With Spider-Man: Battle for NY currently on sale for Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS, we grabbed Vaughan Marshall, Lead Designer from developer Torus Games to answer a few questions about the title.
Marvel.com: What's the storyline for this game? Around what point in the Ultimate Spider-Man mythos would this game fit?
Vaughan Marshall: Spider-Man: Battle for New York's story begins late at night in a laboratory deep within the Osborn Industries Compound. True to the Ultimate Universe, Norman Osborn is aware of Spider-Man's true identity and is determined to replicate the experiment that transformed Peter Parker into our favorite web-slinging hero. Thus the Goblin is born!
As fans will no doubt expect, the story presents the clash between good and evil in classic comic-book style. However, the story is unique in that it focuses on the personal stories of both Norman Osborn and Peter Parker.
Peter Parker is coming to terms with his new powers and the role he must inevitably play as a defender of justice within New York City. And Norman Osborn may relish the new powers of the Goblin but he struggles to maintain a grip on his sanity.
Exploring these and other characters on this level allowed us to create a more compelling story that will appeal to both hardcore fans and more casual gamers alike.
Marvel.com: What made you choose to set this game in the Ultimate universe?
Marshall: We are big fans of the Ultimate Spider-Man universe and that influence comes through very strongly. We loved the Ultimate incarnation of the Green Goblin and found him to be a great Boss in the Ultimate Spider-Man game.
While the game is loosely set within the Ultimate Universe, we wanted to create a unique cut-scene style that combines the Ultimate storyline with a more classic portrayal of Spider-Man and the rest of the cast.
Marvel.com: You've got Spidey on one side and Green Goblin, Kingpin and Silver Sable on the other. Are there any cameos from other Ultimate Spider-Man cast members?
Marsha;; Spider-Man is not working alone in the story. Ben Urich provides him with vital clues regarding the whereabouts of the Kingpin and the Goblin. He also teaches Spider-Man a few things about modern crime within New York City. Players can also expect to see Nick Fury and the massive S.H.I.E.L.D helicarrier during the later stages of the game.
We have also introduced two new characters to the story – The Simian and The Demo Goblin. We had great fun adding these nasty creatures to the long list of enemies desperate to defeat Spider-Man.
Marvel.com: While their powers will be different, how great are the gameplay differences between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin?
Marshall: As you would expect, Spider-Man is able to crawl on any surface and swing through the air on his web-line. He is also a supreme athlete armed with rapid attacks, gravity-defying moves and superhuman agility. However, being one of the good guys means that Spider-Man must always be ready to save citizens in trouble as well as defeating hordes of enemies.
As Goblin, the player will use brute strength, classic wrestling moves and fire range attacks to defeat the hordes of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents hot on his trail. If Spider-Man is a martial artist, then Goblin is the mighty wrestler…armed with a flame thrower.
Using the Ultimate version of Goblin meant that Spider-Man and Goblin would share similar wall-climbing abilities. Additionally, both Spider-Man and Goblin have ranged weapons and four special moves linked to a meter on the HUD.
Similar characteristics such as these allowed us to streamline both the player control system and the upgrade system for both characters. We were also able to avoid many level design issues where both characters inhabit the same map.
Marvel.com: This title brings in some RPG-like elements previously unseen in portable Spider-Man games. What was the impetus for going in that direction?
Marshall: Customization is a feature that modern-day gamers have come to expect and with good reason. The ability to develop skills to suit your own unique style of play is a feature that creates a more personalized gaming experience and adds replay value.
Players will have the opportunity to upgrade both Spider-Man and Goblin's arsenal of super-moves. As the game progresses, Upgrade Points will be unlocked. Players can spend these on upgrading one of four attributes for each character.
When playing as Spider-Man, players may find that they rely heavily upon webbing foes before entering the fray. These players will have the opportunity to upgrade the number of web-shots at enemies or the duration of a web-hold.
Marvel.com: What differences will we see between the DS and GBA versions?
Marshall: The GBA and DS version of the game were developed simultaneously and are therefore quite similar, however there are a few key differences.
Being a more powerful system, the DS boasts true 3D environments. The 2D cut scenes were designed and animated specifically for dual screen presentation and the end result is sensational.
The DS version also features three different mini games designed for the touch screen. These mini games link directly to game play on the top screen. This means that however well you perform on the bottom screen will directly affect your character's situation on the top screen.
Marvel.com: Have you enlisted any Marvel writers or artists to work on this game? If so, in what context?
Marshall: The presentation of a compelling story that was true to the Spider-Man license was of vital importance to the Torus development team. We were therefore very excited about the prospect of working with Marvel writer C.B Cebulski and Marvel artist Ron Lim.
C.B Cebulski penned all of the dialogue for the cut scenes and ensured that each and every character stayed true to their origins. Ron Lim was selected from a dozen Marvel artists because of his more classic artistic portrayal of our web-slinging hero. Ron also played a major role in the design and layout of the cut scenes on the DS.