Spider-Man 2: Enter Electro Q&A
We chat with Activision's TQ Jefferson about the upcoming Spider-Man installment.
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Last year's Spider-Man game probably made all of the comic-influenced titles slated for release in the near future possible. Arguably the first superhero game to truly get it right, its success--in both financial and creative respects--has doubtlessly inspired teams worldwide to try their hands at recreating the spandex fantasy.
Vicarious Visions definitely has a head start, though: The studio is developing the PlayStation sequel to Spider-Man, and it has all the assets and technology from last year's hit at its disposal. However easy it would be to say that success was assured, we wanted to get some information directly from the source. How was the game's model changed, if at all, for this sequel? Any amount of graphical sprucing up? What about new abilities for the webhead? Activision's producer on the game TQ Jefferson was gracious enough to answer our questions, so read on. Also, we bring you the first look at Hammer Head--one of the game's starring bad guys.
GameSpot: What can you tell us about the game's story? What characters can we expect to see? Any cameos?
TQ Jefferson: Well I can't say much really, just the generics: Villain (Electro) devises nefarious scheme for world domination. He is then joined by other supervillains and like-minded individuals with a penchant for chaos and destruction. Enter our hero (Spider-Man) who stumbles upon said nefarious scheme, hopefully in time to stop it. It is now a race against time to discover the true plot and defeat the bad guys before their plans come to fruition. How's that for vague?
Expect to see Electro, Sandman, Shocker and others this time around. Anyone that wasn't put in jail at the end of Spidey 1 could potentially show up. There will also be cameos in the game; however, not all of them are made by good guys...
GS: How will the game's narrative be conveyed? Through a mixture of sequential art and FMV, as in the first?
TJ: Yes, the story will be told primarily via FMV. We will have a number of in-game cutscenes as well. The cherry on top though is Stan Lee's return as our game's narrator. He will introduce each episode of the game, relay information, and set the tone for Spidey's latest adventure.
GS: What have you guys done to Spidey, this time around? Any new powers or abilities (for example, new webbing, combos, and so on)?
TJ: Spidey has a host of new animations for his punch-and-kick combos--moves that really fit his unusual fighting style. We've also given him taser and ice webbing, which shock/disable and freeze/disable opponents. We also have air-to-ground attacks, which allow Spidey to fire impact webbing while in midswing or while jumping.
GS: Has the level design changed any from the first game? Any new types of areas we can expect to explore?
TJ: Well since we have a different team designing levels this time around, expect to see a different creative bend to the scenery. All of the areas in the game are new, but the standouts are areas like the street level missions, which we didn't have in the first Spider-Man, or the Train Yards. Our Training level went through a total revamp as well. There are now more types of training levels concentrating on teaching the player everything that Spider-Man is capable of in the game.
GS: Will there be many hidden collectibles throughout the game? For example, costumes, comics, and so on?
TJ: Expect to pick up goodies throughout the game. There are the usual comics and costumes and a few extra gallery items as well.
GS: Are you guys using a straight version of Neversoft's engine, or have you tweaked it in any way?
TJ: We have had to make some modifications to the engine. Shoring it up in places if you will...
GS: Anything new about the sequel's graphical production?
TJ: The amount of time we had to complete the project prohibited that sort of large-scale tweaking. We do, however, have graphical goodies that never made it into the first because of story, time, etc.
GS: The last game, however packed the experience, was rather short. Will this installment be a bit longer?
TJ: We designed the game with this very thing in mind. Our goal has always been roughly twice the amount of gameplay and time in the sequel. We've achieved this by giving Spidey secondary and even tertiary mission objectives per level. This creates more action, more exploration, and more gameplay.
GS: The last game's camera was remarkably functional, but it did often react in ways that weren't conducive to successful gameplay. Have any steps been taken to polish it up in the sequel, at all?
TJ: We've been tweaking the camera on a per-level basis to give every mission the right feel and most comfortable gameplay.
GS: Is there any chance of this game seeing ports to other platforms?
TJ: There are no plans for a port as of yet.
GS: Thank you much!