• Edge of Time seems to be inspired by the story arc “Timestorm 2009/2099”, that was published two years ago. What attracted you in this story?
o We were inspired not so much by the story but rather by the concept. It was very interesting to take Spider-Man out from his classic Manhattan adventure. Having him go through an adventure in a more sci-fi setting was refreshing and gave us many story possibilities. While it really didn’t have any connection with the Timestorm story arc, I have to admit the comic was on my desk.
• How did Peter David come on board? How did the collaboration blossom? Can you share any anecdotes about your work with this prolific writer?
o Peter came in pretty early, as we wanted the story set from the get-go. I was very excited to work with him. He came up to Beenox studios, and we spent an entire week creating the entire story. The concept was strong from day one, which gave us a strong foundation to start with, and having a working, compelling story in one week is quite a challenge! However, it seems that’s the everyday life for a comic book writer. We had our producer from Activision, Kevin Umbricht, constantly on the phone with Marvel to make sure our crazy ideas were approved. At one time, Peter David dropped one of the most twisted concepts involving Peter Parker and time travel. I won’t spoil anything, but we were not sure if Marvel wanted to go THAT far with their Super Hero. In the end, Marvel loved the idea, and we had our third story act.
• Anti-Venom was introduced in “New Ways to Die” only three years ago. How did you come to cast him as one of the main villains of the game?
o I like him a lot! I’m a big fan of New Ways to Die and New Ways to Live, and I wanted him right from the start in the game. However, you can’t force a character if it doesn’t fit in the story you want to tell. I was aware of this, but in the back of my mind, if I was going to see one small opportunity to use him I was going to push for it. He finally got the first place and fit perfectly with the story we wanted to tell.
• The story and characters are clearly driving this game, and A LOT seems to have been kept under wraps. Was that intentional?
o Of course! We have many story twists and revelations. We had an episodic TV structure with reversal and cliffhanger situations. And we had a new villain created by us, something familiar but never seen before. One big difference from Shattered Dimensions is that we intensively used narrative techniques to trick the player in the story so we could give him a good pay off on a regular basis.
• Since Spider-Man is such a wisecrack (especially Peter Parker), are there any funny lines that were cut from the script that you would like to share?
o I was so excited every time I got a final script from Peter David just to read those wise cracks. Peter is a phenomenal creative machine, and it seems he has an infinite resource to pull from. But at one point, we had to turn it down a little bit because we realized we were veering away from the seriousness of the story. Here is an example of the dialogue:
ASM: Those mutant tentacles are getting way too close!
SM99: Don’t worry; it’s almost over.
ASM: It’d better be! Usually I don’t let anyone get this grabby unless I get dinner and a movie first!
• It was said that Marvel 2099 occurs on the parallel world of Earth-928, which isn’t the future version of Earth-616. How did you get around that?
o That was Peter David’s first concern, and he fixed it right up! It goes like this: Walker Sloan, the evil Alchamax scientist, creates a portal to travel back in time in Peter Parker’s DIMENSION. So it’s not just that he goes back in a different time period, but a different dimension. BUT, by doing so, the portal creates a link between 928 and 616 called ‘’quantum causality’’.
• What differentiates Peter Parker (The Amazing Spider-Man) from Miguel O’Hara (Spider-Man 2099) in Edge of Time? How do they evolve?
o They start off not being that friendly to each other. Let’s just say that we force them to work together. They have this relationship that we were always bringing back in the recording studio which is parent-teenager, Miguel being the parent and Peter being the teenager. And of course this relationship evolves to a point where they become partners. What is interesting are the events that create this partnership, which you’ll have to discover in the game.
Our next piece of HeroHQ-exclusive bonus content is here! Can you name this suit’s origin issue without peaking?
Another Side of Spider-Man
In an alternate dimension, fate has led Spider-Man to begin killing the criminals he confronts in Russia alongside Wolverine. Peter Parker’s heart has grown nearly as cold as the weather surrounding him. “I’m doing more good now than ever before,” he justified his actions via a letter to Mary Jane Watson. “I’m keeping the world safe.” The Peter of this reality would never see things in such a way. Would he?
FIRST APPEARANCE: WHAT IF? SPIDER-MAN VERSUS WOLVERINE (2008)
To access this suit in Spider-Man: Edge of Time for Xbox 360 or Playstation 3, navigate to the Code Unlock section on the main menu and enter the following text:
• Neil Patrick Harris won the Best Male Human Performance at the Spike TV Video Game Awards for his work in Shattered Dimensions. How do you top that?
