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Martin Hollis
Born (1971-06-20) 20 June 1971 (age 53)
OccupationVideo game designer
Notable work
GoldenEye 007

Martin Hollis (born 20 June 1971) is a British video game designer best known for directing the critically acclaimed Nintendo 64 first-person shooters GoldenEye 007 and Perfect Dark. In 2000, he founded Zoonami, a video game development company based in Cambridge.



Panel at 2005 game event in Cambridge. From left to right: Aleks Krotoski, David Braben, Martin Hollis, Alice Taylor.

Martin Hollis studied computer science at the University of Cambridge.[1] In 1993, when he was 22 years old, he applied for a job at Rare and became the company's first computer science graduate. Due to his knowledge of Unix, he was tasked to set up the networks of the expensive Silicon Graphics systems Rare had recently acquired at the time.[1] He then worked as a second programmer on the coin-op version of Killer Instinct with Rare's technical director Chris Stamper, who designed the hardware.[1] Hollis programmed the machine's operating system.[2]

After his work on Killer Instinct, Hollis was interested in leading a team to produce a video game based on the 1995 James Bond film GoldenEye, an idea that had been proposed to Rare at the highest level.[1] The resulting game, GoldenEye 007, was released in 1997 to critical and commercial success. Hollis remarked that he worked non-stop on the game, "[averaging] an 80 hour week over the 2 and a half years of the project", and that the team he recruited was very talented and dedicated even though most of it was composed of people who had never worked on video games.[3][4]

Hollis and his team were then offered to produce a game based on the GoldenEye sequel Tomorrow Never Dies, but they turned it down without hesitation.[5] He explained that they were all "pretty sick" of the James Bond universe by the time GoldenEye 007 was released,[5] and that their next game needed to be different enough for him to be interesting.[1] In late 1998, after becoming head of software at Rare and having worked for 14 months on Perfect Dark, a spiritual successor to GoldenEye 007, he left the company, partially because his ideas for the game were too ambitious.[6][5][1] Although Perfect Dark was released 18 months later,[1] his contributions to the game were significant and the game's protagonist, Joanna Dark, was his creation.[7]

After leaving Rare, Hollis took some time off and spent six months in Southeast Asia. According to him, "I couldn't see myself staying in Twycross [the small village where Rare is based]. I wanted to see more of the world—wanderlust I suppose."[1] Following a recommendation by Chris Stamper, Hollis then worked as a consultant on the development of the GameCube at Nintendo of America in Redmond, Washington. One of his responsibilities was to ensure that the GameCube hardware was game developer friendly.[6] In 2000, he founded Zoonami, a video game development company based in Cambridge.[5] The company's philosophy was to conceive innovative ideas and develop them further.[1] At Zoonami, he worked on Zendoku, a Sudoku-based game released in 2007,[1] and on Bonsai Barber, a hairdressing game released in 2009.[8]

Hollis is a regular contributor to the GameCity event in Nottingham, where he talks about the cultural importance of video games.[9]

Selected works[]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 Jon Jordan (8 June 2007). "The Restless Vision Of Martin Hollis, The Man With The GoldenEye". Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. https://web.archive.org/web/20160303174154/https://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/1451/the_restless_vision_of_martin_.php. Retrieved 23 January 2018. 
  2. Simon Parkin (8 February 2012). "Who Killed Rare?". Archived from the original on 24 February 2012. https://web.archive.org/web/20120224075839/https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2012-02-08-who-killed-rare. Retrieved 14 July 2018. 
  3. Martin Hollis (2 September 2004). "The Making of GoldenEye 007". Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. https://web.archive.org/web/20110718160021/http://www.zoonami.com/briefing/2004-09-02.php. Retrieved 22 December 2011. 
  4. "Desert Island Disks: David Doak". Retro Gamer (Live Publishing) (6): 41–45. July 2004. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 "The Legacy of Perfect Dark: Martin Hollis Q&A". Retro Gamer (Imagine Publishing) (19): 79. January 2006. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Mark Walbank (2 August 2007). "Feature: Ex-Rare man Martin Hollis talks games". Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. https://web.archive.org/web/20121102193842/http://www.computerandvideogames.com/169389/interviews/creative-minds/. Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  7. Keith Stuart; Jordan Erica Webber (26 October 2015). "GoldenEye on N64: Miyamoto wanted to tone down the killing". Archived from the original on 25 January 2018. https://web.archive.org/web/20180125031406/https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/oct/26/goldeneye-james-bond-n64-nintendo-shigeru-miyamoto-gamecity. Retrieved 26 August 2011. 
  8. Wesley Yin-Poole (1 December 2010). "The man who made GoldenEye". Archived from the original on 15 February 2012. https://web.archive.org/web/20120215014210/http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2010-11-23-the-man-who-made-goldeneye-interview. Retrieved 28 January 2018. 
  9. Dan Pearson (25 October 2010). "Zoonami Keeper". Archived from the original on 16 February 2019. https://web.archive.org/web/20190216033642/https://www.gamesindustry.biz/articles/2010-10-22-zoonami-keeper-interview. Retrieved 29 October 2019. 

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