Dan Slott Breaks Open ‘Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions’ [Interview]
"Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions" is still a few weeks from its September 7 release on the Playstation 3, Xbox, Wii and Nintendo DS, but the its biggest fan has already claimed the title: Dan Slott. Sure, it's kind of impossible to compete with the prolific "Amazing Spider-Man" scribe seeing as how he wrote "Shattered Dimensions" himself, but anyone who can pull off a quadfecta of video game adventures in the "Amazing," "Noir," "2099" and "Ultimate" Spider-verses deserves the cred. Slott talked with ComicsAlliance about his approach to crafting the four-way tale, where he thinks he'll die the most in the game, and why he hopes it will kill the productivity of his competitors.
ComicsAlliance: Marvel's had many of its prominent writers involved in their major video game releases of late. How did you get the "Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions" gig?
Dan Slott: [Activision] got in contact with my agent. He called me up and said, "Would you like to work on a Spider-Man video game with Activision?" And I was all, "HELL YEAH!" I'm a HUGE Spider-Man fan and a lifelong gamer -- a lot of my console purchases have been made BECAUSE of Spider-Man games! I bought a Sega Dreamcast so I could re-buy the PS1 Spider-Man game and play it with better graphics. Later, I bought the Xbox so I could re-buy the PS2 Spider-Man game and play it with the new Xbox exclusive levels.
Working on a Spider-Man game for the next gen systems was one of the easiest decisions of my life!
CA: How far along was "Shattered Dimensions" when you came on board?
The game was well under way by the time I came on board. They already had their basic hook -- using the four different dimensions, most of the bosses picked out, and the art design/look for each world. It was my job to come up with story specifics to tie it all together and make it flow.
CA: Can you break down your process of writing "Shattered Dimensions?" How similar is it to your approach to writing comics?
I've written for video games before, so I was prepared for how this works. The most important thing is that you get in and get out FAST. Game players don't want to have a story TOLD to them, they want to BE part of the story. You want to be as entertaining as possible, have all the characters be IN character, give the game player all the information they need -- and then get out of their way! Yes, you want the story to be good. But game players don't want to sit through endless cut-scenes. They want to press buttons, web-swing, wall-crawl, and punch some bad guys!
CA: All four playable worlds have been announced for "Shattered Dimensions." With the game now completed, which world do you think you had the most fun writing?
DS: All of 'em! Though I have to admit, writing Amazing Spider-Man in a video game has been a dream of mine, so that was a treat! Now when it comes to playing? I think the Spider-Man 2099 levels are a rush with all the free-fall style of game play. And, graphically, the Spider-Man Noir levels are gorgeous -- but I suck at stealth games, so I expect to get killed a lot in those.
CA: You're known from your runs on "She-Hulk" and other titles for having a pretty robust sense of humor. Spider-Man's "Noir" and "2099" universes don't lend themselves to as many jokes as his "Amazing" incarnation, but were you able to flex your funny muscles much writing "Shattered Dimensions?"
DS: Spider-Man Noir is a very serious and driven character! I can shift the car into that gear. That's part of the fun of this game-that the four worlds have such variety! It really is like getting four different Spider-Man games.
CA: "Shattered Dimensions" follows a number of more free-roaming sandbox-style outings from Activision. What storytelling advantages (if any) do you think SD's format gave you as a writer compared to some of Spidey's previous games?
DS: There have been a LOT of free-roaming Spidey games. Heck, I still pop in "Spider-Man 2" from time-to-time when I want to play some free-roaming Spidey. And those games are on my shelf if I need 'em.
Doing a more level based game means we can offer game players a wide selection of locales. Because of this, you're not JUST in New York City. You're fighting Kraven in the jungle, Hobgoblin 2099 in the future, Ultimate Deadpool in the middle of the ocean on an oilrig, or Osborn's gang in a 1930's carnival. It's going to feel more like the adventures you'd read about in the comics then just going from one NYC location to the next. And that's cool!
CA: Video games have earned a reputation among many pros in the comic book industry as a productivity-killer. Do you think they've got a bad rap? Would a fellow creator missing a deadline due to their enjoyment of "Shattered Dimensions" make you proud of your handiwork?
Absolutely. Especially if it's some young punk after my job.
CA: "Shattered Dimensions" is headed for the PS3, Xbox 360 and Wii and also the Nintendo DS. Did Activision adapt one story for use on the stationary consoles and the DS, or will the DS have its own unique story?
DS: The PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii versions will all share the same story. On the DS, you'll actually see a slightly different story with different villains.
CA: With "Shattered Dimensions" under your belt, are you interested in pursuing other video game opportunities in the future? Any plans in the works? Who are some other characters you think you'd enjoy writing for a game?
DS: This has been the most ambitious game I've worked on to date. It was a real kick. I'd love to some more Marvel games. As for which characters? Let's do some more Spidey games! C'mon! Shattered Dimensions 2! Mangaverse Spidey, Spider-Girl, there's tons of content still out there! C'mon! Let's make it happen!