NPH did an amazing job in Shattered Dimensions, injecting the script with his signature dry wit. Edge of Time goes in a different direction - we’re presenting a more serious tone. There will be humor and snappy Spider-Man lines throughout, but it’s not a direct sequel at all. You have to prevent the death of Amazing Spider-Man!
• We have seen recording sessions with Josh Keaton alongside Christopher Daniel Barnes. Was that important to record both actors together?
Juggling multiple people’s schedules can be challenging, but we were lucky enough to be able to make that happen. The story and gameplay between Amazing and 2099 is much more intimate this time. Having the actors together in the studio to really react off of each other really fed that intimacy.
• In terms of sound, what are the new features and differences in Edge of Time compared to Shattered Dimensions?
In line with the story and gameplay, we really concentrated on the communication between the two versions of Spider-Man. We visually present that through picture-in-picture (PIP), but it also happens without PIP. The audio signature had to convey this temporal/dimensional feeling, which is used every time they talk to each other regardless if we are seeing them through PIP or not.
• Spider-Man talks all the time, it is within his nature. How do you manage hundreds and hundreds of voice over work? How do you avoid pitfalls?
The devil is in the details. We knew what we were in for in terms of amount of dialogue for EoT so we took the time to plan and create systems that could handle our designs. Measure twice, cut once!
• Gerard Marino composed the music of Edge of Time. How would you describe his work? How important was the sound track?
Gerard Marino is incredible. The score really needed to convey the various intensities and emotions in a dynamic way. He was able to take our concepts and build on them. It was a real treat to collaborate with him.
• What pieces of technology wouldn’t you be without when creating game audio? What kind of advice do you have for aspiring sound designers?
Beyond the usual DAW/sound creation suites available, I can’t live without an environment to prototype interactive audio. Conceptually being able to create audio systems and iterate on them is key. Functionally, this could be anything from Wwise, FMOD or UDK, to Reaktor, MaxMSP or Kyma. Understanding how sound serves the story, character development, environment, game mode, etc. is the first step in bringing a game to life. The Indie game scene has been burgeoning for a while now. If you’re really passionate about game audio you’ve got to network. Go to conferences, join forums, get involved!
• Tell us a bit about your time at Beenox. What are some highlights and things that excite you about the team?
I came to Beenox because of Spider-Man. I enjoyed what they did with Shattered Dimensions and was excited to see where else we could take the character and franchise. I’ve worked on a few franchises in the past, and it really feels like we have something special with Marvel, creatively. The team is great - there are so many shining stars here. The Beenox Audio team has some of the brightest people I’ve worked with.
Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoy the game and I look forward to seeing audio comments in the forums!
Pierre-Alexandre Garneau – Lead Game Designer – Wii/3DS
• The 3DS version is a straight port of the original game instead of a different game, which is uncommon for portable games. How was that possible?
The whole team collaborated to find tricks and techniques to fit the whole epic game experience into something that fits in your pocket. Beenox’s technology is very powerful and adaptable. It was built from the ground up to support many consoles and flexible enough to be adapted to new systems as they come out. Since the 3DS is a pretty capable handheld, we were able to adapt most of the game’s features through a lot of hard work.
• Since you have previously worked on DS games, how different is the 3DS from a design standpoint? What can you do now you couldn’t before?
The 3DS is a much more powerful system than the DS. It has more memory, more processing power, more space on the cartridge, etc. These technical differences allow for a lot more freedom when developing the game: you can show more enemies on the screen, you can have much bigger environments, and so on. Since this is Spider-Man’s debut on the 3DS, we were very excited to flex our creative muscle for this game.
• Since Spider-Man does whatever a spider can, how did you approach the 3DS controls? What challenges did you face?
Adapting the controls was a challenge, if only because the 3DS has fewer buttons than the Xbox 360 and the PS3. The touch screen was helpful; a few actions can be triggered by touching icons. Actions that require quick reflexes are mapped to the console’s physical buttons for the best responsiveness, but things like activating your spider sense to locate your next objective is done by touching an icon.The camera was also a challenge, since the 3DS doesn’t have a second analog stick. We worked very hard at making sure it shows what you want to see without needing to adjust it manually. Some changes we made actually ended up in the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions since they improved the game for everyone. Of course, you can still control the camera manually with the d-pad if you want.
