was perfect.
Mark Darrah (Bioware Producer): From the Bioware perspective – we had a big group of Sonic fans here and we were really excited about kicking off our new handheld division. So this really presented us with a great opportunity to do something new. Like Kirby said – it was all about timing!
Gary: What makes you think that this is going to be the best game ever and that everybody should play it until their thumbs fall off?
Kirby: The combination of action and exploration along with a very clever storyline will make this the must-play game of the year. It is a lot of fast-paced addictive fun with a lot of cool worlds to explore.
Mark: There are a lot of new elements for Sonic fans to discover and great gameplay for RPG/DS fans! Altogether it is a great mix of all the things a great game should bring to the table.
Gary: How is Sonic's insane speed going to translate into an RPG game?
Mark: Sonic Chronicles is packed with all the classic elements from Sonic games – loop-de-loops – all the things that keep Sonic moving fast. Overall – Sonic is also the fastest character in the game. Fans will definitely not be compromising their love of a speedy game in this one, it will just be mixed with other elements too – combat, puzzles, and character/environment interaction.
Gary: Is this game going to be full of laughs, packed with drama, or both?
Kirby: Most definitely both.
Mark: I have to agree with Kirby - there will be drama, suspense, and laughs!
Gary: Since this game is being made by Canadians, will Sonic or his buddies say 'Eh?' a lot?
Mark: Lol! No ‘eh’s yet. We thought about having Sonic call Eggman a hoser... but we had to take that out! (oot) Just kidding Eh?
Gary: Does the team have a favorite snack for those late nights when they're hard at work?
Mark: Anything with caffeine or sugar!
Gary: Will you be able to unlock game modes that you can play with your friends?
Mark: There are no additional game modes for this one as it is a single-player game. But there will be lots of areas for each player to explore – little mini-missions to play to up your experience and help grow your character. You can trade Chao with your friends to make sure you have a complete collection.
Gary: Are there different styles of stylus control for each character's power moves?
Mark: The biggest difference with the stylus controls will be spotted in the combat moves where timing and reflex is everything! Essentially the movement for each character will be the same – but the different combat moves that each one has will use the stylus slightly differently.
Gary: When you split the party, can you jump back & forth on your own or will it happen automatically as the story unfolds?
Mark: It is automatic as the story unfolds.
Gary: Which character do you think gamers will have the most fun with when they playing?
Kirby: Sonic or Shade are my votes for the two favorites even though they are all fun and they all have their own special abilities. It will be interesting to see who all of you choose are your top character!
Gary: Word is that this game is going to be massive. How much time do you think gamers will be able to spend playing with Sonic and crew?
Mark: The amount of time someone can play for is totally up to each gamer! There is so much to explore and uncover. So players can just get through it really quickly – just playing the story in about 10 hours... or they can explore and uncover all the hidden treasures or side missions and play for at least 20 hours!
Gary: What kind of items can you collect to give your characters power-ups?
Mark: Obviously experience really helps to grow your power-ups. Also the Chao are a huge help as the game moves on. You can use the Chao to help boost the team member that Chao is paired with to give your characters a little extra kick when playing!
Gary: How does the Luck stat affect the game?
Mark: The luckier you are the better your chance of getting a critical hit. Also, very lucky characters might surprise their enemies and get a free round of attacks at the beginning of combat.
Gary: We've heard that you can play as Sonic, Knuckles, Amy, Tails, Rouge the Bat and Big so far - can you tell us who else can join the team?
Mark: There are a lot of different characters you can play as – for example Shadow is one of them! That is about all I will give-away right now!
Gary: So, when you're able to play as Eggman, what powers does he have? ;o)
Mark: Sneaky huh? Are you trying to get information out of me? I have the Dark Brotherhood watching over every word I say – so no trying to get me into trouble!
Gary: No, no! I don't want to get you folks in trouble... (Dangit! They're too smart for me!) So, um, how do Sonic and friends travel to the alternate dimension for the second act of the game?
Mark: They go through a portal that the new enemy creates. But I won’t give away any details other then that... yet!
Gary: The Dark Brotherhood. Are they brooding, emo and in love with their guyliner? Or are they seriously dark?
Kirby: They are definitely dark with a little bit of brooding and emo in there. I can’t say there is any guyliner though – Mark? Did you guys put make-up on our characters?
Mark: No make-up *runs to check through all the characters and make sure there is no guyliner anywhere* but they are definitely dark and dangerous characters that will leave players fighting for victory!
Gary: Will you be able to change the way Sonic and friends look with items?
Mark: Unfortunately not. The look for the characters won’t change. But their abilities and skills will definitely evolve as the game goes on.
Gary: Can you change the people in your adventuring party or does it get changed by the story?
Mark: Players will absolutely have the ability to choose who makes up their team. There are points in the game where some elements of the team are chosen for you, but overall the player has a lot of control over who they get to play as!
Gary: Where do the rest of the characters hang out when they aren't in the party?
Kirby: At Tails' Workshop of course!
Gary: Any final words for the crowd here at Kidzworld?
Kirby: Stay tuned for some unexpected reveals when you are playing the game. We enjoyed making the game – hope you all enjoy playing it. Check out the website for all the latest info: www.sega.com/sonicchronicles