Let’s be honest – the past few Spider-Man installments weren’t exactly what we expected from Activision after the great videogame adaptation of Spider-Man 2 and the generally well-received Ultimate Spider-Man. What then followed was what Spider-Man 3 was to its two predecessors in the Spider-Man film series – disappointing and mediocre. Fast-forward to the year 2009. Batman: Arkham Asylum sets the world on fire and raises the bar for comic games. Taking notice of the universal success, Activision then acknowledges that the previous games “sucked” and ensures us that the next Spider-Man game, titled Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, as you already know, “is not shit.” Having said that, ICGamers has decided to catch up with Beenox, the development studio in charge, and the game’s producer Stephane Gravel to tell us the latest on the anticipated new direction for the series.
Q: As an introduction, why don’t you tell us what Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is about for those not in the know?
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is all about four parallel dimensions: four different Spider-Men in one unique unparallel experience. So far, we have revealed the Amazing dimension that is essentially a nod to the vintage comic books from our childhoods. Also revealed is Noir, a completely brand new approach to a Spider-Man game. It’s an almost black-and-white look and the prominence of stealth gameplay is something that has never-before-seen in a Spider-Man game. The most recent one we revealed is the 2099 dimension, and again, the look and style of the gameplay is totally different from any other Spider-Man games. I mean – flying cars, a futuristic city, high-tech villains… and the levels are simply spectacular looking. We can’t wait to reveal the last universe; it’s going to be as cool and different as the other three.
We know that each dimension will feature its own villain but it’s come to our attention that the Noir setting will actually include two bosses, Hammerhead and the Goblin. Will the Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 dimensions also feature more than one boss or are Kraven the Hunter and Hobgoblin the only villains that will try to stop Spider-Man in their respective universes?
I believe there is some misunderstanding regarding the villains; you won’t get to fight only 1 villain per dimension but 3! Overall, you’ll get to fight 13 well-established characters from the Marvel Universe, in one form or another, enhanced by the shattered pieces of the Tablet of Order and Chaos for the universe they’re in. They are mostly fan-favorites, but we may have included a couple of game-exclusive surprises here and there…
The fourth and final dimension is set to be unveiled at San Diego Comic-Con 2010 in July, correct?
That is correct. There is even going to be some hands-on opportunities on the show floor.
Don’t fret, we won’t so much as suggest which universe that might be. We very well know that you would just give Jack Bauer a run for his money if it came even remotely close to questioning. Our money is on the Zombie Spider-Man, though.
That’s not a bad guess! When we looked at the wide range of dimensions we could do, we chose the ones that we thought would translate well to a video game, and ones that are different enough from each other so that the player can have a unique experience in each of them. There are obviously a lot more dimensions we could do, including some of the interesting What If..? alternate dimensions out there…
We’re aware that GameStop and Amazon are offering pre-order bonuses for the game. Are there any other retailers doing that?
At this point, only the Cosmic Spider-Man bonus with GameStop and the Iron Spider + Art book with Amazon are planned. There may be some others that are in the works! Stay tuned for San Diego Comic Con!
Do you intend to release a demo prior to the game’s release on September 7?
At the moment, no demo is planned prior to the release.
What about post-release support? Any plans for that?
There is nothing official regarding DLC post-release. Right now we’re focusing on just getting this game done and into the hands of our eager fans!
Does the fact that none of your original games are critically-acclaimed have you worried in any way or are you confident that Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions won’t disappoint and will speak for itself when it hits store shelves?
Our previous titles (Bee Movie Game, Monsters vs. Aliens) may not have been critically-acclaimed but we did however receive lot of praise for how our games look and felt a lot like the movies. It’s sort of come to be what we’re known for: make incredibly good-looking games that respect the source material. With Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, we saw an opportunity to really showcase our more of our talent, by taking this character that has a lot of history behind him and craft our own story, our own game mechanics, and, to an extent, our own art styles around him. We’re all fans of Spider-Man and the previous Spider-Man games, so you’ll definitely see that dedication and passion from the team in the all parts of the game. Also, our proprietary engine is really versatile and it allows us to create the same game - the same experience - on 3 different platforms: PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii.
Considering the game does well commercially and critically, is there a chance we might see a sequel with some other Spider-Man universes from Marvel’s catalogue?
That’s a possibility. However, nothing is official at this stage.
One last question to wrap this up: Do you have any thoughts on Sam Raimi’s departure from the Spider-Man film series and Sony’s decision to reboot it with a new director and new cast?
Personally, I’m a big fan of Sam Raimi’s work, I loved the first 2 movies but like a lot of people, I was disappointed by the 3rd installment. Would he have done a great Spider-Man 4? Maybe, maybe not. As for Sony’s decision to reboot, let’s just say I’m giving them a chance.
ICGamers would like to thank Stephane Gravel, Producer at Beenox for taking time out to answer our questions.
Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is set for release on September 7 in the US and September 10 in Europe for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, Nintendo DS, and the Wii. You can pre-order the game from Amazon and GameStop in the US and GAME in the UK.