There have been many Spider-Man video games through the years, but as technology and consoles have improved, so has Spidey. Activision’s new Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions game (out now on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii and Nintendo DS) actually offers gameplay with four different Spider-Men — from pulp-era Noir to modern-day Spider-Man to the Ultimate version to the futuristic Spider-Man 2099 — spanning four completely different worlds. The game features a number of voice actors from Spider-Man cartoons past, including Neil Patrick Harris, as well as a number of Spidey’s greatest and nastiest villains, such as the Vulture, Sandman, Electro, Mysterio, Kraven the Hunter and Doctor Octopus. It was also written by a proven Spidey pro, comic book writer Dan Slott, who takes over full-time writing duties on the Amazing Spider-Man comic come November. “I could be lifting heavy boxes for a living. I get to write Spider-Man. It’s pretty awesome,” Slott says. Read below for Slott’s take on the game, and check out this game trailer featuring the four Spider-Man and his foes.
Art courtesy of Activision
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How different is writing a Spider-Man video game than writing a Spider-Man comic?
With Spidey, if it’s my story, I get to come up with the germ of the idea. And here was something where the basic concept of it, they already had hit it. When they brought me up to Quebec City to show me their progress, I was like, “Wow, look at this!” When I heard it, I was like, “They’re going to do four different Spider-Man worlds, four different styles of gameplay, four different levels of art direction? No, they’re not biting off more than they can chew at all…” Throughout the whole process, part of the fun for me has been watching how it all has been coming together and how they’re going to pull this off. It was all very cool.
Since it wasn’t originally your germ, what complications did you find?
For me, it became a task of how do I string this all together, how do I tell a narrative, how do I tell a story. In Shattered Dimensions, you get 12 different villains – you get three villains a world and it’s four worlds – so each time you go to a new world, you’re getting a new story. It’s almost like getting 12 mini-stories. So one of the things I wanted to do was make sure if I was going to err any way in telling the stories, it was to err on the side of clarity. There’s at least 12 hours of gameplay in this, but we all know, there’s hardcore gamers who will sit down and do the whole thing straight. And there are guys who might do it in two big chunks of time, or people who do a little bit every night when they come home from work.
You’ve written a lot of the recent regular Marvel Universe Spidey comics. Did you find it fun to write the Noir, 2099 and Ultimate versions?
One of the things you’ll find out about every comic book writer is that every comic book writer is a comic book fan made good. No one falls into becoming a comic book writer – it’s not like you walk by and they say, “Hey you, how would you like to write comics?” Every single person in this industry has fought and clawed to get in there because we all love comics. That said, I’d read all this stuff: The Spidey 2099 books when Peter David was doing them, and I’ve been following Brian Michael Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man from day one. And Spider-Man Noir was coming out while we were working on this game, and I was already reading that before I’d gotten the assignment. Some jobs you go, “Wow, I have to do all this research.” Dude, I did all that research already for fun!
You were on the Shattered Dimensions panel at Comic-Con alongside Spidey creator Stan Lee. How was that?
I got to sit next to Stan and joke with him. I’m like, “Oh my God, is this happening?” A lot of this whole experience working on Shattered Dimensions has been like that. You’ll write up a sequence like the opening cinematic, and then it comes back in this gorgeous CGI. Like, “Look at that! Spider-Man kicking Mysterio in the head. I wrote that. And he’s doing it. And it looks gorgeous.” It’s all wonderful.