Spider-Man: What is the 4th (Shattered) Dimension?
At E3, Activision was cool enough to give us a little play-time with Spider-man’s new game, Shattered Dimensions.
The game build we played was incomplete though, featuring only three of the playable Spider-Men, only two of the voices, and none of the story hooks. The mysteries, they say, will be revealed at the San Diego Comic-con.
I’m a Spidey guy from waaaay back. That being the case, I can’t help but throw out some spectacular speculation. My Spidey senses are tingling…
The demo we played still gave us a great grasp of the gameplay, even without the 4th dimension being active. In Shattered Dimensions, a powerful magical artifact has been shattered by one of Spidey’s bumbling foes. The shards have gone flying through space and time, and the four worlds the pieces have landed in are in danger of being ripped apart by their energies.
Unfortunately, the shards have ended up in the hands of 12 Spider-rogues, and as possessing the shards imbue them with enhanced powers, the baddies won’t give them up without a fight. Hobgoblin in 2099 has enhanced strength, speed, and throws real flaming pumpkin bombs, he’s essentially become a real goblin. Kraven the Hunter faces the traditional Spidey with heightened speed and reflexes.
So who guides Spider-Man on this cosmic quest? Well, that’s one of Activision’s secrets. But it has to be someone who can feel the cosmic disturbance that faces the universe, someone who can speak to Spider-man across dimensions, someone with a little magic and/or psychic powers. Gotta be either Dr. Strange or, my guess, Madame Web. You heard it here guys, Madame Web.
Okay, but lets focus on what we do know. The three revealed dimensions feature normal Spider-Man, Spider-Man Noir who lurks in the shadows of a gang-controlled New York, and Spider-Man 2099, a more violent Spidey who prowls the rooftops of a New York plagued by social injustice as well as super-villains. Classic Spidey plays like you would expect, fast, bouncy, making crazy web-attacks on the fly to pulverize his enemies, and cripple their spirits with absurd wit. Noir plays Tenchu-like, invisible in the shadows, relying on stealth to avoid his enemies’ bullets. In the demo, the Noir battle took place during a fireworks show, so movements had to be timed or else the shadows would be taken away by the burst of the fireworks, revealing his presence. 2099 was a brutal, fast-paced fighter. He hopped from hover car to hover car to pursue his targets, and make quick work of non-powered opponents through hard-hitting violence. Sometimes the old ways work the best. You’ll find more of a focus on aerial combat in his future zones.
Two of the Spider-men had their voice tracks activated. Spider-Man Noir is voiced by Christopher Daniel Barnes of Brady Bunch fame who was the voice of Spidey in the 1994 animated series. The grizzled 2099 is voiced by Dan Gilzevan from the 80′s cartoon. Activision promises that each incarnation of Spidey will be voiced by an actor who has voiced or played Spidey before. The last two actors are a closely guarded secret, but those two voices will be present in San Diego for the revelation, along with Stan Lee. I’m thinkin’ those two have probably got some sort of clout, if they’re big enough to be guests at Comic-Con. First guess, Neal Patrick Harris of recent Dr. Horrible fame, who voided Spider-Man in the MTV animated series that followed the first movie. The next name would have to be big, probably even bigger than NPH. Could it be that they have actually gotten Tobey Maguire to reprise his role? He has voiced Activision games before. Or could the big A have been shrewd enough to hold off even having Spider-Man voiced until after his new actor had been found. The Spidey movie franchise is being rebooted, and newcomer Andrew Garfield has been placed in the saddle. Maybe he’ll voice the web-slinger as way of commemorating his new rise to stardom.
The big question remains though, who or what is the 4th and final incarnation of Spider-Man? For certain, it is a Spidey who has appeared in the comics, some real alternate version from an established Marvel universe. Our only real hint comes from this snippet of info:
Activision has said that, like in their first couple Playstation Spider-Man games, there will be other versions of Spidey that you can unlock and ‘equip’ in the game. Versions like Symbiote Spidey, Armor Spidey, etc. Except this time, Spidey’s visual style in those costumes will vary depending on which of the 4 dimensions you’re playing in. We got an illustration with the ‘Cosmic Spidey’ from each of the dimensions. Check out that 3rd costume there. That’s the unrevealed Spidey. He looks dark, brooding. Who the hell is that?
Could it be Zombie Spider-Man? Maybe the dark-future of Spider-man Reign? I’m kind of hoping for something really different and unexpected like Spider-Carnage from The Exiles. There have only been about 500 alternate versions of Spider-man in Marvel history, so its really open game. Check out this Wikipedia list of about 30 versions. Just the tip of the iceberg. If only it weren’t so obviously a guy. I think having the 4th one be Spider-Girl would have been awesome. (and actually, I am kinda leaning towards Spider-Carnage at this point, given the weird monster noise and glowy eyes at 1:27 in the E3 trailer, below)
Its all speculation. What are your guesses?
Either way, this looks like a great game so far. The levels we got to mess around on were pretty spectacular, with some sharp writing by Dan Slott of Marvel comics, one of my favorite writers. Each dimension has its own textures (cell shading on classic Spidey, super sleek and shiny in the 2099 version), its own feel, and it returns to the great play style of the original Spider-Man games from the PSX, my favorites in the series.
That’s what we got for now! The mysteries will be solved in a matter of a couple weeks! More when SDCC shows us the final dimension!