• How is the 3D effect integrated in the game? Are there particular sequences or game mechanics that benefits from it?
We finely tuned the parameters of Edge of Time to make 3D as enjoyable as possible and to limit the discomfort some people feel with the feature. My hope is that most players will play the entire game with 3D enabled. Some scenes are really improved with the added feeling of depth. The freefall sections with Spider-Man 2099 are spectacular, with obstacles speeding past you in 3D. Some environments also feel a lot bigger when you can see them expand beyond the screen.
• Being a portable platform, gaming sessions are more enjoyable at smaller doses on the 3DS. Does Edge of Time fit this need?
Beenox’s goal with this project was to bring the entire epic console experience to your handheld. It’s hard to be epic in short bursts, but we realize that you’re more likely to be interrupted when on the go. The game does save automatically very regularly, and of course you can put the console to sleep at any time without losing your progress. So you can certainly play in smaller doses.
• Did you use the same navigation system in Edge of Time than in Shattered Dimensions? Did you tweak in any way web-swing and crawling controls?
o Since Edge of Time takes place in the Alchemax headquarters, every location has a ceiling - even the biggest environments! - meaning that we can crawl pretty much everywhere. Our crawling system was updated to work better under these conditions. The controls and camera are behaving differently than Shattered Dimensions when we crawl on walls and ceilings now. We do know it’s hard to please everyone, but I can say for those who were fond of the first PS1 Spider-Man game, that we did consider a similar crawling system early on (making the hero and the ceiling partially invisible when crawling on a ceiling), but it wasn’t a viable solution for level design. Web-Swing was also tweaked so it could work much better in indoor environments. For example, now it’s easier to pass above or under an obstacle, such as a catwalk. Freefall didn’t change too much either, but our level designers did came up with new ways to surprise players.
• The Hyper-Sense and Accelerated Decoy are two unique abilities used by each Spider-Man. How did you come up with these game mechanics?
o In Shattered Dimensions, the evade stance allowed Spider-Man to avoid incoming attacks. It looked really great, but only worked when he wasn’t moving. Since Spider-Man’s agility and reflexes are far superior to those of an ordinary human, we wanted him to evade attacks dynamically as well. That’s how the Hyper-Sense came to fruition. Initially, it allowed the Amazing Spider-Man to avoid any attack on the floor, while crawling and web-swinging, but it evolved into an ability to avoid obstacles as well, such as lasers. It also helps to understand that Peter is always in a rush and has to fight against time constraints. In opposition, Miguel needs to survive and he’s always under pressure from his enemies. With that in mind, the Accelerated Vision from Shattered Dimension evolved into an Accelerated Decoy, that allow Spider-Man 2099 to confuse his foes, as well as any homing device, such as missiles. It adds a layer of strategy to combat and allows the player to control mobs efficiently.
• What can you tell us about the different combat mechanics? How is the combat different from Shattered Dimensions? How each Spider-Man is different?
o Combat has evolved throughout production. It’s still a fast-paced system that is accessible, but there is more depth to it. I hope players will experiment with it. There are specific moves for each Spider-Man that differentiates their combat style, besides the main abilities. For example, the Amazing Spider-Man can perform classic web strikes, which allows him to quickly reach lonely enemies far away and dispose of them. In contrast, Spider-Man 2099 can perform decoy strikes, my personal favorite, which allows him to send a decoy forward to bring any enemy into close range and beat him to a pulp. This ability can be upgraded to send up to three decoys forward, which is a great way to perform combos! We’ve also added a stamina meter that increases with every foe defeated to enter Overdrive Mode. It can be used to unleash Special Attacks. Each hero has three unique special attacks. My favorite has to be the Spinning Uppercut from the Amazing Spider-Man that sends multiple foes flying, even massive ones. One last thing, both versions of Spider-Man can now web-shoot enemies with ease, that’s why this action can now be executed with one of the main buttons instead of a secondary button. If you upgrade this ability, they will be able to incapacitate every single enemy, or stick small enemies to walls as part of a finishing move.
