One of the most exciting panels I saw at Comic Con was Marvel’s, where they unleashed more details about Spiderman: Shattered Dimensions. After their morning panel, I made my way through the sea of people, costumed characters and nerds alike, and found myself in front of a huge booth for Shattered Dimensions. All of the demo stations were filled with hungry gamers so I decided that It would be a perfect time to speak with producer Stephane Gravel.
Even cooler than being able to speak to the game’s producer was that I finally got to utilize the five years of French classes that I was forced into during school because Stephane is from Quebec! I really only got as far as saying, “Bonjour, Stephene. Je m’appelle, Andrea. Je parle du francais, un peu. Je ne practice pas…” (Hi, Stephene. My name is Andrea. I speak a little French. I have not practiced….) He laughed and responded in kind. Anyway, here’s what we discussed, and yes, the rest is in English.
AE: I went to your panel earlier this morning. It was really exciting. I haven’t had a chance to play it yet but everything I’ve seen and heard has gotten me very excited about the game. When it comes to the different spideys and different levels, how did you decide as a game developer to put the levels together within these different dimensions?
SG: It was a process. We were in meetings for weeks. We brought Dan Slott on board, one of the writers of the amazing spider man. We really wanted levels that were tailored for the enemies, and we have a ton of fan favorites in the game. There are 13 different villains, most of them are really well known to Spiderman fans. And we’ve just announced Juggernaut and Deadpool, ones that fans will love. That’s basically how we decided who we would put in the game and how we would build the levels. It’s all about the fans.
AE: It’s nice that you’re thinking about the fan base. I know it’s hard as a developer to get everything that you want in a game. How do you balance having budget and time constraints with being able to get all the content fans will love in a game like Shattered Dimensions?
SG: Honestly, the first thing we did when we started working was to go on the forums and the boards. We did this to get a feeling about what fans wanted. What they liked and disliked in previous spiderman games. Then we tried to figure out if that would fit the budget. We knew from the start that there were going to be four universes. No matter what, we had to have that. There will be three levels per universe and 13 levels total (I assume the 13th level will be the final fight). There will also be first person sequences where you get up close and personal with the villains. It’s all about fighting the classic villains, we really wanted the fans to see each villain take up the entire screen during the boss sequences. Everything we wanted to do came within budget and we are very happy about it.
AE: What makes this game stand out from the Spiderman games that came before it?
*Suddenly, a child interrupts us and asks Stephane if he can have a turn at the demo . . . “of course you can” he replies. He then turns back to me with a smile*
SG: Well there are four different spidermen with four different styles of play. Theres noir, which is very black and white for instance. And the focus in that dimension is on stealth. Amazing is all about using your trademark spiderman webbing and acrobatics. 2099 has a lot of freefalling from huge skyscrapers and hand to hand action, and Ultimate will have you using the symbiote suit so you get to do lots of AoE damage with your tentacles. It’s almost like four completely different Spiderman games.
AE: Absolutely, and how hard was it to get four different voice actors to play these roles?
SG: Well, those guys that voiced Spiderman in the past really liked doing it and they were very eager to work on it again. So it really wasn’t hard at all. I mean Christopher Daniel Barnes for Spiderman Noir did an awesome job. Neil Patrick Harris for Amazing was really fun. Josh Keaton brings the teenage sound to Ultimate Spiderman and Dan Gilvezan with Spiderman 2099 was really great as well. They were all really pleased to work on Spiderman again and we were very excited about it.
AE: So am I! It really gives each dimension an individual feel to have four different voice actors in the game.
SG: Exactly, they each have their own personality. Amazing is the one that everyone knows. Ultimate is the teenager who is very worried about his homework and what aunt May will think. Spider man noir is still getting very used to his own powers, and 2099 knows that there is something bigger than his own universe going on and is trying to unravel what is going on between the dimensions.
AE: It seems to be a great way to immerse players into the game, and immersion is so important to today’s gamers.
SG: Absolutely, I could not agree more, we want the player to feel as if they are a part of every spider man dimension.
Well, I’m sold. I’ve been a spidey fan ever since Amazing and a Marvel fan because of my dad’s personal obsession. So after seeing the demo and hearing what Stephane had to say, I’m ready to play the game. Aren’t you?