By Marvel.com Editor Ryan Penagos
This September, gamers everywhere will experience a whole new dimension of fun when they step into the shoes of four different versions of Spider-Man in "Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions."
Set across four different--and very distinct--universes, "Shattered Dimensions" tasks gamers with finding the scattered shards of the Tablet of Order and Chaos. Along the way, you'll utilize the unique powers and abilities of each version Spider-Man to battle dimension-specific foes. We've unveiled the Amazing Spider-Man and Noir dimensions, with the final two to be revealed at a later date.
|A screenshot from "Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions"|
Marvel.com: The development team at Beenox is quite familiar with Marvel games, with "Shattered Dimensions" being your eighth title. Can you go into your history working on Marvel games--how the relationship began and what titles you've worked on?
Stephane Gravel: While Beenox has worked on Marvel games in the past, we collaborated closely with other Activision studios on the development process of titles such as "Spider-Man: Friend or Foe," "Spider-Man 3," "Ultimate Spider-Man," "Marvel: Ultimate Alliance," "X-Men Legends II" and "Fantastic Four." That being said, it's also important to mention that "Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions" is really the first title in which Beenox is the only console developer on it and the first title Beenox has really worked closely on with Marvel. So far, the relationship has been extremely positive and collaborative, with both sides bringing cool, unique and fresh ideas to the table while respecting the essence of the beloved characters, making the game an awesome experience.
Marvel.com: It's been a few years since you tackled Spider-Man or any Marvel characters. What new tricks, techniques and knowledge do you bring to the table to for this new, ambitious game?
Stephane Gravel: In terms of technology, "SM: SD" is the first Marvel title solely developed by Beenox, and that allows us to let our proprietary engine shine. We have access to almost every graphical shader out there and our rendering engine is pretty robust in order to get four unique looks for the universes. We also have a lot of cool features under the hood that bring parts of the game--like the physics and animations--to a whole new level in order to make Spidey look and play really well. We use all of this to create rich and unique locations, as well as really cool-looking animated characters that you can fight up close and personally.
|A screenshot of Spider-Man Noir from "Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions"|
Marvel.com: The two dimensions revealed so far take Spider-Man in different directions in tems of story, visuals and gameplay. Can you explain the style and gameplay aspects you've developed for each?
Stephane Gravel: For the art style of the Amazing universe, we wanted to give the levels a vintage comic book look. To achieve this, we used a slightly de-saturated color palette for the textures and applied a hand-drawn/pen & ink treatment on them. We also added a thin black outline to the characters, objects and the environment that gives the art style its comic book quality. Finally, we complement the amazing visuals with a light full screen grain effect to bring it closer to the classic comic book paper look
As for Noir, the art style called for a darker, grittier theme. We looked at Noir comics as well as classic film noir movies for inspiration for the color palette. Compared to the Amazing universe, the textures in Noir have a more realistic quality to them. Additionally, since stealth is a core component of the Noir experience, the contrast between light and dark areas needed to be dramatic, and shadows needed to play a big part of the each level. To achieve this dramatic contrast, we gave the light sources in the world a slight yellow hue. For this universe, we also applied a subtle film grain effect as a finishing touch to the Noir mood.
|A screenshot of Amazing Spider-Man from "Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions"|
Marvel.com: Do Beenox staffers favor playing through one dimension over the other?
Stephane Gravel: The development team is roughly divided into 5 squads: Amazing, Noir, [Undisclosed universe # 1], [Undisclosed universe # 2] and Core; that last team handles stuff that is shared by all universes such as enemy AI, combat, web swinging, etc.
So basically, the Noir team will prefer playing their levels while the Amazing team will prefer theirs. As for me, since I'm overseeing all worlds on a global scale, I'm simply unable to choose a favorite; it's like asking a parent to choose which child is their favorite...you love them all, and it's a heartbreaking choice to make.
Keep your eyes glued to Marvel.com and www.SpiderManDimensions.com for MUCH more about "Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions" over the next few months.
To find a comic shop near you, call 1-888-comicbook or visit www.comicshoplocator.com
Not a subscriber to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited yet? Join now!
Download episodes of "X-Men: Evolution", "Wolverine and the X-Men", "Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes" and "The Super Hero Squad Show" now on iTunes!
Check out the official Marvel Shop for your favorite Marvel Heroes!