Interview: Spider-Man Web of Shadows

Interview: Spider-Man Web of Shadows

We’ve been weaving the Web of Shadows here for awhile, as the game is much anticipated. After talking with one producer, we got a hands-on impression of a far-along build of the game, chatted with one of the developers, and now we have one last producer to give us a few more teases before the game’s release Tuesday October 21st. Brian Morrison, Associate Producer of Spider-Man: Web of Shadows for Xbox 360 (Newsarama Note: The game will also be on PS3 and Wii with the same story and features as those discussed for 360) gave us some new details and his take on why this game is going to be full of web-slinging fun.

Newsarama: Is this your first Spider-Man title?

Brian Morrison: No, I first worked on Spider-Man 2, then on Ultimate Spider-Man. I also worked on Spider-Man: Friend or Foe.

NRAMA: You’re very familiar with writer Brian Reed (who worked on Ultimate and Friend or Foe, and scripted Web of Shadows) then. Are you one of the people involved in getting him on this title?

BM: Yeah, definitely. Jamie V from Shaba and Graham Fuchs, the executive producer on the project were obviously very confident with Reed’s ability and smarts towards the genre and in partnering with Marvel, he’s perfect with the role. He was familiar with Ultimate Spider-Man from a design perspective...

NRAMA: Right, he was a game designer for about 9 years?

BM: Yeah, exactly. So the fantastic thing about him is his comfort with the Marvel universe and his ability to see the game design as well as the story. That’s an unusual combination, and we’re actually very, very lucky to be able to work with him.

NRAMA: From a Production standpoint, do you leave things like the Easter Eggs for comic fans in the hands of the writer, or the developers, or are there things that you try to make sure happens from above?

BM: It’s a collaborative effort. Within the IP we have limitations, but we brainstorm, spitball, everyone talks about their favorite characters. For instance, one of my favorite characters in Friend or Foe was Iron Fist. To be able to have him in that game was incredible. It’s one of those group efforts though. Shaba had selected an incredible group of characters and then in working with Reed and Marvel, they basically had similar tastes and were able to select from a wide variety of characters. We have Luke Cage, Moon Knight, Wolverine, Black Cat, voiced by Tricia Helfer from Battlestar Galactica. We have Venom in the game, obviously, considering the threat (he definitely has his hand in it). You saw Kingpin today. (Newsarama Note: Since the time of this interview, Rhino, Electro, and Black Widow have also been announced. Click through above for screenshots featuring these Marvel standbys) One of the excellent things, particularly when doing a comic book game, you’re able to brainstorm and bring in a larger cast or different cast for each one.

NRAMA: We’ve seen some concerns from comic fans about Wolverine being on the cover of a Spider-Man game, which of course is funny because fans chose the final cover at What can you say to assuage their fears that this is in fact a Spider-Man game?

BM: I think Wolvie is one of the top comic characters and books in the Marvel Universe. He has such a huge fan base, and that’s where the selection came from. I think it’s excellent in a way that the community did that. It’s Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, not Spider-Man/Wolverine: Web of Shadows. So the title should kinda get you there, it is Spider-Man’s game.

NRAMA: Now, are you a comic book fan?

BM: Absolutely!

NRAMA: What are you currently reading?

BM: I’m reading a big variety of different books right now. I’m currently reading Mouse Guard, which is a strange book. I read a lot of Dark Horse, I’m reading Goon. I basically got hooked on Marvel decades ago through the Avengers books, then through them got into Secret Wars, and then learned about Spider-Man and his black suit, and got into all the Spidey books and X-Men books after that. So I’m basically a dyed-in-the-wool Marvel fan from an early age, and I got very excited about the Ultimate Universe. What Bagley and Bendis did with Spidey in rebooting the franchise was just amazing. I’ve just been a huge fan of Marvel, and it’s just an honor to work within this franchise. A lot of people go to work in the day, and they work in an insurance company or something like that, and I get to work on a Spider-Man game. It’s fantastic! Spidey’s just cool.

NRAMA: Again from the Production side, how is it not working on a specific licensed adaptation? With Ultimate Spider-Man you were working within the confines of that universe, that continuity, and with Spider-Man 2 you were working based on the story told in the movie. How is it different here? Is it easier, or more fun at all?

BM: I think for me, it is. It’s exciting. If you’re retelling the story, like if you were to just try to make a video game of Secret Wars, people would have expectations on that. I think in telling an all new story that no one knows about, and with the ability to play through the game with the red suit or the black suit, I think it’s great for the gamer, that they get an a completely new tale. The Ultimate Spider-Man game was great because the user did get to actually live the comic book experience in a story they were familiar with. This, you get to play through the game and have a new story, which is cool on a different level.

NRAMA: Now, a somewhat similar story, with a symbiote invasion, was just recently told in the pages of Mighty Avengers. Is that just funny timing?

BM: Oh, it’s a different storyline. The full story hasn’t been revealed yet, cause we want the user to experience that by playing the game.

NRAMA: Is there a big bad here, behind the scenes?

BM: (laughs) Well, there’s a very exciting conclusion to an excellent storyline. There’s a fantastic, climactic battle and ending. But we can’t talk too much about that. You will see a big difference between that story and that symbiote threat and this one.

NRAMA: Any other specific Symbiotes we might see in this game besides Venom?

BM: Again, I can’t quite reveal that just yet.

NRAMA: Well, who’s your favorite symbiote of all time, besides Venom?

BM: Wolverine. He gets the symbiote in this game, and he’s bad ass.

NRAMA: I asked Developer Tim O’Neil this, too. When you sit down to play the game for fun, what’s the part you go to?

BM: I think just playing with the combat system in the open city. The freedom to fight on the walls and the new aerial combat is just a lot of fun. Like an action sports title, you have creativity in the combat and locomotion to basically do anything you want to do in the combat. I can swing into a group of bad guys, switch to black suit, grab a guy with a tentacle and throw him into the air, switch to red suit, shoot him at range with my webs, grab him, do a kick flip on him, and web him down. You can improvise during the combat and the locomotion and that’s really my favorite part.

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