• Shattered Dimensions featured classic villains. Edge of Time seems to be much more personal. How does it translate into boss fights?
o True, there are fewer boss fights, but they are more meaningful. For example, early in the game, you will find out that one of the villains is overpowering the Amazing Spider-Man, which seems impossible. We will let you fight him anyway since Peter is courageous. That’s not all – we will let you fight him again with Spider-Man 2099, which will be a different experience. We haven’t talked much about bosses since they are spoiler heavy, so I hope you will understand. All I can say is that I’m proud that we managed to squeeze in a dual boss fight.
• Anti-Venom is one of the main villains of the game. How did you approach the design of this boss? Are there multiple encounters with him?
o Since this character was introduced less than three years ago, we didn’t have much of a reference about him (only two story arcs). We did know that his mere presence could be threatening to Peter, which was interesting to explore. To please the fans and Marvel as well, we respected the source material. We extracted every single aspect of this character that shares similarities with other symbiotes. In “New Ways to Die” and “New Ways to Live”, we see him fight with massive fists, form tendrils to grab the Amazing Spider-Man, charge and ram foes, project symbiote, regenerates, etc. All these behaviors are in our game. Since it wasn’t clear if his symbiote was sentient, we didn’t give it too much life. I’m happy with the model our character artists created (both the skinny and the massive one) and how we were able to integrate him in the storyline. You will fight him twice, but beyond that, he plays a bigger role as you will see.
• Since you have played Edge of Time multiple times, do you have favorite moments in the game without spoiling too much?
o I really enjoy the beginning of our game. From the main menu, you can press start and immediately begin the game. The transition is smooth, without loadings, and this cold opening is shocking as you face off Anti-Venom immediately. Afterwards, you infiltrate Alchemax as Spider-Man 2099 in an amazing crawling sequence with a fully animated camera, as the credits appear. I also enjoyed wandering in the Hydroponic Jungle, a massive environment filled with fun challenges and a difficult boss fight. The audio is also quite solid in this game; I really enjoyed the voice work of Josh Keaton and Christopher Daniel Barnes. Now that I remember, I played the whole game with synthesized voices for a long time (the Microsoft Windows default speech synthesizer voice if I’m not mistaken), and I gladly welcomed professional voice over when they were done with the recording sessions!
• Are there extra challenges available for Edge of Time, as well as cool unlockables? What can you tell us about these?
o The challenge system is a little bit different this time. If you play on the easiest level of difficulty, we won’t challenge you to complete these. However, if you play on the normal difficulty level, we will inform you every time a challenge is available and can be completed in the flow of the game. If you want to learn more about it and show up a progression tracker, you just need to press a button. There are two types of challenges (navigation or combat related) and three sub-types of challenges that test your strength, dexterity, or executional stylishness. For example, you will need to grab X orb fragments within Y seconds, or beat up X enemies without being hit more than Y times. If you fail a challenge or don’t earn the medal you are shooting for, you can access the Web of Challenge at any time and try out any unlocked challenges as you wish. If you earn silver medals for every single challenge of chapter, you will be rewarded, sometimes with a key that will allow you to unlock any costume you wish. There are tons of costumes in the game, especially if you played Shattered Dimensions, since a dozen of them are unlocked from the start if you played the game. In Edge of Time, my personal favorites are the Big Time and Future Foundation costumes.
Our second piece of bonus content is here, and it’s a dark one.
There comes a time in every Spider-Man’s life when he must embrace his “inner spider.” But WHAT IF the détente reached between man and arachnid were not to end there? What if the man known as Miguel O’Hara were to become completely consumed by his inner, bestial impulses, and became more spider than man? Uatu the Watcher has seen this fate befall the Peter Parker of another dimension. Now, it is Miguel’s turn…
FIRST APPEARANCE: WHAT IF? SPIDER-MAN: THE OTHER (2006)
To access this suit in your Xbox 360 or PS3 copy of Spider-Man: Edge of Time, navigate to the Code Unlock section on the main menu and enter the following text:
Think you’ve unlocked every suit in Spider-Man: Edge of Time? Think again! This is just the first piece of bonus content we’ll be rolling out over the next few weeks.
THE LAST SPIDER-MAN SUIT?
“I’m looking at me, older. Much older. And somehow I know that this is the end. This is my last stand.”
When a battle between Doctor Strange and Dormammu disrupted the space/time continuum, Peter Parker saw his final day on Earth. But does this suit he wore there represent his true destiny in this reality?
FIRST APPEARANCE: THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #58/#499 (2003)
To access this suit in your game, navigate to the Code Unlock section on the main menu and enter the following text: