Beenox's creative director gives us the low-down on the Wii version of Shattered Dimensions.
The Wii version of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions hasn't gotten much talk since the game's announcement. While the excitement of the dimension reveals has been fun, the content of the Wii game has been largely up in the air.
After talking to Thomas Wilson, creative director at developer Beenox, a lot of those questions got cleared up. Get ready for Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, coming to Wii on September 7.
Nintendo World Report (NWR): What differences are there between the Wii version and the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions? If they're very similar, what challenges arose when making a Wii version?
Thomas Wilson (TW): There are practically no differences between the Wii version and the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions. Beenox is a parallel multiplatform development studio and we have always prided ourselves at providing an equivalent quality experience on all platforms. We mainly faced three challenges when developing the Wii version: controls, rendering, and memory. Delivering the same unique art style for each dimension on a platform that has different graphical requirements was probably our biggest challenge. I would say the end result is not strikingly different than on the Xbox 360 or the PlayStation 3. Memory comes in second since we had to fit all the content in without losing too much of the experience. Last but not least, adapting the controls to the Wii proved to be a challenge, since we used pretty much every button on the regular controller. We spent a great deal of time working out multiple control schemes until we felt we had the most responsive and intuitive one.
NWR: How are the four different universes different? Do they offer different control styles, gameplay styles, etc.?
TW: First of all, the same control scheme is shared by ALL Spider-Men. We thought it was essential to the experience to maintain a unified control scheme throughout the game. That being said, each universe is different in many ways starting with the art direction. The world of Amazing Spider-Man is a tribute to vintage comic books, whereas the world of Ultimate Spider-Man is a tribute to contemporary comic books. The world of Spider-Man Noir is a blend between film noir and dark comics, and the world of Spider-Man 2099 is a very sleek, futuristic rendering of New York City. Although each Spider-Man shares a core set of moves, each have a unique fighting style. Amazing Spider-Man uses his webs to form giant weapons such as hammers, maces, and fists. Ultimate Spider-Man uses the power of the black suit to unleash symbiotic tendrils on his enemies. Spider-Man Noir uses stealth to take down is enemies one by one, and Spider-Man 2099 claws his way through with a unique, acrobatic Capoeira-inspired fighting style.
NWR: I heard that the Wii version will not use motion controls for swinging. Why was this decision made? Are there any motion or pointer controls used in the game?
TW: The reason is simple: it just does not work. Considering the amount of time you need to web-swing in the game, your arm would simply grow tired after a few minutes of gameplay. It is something we established very early on after we spent some time with the Wii versions of previous Spider-Man games. We do have some cool motion controls in the game such as when you get to fight some of the bosses in first person and punch them in the face a la Punch Out, or when you need to pull a door from its hinges by using the pointer and targeting the weak points with your web.
NWR: In working with the story, did you have any say in it, or was it all comic book writer Dan Slott's work? Are there any things that can't be done to Spider-Man in video games?
TW: The making of the story was a collaborative effort between Beenox, Activision, and Dan Slott. Dan Slott fleshed out the details of the story very early on once we informed him we wanted to make a game that involved playing multiple versions of Spider-Man. We then provided all the necessary content during production (level design and locations, boss encounters, scripted events, etc.) to Dan and Activision so he could write the script. We were lucky enough to be involved in the script approval process all the way to the end of the project.
NWR: Which dimension was the most fun to make? Most challenging?
TW: This will sound corny, but the answer is all of them. Each dimension and location proved to have its unique challenges, both from a visual and gameplay point of view. Working on all four dimensions at the same time is actually what made working on this title so much fun. Although I will say that incorporating stealth into a Spider-Man game was pretty cool feature to develop!
NWR: If you could take one dimension and make a full game out of it, what would it be and why?
TW: If I had my say, Noir or 2099 could make an excellent game. After all, they are brand new and they both have unique appealing aspects and a rich world to explore.
NWR: How did you arrive at the four dimensions? Did they change at any point in development?
TW: We simply looked at the comics and picked the ones we thought were the coolest! We also wanted each dimension to be significantly different from each other from a gameplay and a visual perspective. As a matter of fact, we never changed our mind in any point in development. Once the dimensions were settled, we never looked back.
NWR: What lessons were learned during development?
TW: I will say this: make a game that stays true to the DNA of such an iconic character as Spider-Man and the fans will thank you for it.