Today at WonderCon 2011, being held in San Fransisco, Marvel held their panel for the newly announced Spider-Man: Edge of Time game. When I say ‘held’ I mean that as I type this I’m watching the panel (which started at 4:30 PDT) stream live and gathering all the juicy tidbits for you guys. See, I do the hard work so you don’t have to! This is also a bit of an experiment for me; I want to give you the news as soon as it’s available, so bear with me as I update.
The panel was being led by Dan Amrich from Activision, who was joined by Peter David (who’s an amazing writer for Marvel), Josh Keaton (who voiced Ultimate Spider-Man in Shattered Dimensions), and some other individuals from Beenox and Marvel. They kicked off the panel discussing Shattered Dimensions in retrospect. They thanked fans for picking up the game, as well as all the feedback they gave on it. A lot of the feedback was taken into consideration in the course of Beenox making Edge of Time. They also discussed some of the things that they learned over the course of making Shattered Dimensions, how they came to the decision to have four Spider-Men in that game, and how they were led to the decision of which Spider-Men to include in Edge of Time.
Despite Edge of Time following on the heels of Shattered Dimensions, it was surprising to hear from the panel that it is not a sequel. Spider-Man: Edge of Time was actually started prior to Shattered Dimensions being completed. Peter David was brought on as the writer on the game, and worked with Beenox at their headquarters to develop everything in Edge of Time. A lot of ideas that weren’t able to be explored in Shattered Dimensions were carried over into Edge of Time. He also worked with Beenox ironing out some concerns they had with the concept; David and Beenox actually had to reapproach Edge of Time a few different ways in order to keep a consistent flow through the story.
This is because the element of time and cause and effect have a large part in the story. As was already revealed, Edge of Time deals with two connected timelines: the present-day world of the Amazing Spider-Man, and the world of Spider-Man 2099. Story details just released from the panel deal with a scientist from the 2099 world going back in time to eliminate the Amazing Spider-Man. Through this action he actually ends up causing both the versions of Spider-Man to collide and have to work together to avoid mutual destruction; if Amazing Spider-Man is killed in his era, the Spider-Man of 2099 would never exist.
Because of the story of Spider-Man: Edge of Time, a big focus is going to be placed on cause and effect gameplay. Going a step beyond what we’ve seen in other games, where things in your immediate wake change based on your actions, Edge of Time will actually be showing the repercussions of your actions throughout entire timelines. There will be challenges you face during the game, and part of your consideration as the player will be how to not screw up time forever while still trying to complete the challenges. There was no announcement of specific Spidey villains at the panel, but it’s almost a certainty that they will show up throughout the game and cause you to second-guess the ‘right’ choice in regards to how to not damage time.
It was announced at the panel for the first time that Josh Keaton will be handling voice acting duties for Amazing Spider-Man this time around, and that Christopher Daniel Barnes (who voiced Spider-Man Noir in Shattered Dimensions) will be taking on the role Spider-Man 2099 for this time-warping adventure. Despite the two Spider-Men being heroes in their own right, it was revealed by Peter David that not everything will be heroic kinship and rainbows between them. He stated that he, “went in the opposite direction of everything Peter Parker was,” when he started writing Miguel O’Hara (Spidey 2099’s alter-ego) for the game.
This is going to cause a pretty big rift between the two characters during the story, and there will be conflicts and disputes between them. Despite both being heroes they are going to have different viewpoints on each situation, and each one has a lot of suspicion that the other is wrong and doesn’t have what it takes to be Spider-Man. David sees the story mainly as a character arc between the two Spider-Men, and that despite the focus on time in the gameplay, that things will be very character-driven in the game.
Another new announcement from the panel was that due to the character focus and the cause and effect gameplay, the story will actually be unfolding in parallel. The extent of this wasn’t explicitly mentioned, but they will be making use of picture-in-picture in the game, which is an interesting idea. I doubt that every moment of the game will be unfolding concurrently, but the picture-in-picture should provide a fresh way to see the ramifications of your choices immediately in Edge of Time. Combat will also be familiar to those who played Shattered Dimensions. The team from Beenox has promised greater improvement, and that it is being expanded and amped up even further than what was seen before.
They didn’t have specific combat pieces to show today, but there will be more information forthcoming from Marvel. It also was not announced specifically which platforms Spider-Man: Edge of Time will be releasing for. They did show off some screenshots at the panel, however, as well as the world premiere trailer. Unfortunately on both counts, they were only shown to panel attendees actually present at the convention. Dan Amrich has promised that the high-definition trailer will be hitting soon, so we’ll certainly have it and the screenshots here on Mash Those Buttons as soon as they’re available. Thanks for tuning in for this up to the minute coverage, guys!