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Staying creative when your only job is making  Spider-Man  games
Staying creative when your only job is making Spider-Man games Exclusive
March 20, 2012 | By Tom Curtis

March 20, 2012 | By Tom Curtis
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    4 comments
More: Console/PC, Exclusive, Design



Beenox is in an interesting position as a game studio. As Activision's official Spider-Man house, the company spends most of its time making games about a certain web-slinging superhero. With such adherence to a single IP, how does the studio keep things fresh with each subsequent release?

Gamasutra spoke with Beenox studio head Dee Brown at the 2012 Game Developers Conference, and he explained that the trick to staying creative is to re-evaluate the source material and create a new game design from the ground up.

"I think this is what you have to do. Every now and then you have to say, 'Okay, let's put this whole thing aside and re-think the whole approach to Spider-Man," Brown said.

With the Beenox's upcoming movie tie-in game The Amazing Spider-Man, the team did just that, and devised a host of new gameplay systems that give the team new problems to solve and ideas to explore, while still remaining completely faithful to the Spider-Man brand.

"[Mixing things up] can be a big challenge. You might be tempted to just do one Spider-Man game and just iterate on that forever on that license. But with The Amazing Spider-Man, we re-worked all the mechanics, and that was really crucial to keeping things fresh."

This time around, Beenox designed brand new outdoor and indoor sequences that emphasize traversal and stealth, respectively. Brown hopes that these contrasting gameplay styles will give the game an exciting and varied feel.

"The Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions team had some real success with their last title, and now there's a lot of pressure on the team to make something fresh our players," Brown added.

The Amazing Spider-Man game is set to debut this summer, corresponding with the release of the Sony Pictures film of the same name.


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Comments


Guilherme Silva
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Good Article.
That said, there is a question that begs to be asked: "How much did Batman: Arkham Asylum influenced the new Spider-Man games?". I remember reading a lot of articles such as this [http://uk.ps3.ign.com/articles/105/1056137p1.html] by the time when the batman game was released and wonder what direction would the new spider-man games take.
From what i saw from game play footage of the Ultimate spider-man, the game seems to borrow a lot of elements from the combat system as well as the stealth kills.Hopefully this is a step in the right direction for the new spider-man games.

Jonathan Jennings
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I always felt like spiderman 2 was the best spiderman game and best superhero game until the point of the release of arkham asylum and subsequently arkham city . To me spiderman 2 and really the key to nailing any spiderman game is getting the web slinging correct. in spiderman 2 i was able to get into an easy rhythym start performing flips and getting into loops , perform tricks i was definitely able to develop a web slinging rhythym and I feel that's one area where other recent spiderman games have had issues ( the open world / random crime elements worked well too ).

I definitely think it's great that a studio that primarily works on one license tries to continually keep things fresh and progressive when i am sure it could be really easy to just tweak and make small modifications . I would love to know what the post mortem process does for this studio in particular and exactly how they reflect on implementing improvements or what features from prior games to continue / discontinue in the next title .

Rey Samonte
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Hehe..wow...who would have thunk? A Spiderman game that wasn't developed by Treyarch. Of course I know it's probably been a while now, but it's hard to shake off. :D

Matthew Williams
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this is Beenox's third spider-man game (shattered dimensions & edge of time are the others). they also ported spider-man 3 and friend or foe to PC


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