Q&A: Next Level Games on Spider-Man: Friend or Foe

Next Level Games talks co-op gameplay, how many Marvel characters will make it into Friend or Foe, and differences between the various console versions.

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Old webhead gets the Lego Star Wars treatment later this year, with Activision and Next Level Games releasing the kid-friendly Spider-Man: Friend of Foe on most platforms. Our hands-on preview takes you through some of the action you can expect in the co-op brawler, but to get more insight into the game, we spoke to game director Jason Carr and lead game designer Brandon Gill from Next Level.

GameSpot AU: Tell us about the universe behind Spider-Man: Friend or Foe. Is it based on the Sam Raimi movies?

Jason Carr: It is a new storyline. We started fresh, but we made sure throughout the game that we paid homage to the events that took place in the movies. In order for us to have some of the characters we wanted in the game we obviously couldn't go with the storylines in the movies, seeing as a lot of those characters passed away. But there are many moments in the game that parody existing scenes from the movies, but other than that, it takes place after the third movie and is loosely tied in to the ending of that.

Co-op can be played all the way through Friend or Foe.

GS AU: It seems that some of the character designs are based on the movie, while others are comic book based. Is that right?

Brandon Gill: We wanted to come up with an art style that made sense to the demographic we were going after. We wanted to make sure that the costumes were taken from Sam Raimi's designs, but interpreted in our way so it made sense to the art direction and the art style that we came up with for this game.

GS AU: So what can you say about the game's plot?

JC: I can tell you, without giving too much away, that [at the start] Spider-Man is engaged in battle with some of his classic arch-nemeses. And Green Goblin actually comes to help out because he's having a tough time fighting them all off. While they're in the middle of this battle, a new, unknown threat that looks vaguely like Venom attacks them, and Spidey is pulled away as other characters are being abducted. He ends up being saved by Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D., who asks him to help out with this new invasion of sorts that's taking place.

GS AU: A major feature of this game is cooperative gameplay throughout the whole thing, with Spidey being joined by another character that can be controlled by a friend. If you're playing alone, will these sidekick characters still be there?

JC: Yes. You always have a secondary character with you, and you're free to switch between the two characters and use the different abilities each one has.

BG: We also wanted it so that if you're playing with a friend, a brother or sister, or whatever, they can drop out at any time, and the sidekick will become AI controlled. That drop in-drop out feature was important to this type of game.

GS AU: How many Marvel characters will make an appearance in Friend or Foe?

JC: There are over 12 characters overall to play with. We have all the characters from the movies, and then we've got a couple of other ones that have never actually been playable in games before from the Marvel franchise. One of the ones that's getting positive response now is Iron Fist. He's obviously got his own comic line that's back in stores, so people are excited about the fact that you can play as Iron Fist in the game. There are several other characters as well, but we don't want to give away too much right now.

GS AU: What audience is this game aimed at?

BG: One of the mandates from Activision was that they wanted an E10 rating, that they wanted something that was an all ages thing. So we made sure that everything from the character design to gameplay appeals to that younger demographic, but we also put a lot of elements in there that the fanboys will enjoy as well. We are skewing towards the younger demographic, so it is quite different from the other Spider-Man games from that perspective for sure.

GS AU: How is this different from previous Spidey titles in terms of gameplay?

BG: It is more of an action adventure--the other Spider-man games were arguably locomotion games that really capitalised on Spidey getting around, where our Spider-Man game focuses more on the action. What we're going after here is family-friendly combat. So it's more like cartoon violence if you will, where you're bouncing characters around using a whole range of Spidey's web abilities, as well as using the unique abilities of other characters you unlock.

GS AU: Seeing as you're going for a younger demographic, how complex will the game be to control?

BG: We wanted to keep the buttons limited--it's not as if you're playing an advanced fighting game. We do use a combo system, so there's some level of depth there for juggling characters, which then adds to a combo meter, which then gives you benefits that tie back into the economy of the game such as unlocking and upgrading abilities. But accessibility was extremely important to us in this game. It is easy to jump into the game, hammer away and button mash, but once you learn the system you can start taking advantage and create new types of combat moves.

GS AU: Will Spidey be able to stick to all surfaces?

BG: You can stick to any surface, but he's not quite as mobile as in other games as it's not a locomotion game. And we also had to consider the other characters as well--so if Spidey's up crawling on a wall you don't want Sandman stuck behind. So you can stick to walls, jump off and do attacks from them, but it is a little bit more limited than what you'd see in the Spider-Man 3 movie game.

All of the movie villans will make appearance in the game.

GS AU: So once characters are unlocked, they can be played in any level, is that right?

BG: Yes, you can play them in any level you choose--we don't tell you you have to play as Sandman or Goblin in this specific level. We've also thrown in a versus fighter in there, because we have a nice roster. As it is a Spidey game, through the main story mode you'll always be playing as Spider-Man with a sidekick, but when you go into versus mode you can play as Venom versus Goblin, or whoever you want.

GS AU: Will there be any significant differences between the various console versions of the game?

JC: The Wii and the 360 will be shipping with an extra character--we don't want to give away who it is right now though. And on the Wii, we have some gesture specific moves for the characters.

GS AU: Can you give us an example?

BG: One of the functions during combat is a grab move that every character can do. To make that grab system a little deeper, there's a secondary button press that can be done after you've grabbed an enemy which will modify the grab. On the Wii, that modification is done by first grabbing an enemy and flicking the remote in a direction in order to modify a grab.

GS AU: Jason Carr and Brandon Gill, thanks for your time.

Discussion

49 comments
hooperfax006
hooperfax006

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

hooperfax006
hooperfax006

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Dualmask
Dualmask

This might be a fun one for the kids. Games like this aren't too shabby when they don't try to aspire for too much. I wonder if Black Cat is playable...

uk_beny
uk_beny

whats with sucky graffics its a 360 game its meant to look nice for god sake

DeadManRollin
DeadManRollin

If the gameplay is similar to Marvel Ultimate Alliance, it shouldn't be bad.

vpp360
vpp360

i dont know why but i dont really care

Superlemons
Superlemons

This looks pretty promising... unlike the one i played on PS2. It was full of glitches and was extremely boring.

Alex1914
Alex1914

This game looks really good on all systems. Will there be co-op play with friends on the Nintendo DS?

Mikey_PJ
Mikey_PJ

Oh boy not another spiderman game, hopefully for them its not another disaster

soninlaw
soninlaw

Seeing all the past Spidey games, as a fan of Spidey, I am very sceptic about this upcoming game. First of all the storyline. Again they want to bring out a Spiderman game with another story then the real original one from the previous comics back in the days. - The last couple of years they are changing his whole story, like Venom and the blue suit (original this was found by Spidey in the Secret Wars, you know what I'm talking about if you're a true Spidey fan), assumed by the movies Mary Jane being his first great love, that's truly a lie, because we know that this was Gwen Stacy, and some other stuff that doesn't match the real story. I do not understand why they had to change all this. - Very disappointed to hear they still haven't adjusted this issue.

jjdomo
jjdomo

usually the "versus" modes on games like his really suck. it sounds like this one is being tacked on as an afterthought . . .

jeff003
jeff003

Two things that make this game worth buying is the verses mode which allows you to play as any character be it Black Cat,Lizard,Venom etc and fight other villins or heros example black cat vs spiderman.The other reason is it lets you fight in other places other the New York like Japan.I just wish it was coming out on the ps3.

nappan
nappan

While it's certainly not visually arresting, if the gameplay is solid this could be a winner. That said, it's one to wait for a few sites to review before even thinking of a buy... a lot could go wrong here.

ratchetcooper1
ratchetcooper1

the only reason its a must have because its a marvel production that doesnt mean its not cool but its not really that mandatory.

HIM-Jimmy-AvA
HIM-Jimmy-AvA

i hope its decent, but ill wait for the review WOO co-op

DarkspineSonic0
DarkspineSonic0

i hope this'll make up 4 spiderman 3 i mean come on! is that even a game. yea it is a good game so maybe it's putting back together the pieces of when spiderman2 was played. probably that. and i hope you can playas carnage. that would be cool.

death1505921
death1505921

"It looks good I just hope that you can beat up gang thugs and Play as Carnage. I wonder if Scorpion/Rhino is going to be the extra character for the 360. I also wonder who is going to be the first sidekick at the beginning of the game." It says in the interview, green gobby at first. I think it could be either really good, or crap. I hope it's good though, since it looks pretty cool. I'll definatly be readying the reviews though. I don't want a 5 mintute POS that I can simply press 3 buttons and the final boss is dead.

Osirex2
Osirex2

when i read this interview i got the feeling that its going to be an easy game. if marvel does not convince me that there will be different difficulties like very hard or super hero then this game is just another spider man game with a slight twist...

BCstyle
BCstyle

I guess if it's gonna be all kiddy friendly it's unlikely that The Punisher will make an appearance :(

BARC_Trooper
BARC_Trooper

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

092093
092093

Hmmm, after reading that I don't know what to think. He basically said it's made very easy and modeled after the movie for the littler kids, but it's not like I haven't loved games like that before.....it's just that that was when I was 4 playing a SNES. I justwon't get it until I see some decent reviews, I guess. joshsta7 - 'This looks really cool! It could be awesome, or really bad, that's the problem.' That's kinda what I was thinking.

BARC_Trooper
BARC_Trooper

It looks good I just hope that you can beat up gang thugs and Play as Carnage. I wonder if Scorpion/Rhino is going to be the extra character for the 360. I also wonder who is going to be the first sidekick at the beginning of the game.

The5biggies
The5biggies

this looks fun to me! I wanna chuck some pumpkin bombs at doc ock >.

volpexpress
volpexpress

this game looks good...espeacially the co-op tht will always be fun.

CrashMocella
CrashMocella

I agree with joshtha7 this will be really good or really bad. ditto for crash of the titans

roryk666
roryk666

is this the return of the 90's beat-em up? reminds me of seperation anxiety on megadrive/snes. and maximum carnage

gashoe13
gashoe13

That looks great! can't wait.

Mario21488
Mario21488

Interest!!! I wonder how gamespot will score it?

playstation_wii
playstation_wii

Looks interesting how you can play as the viilains! :D

amareen18
amareen18

i am a huge spiderman fan?and i thought sm 3 was pretty good.anyway ill buy this game looks awesome

DarthMatoro
DarthMatoro

I don't think it's on the PS3 cause it's animated. Anyways, I own a Wii, so I can't wait for this game to come out.

ice05052005
ice05052005

Well, i thought that the SM 3 game was pretty good. . . .HA! on the 360!!!

akafiddy
akafiddy

Hell ya, this is gonna be nice! Playing as all the movie villians.. Plus Rino and Scorpion! Arcade is the best too. Thats where gameing came from. So I have much respect for this game already. I cant wait. I would love to play as Sandman and throw some sand in Doc Ocks eyes lol. and Venom too. All of them! haha

ihs21596
ihs21596

It does sound better than SM 3! I'd hire it out first, try it, and then if I'm satisfied, Buy it. I'd love to play as venom and Dr. Oct!

Nintendo_Man
Nintendo_Man

It will be much better than the poor Spiderman 3.

darkPSPfan
darkPSPfan

wow looks cool. id love to play as Venom most :)

joshsta7
joshsta7

This looks really cool! :) It could be awesome, or really bad, that's the problem.

ice05052005
ice05052005

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

ice05052005
ice05052005

Huge Spider-man fan! Looks and sounds AWESOME!!!! *first time being the first. . . .SWEET!!!!*