CALL OF DUTY
I think, without a doubt in my mind, people play video games to take a walk in a character's shoes. Escapism. Don't get me wrong, there are quick "I'm just killing time" games, and "I want to have fun with my friends" games. Though, I think that a single player comic book character-based game is meant to make you feel like you are that character. Batman: Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, have shown what it's about and how to do it. Not in terms of copying that gameplay, but in following the structure.
This is not a post to discuss specific ideas for the next Spider-Man game. This is a topic discussing what the core gameplay is.
Personally, I think Arkham Asylum/City break down to six things: Plot, Characters, Abilities/moveset, Gameplay, Side Gameplay and Extras.
A story that is taken seriously, and deeply involves the main character we are playing as. Essentially it should answer "Why am I playing this?" and "What do I have to do here?" A good Spider-Man game should have a reason that Spidey is doing what he does, while at the same time allowing us to make our own choices as him. You're presented with a problem and have to come up with your own ways of solving that problem. The actual "plot" should only drive you along to do those things. Characters making choices and doing things, causing you to respond.
People like seeing their favorite characters. Even generic enemies should generally be interesting. The thugs of the recent Batman games are not pushovers. You truly get to feel like Batman, so they're not too tough in comparison, but they will kill you if given the chance. They also talk about interesting things and make it seem like a real world. Small details like simply discussing larger more mainstream characters like The Joker, Harley or Two-Face.
Spider-Man's enemies should offer interesting insight on those they work for. To assume that a villain working for Black Cat is not going to say anything when she leaves the room is silly. Likewise for any other character. And then the main characters should definitely have an on-screen prescence. Doc Ock appearing should definitely make the player nervous for a moment. However your abilities, should give you the confidence to not back down.
More than just fancy tricks, spidey's moves should be useful and multi-faceted. Web should be something that spidey uses for a reason, not to just spray all over town. Especially if we're to believe that he has web shooters and not organic webbing. Developers rely too heavily on the web. His mode of travel should be Le Parkour/Free Run/Urban Ninja with web swinging as an alternative. Again, I'm NOT saying take web swinging out or anything, I'm just saying that as a character he should feel adequate without it. Did any of you ever try playing these games without swinging? Very boring, very slow. It shouldn't feel that way.
In the Batman games you can grapple or glide, and they both have their own uses. In future Spidey games, swinging might get you there faster, but running and jumping might have it's advantages too.
Also, in Batman, you get "Detective Mode" and other ocular abilities, they help you see through walls or find special things. The problem was easily summarized: "Why turn it off?" However, one of the things that Rocksteady did for Arkham City was to not only give you more modes, so that you don't rely on just one, it also made the visuals become somewhat confusing if you left it on. There was a REASON to turn it off. Spider-Man's gameplay should be interesting without relying on specifics movesets or abilities.
Spider-Man games should be more than...
Introduction of level>Horde of Generic Baddies>Next Room>More Generics>Next Room>A puzzle that a baby could figure out> Sub Boss>Generics>Boss.
Sadly, that's how it's felt for a while in Spidey games. For a super powered being with a genius level intellect, he should be doing more than punching his way through enemies. Why not allow players to do more things that use his brain or powers without relying on any specific one? For example: a level that needs you to master sticking to walls and not touching the ground? Maybe a level that needs spidey to swing accurately? The original Spider-Man game for N64, Dreamcast and PSX did not rely heavily on hordes of enemies or specific abilities to tell the story.
As I said above...Escapism. No one wants to be forced to do one thing for hours on end. Batman games have recently let players Collect Riddler Trophies, Solve Puzzles, Look for clues and easter eggs, Explore the unlocked areas and backtrack, collect audio recordings, look for "chatter teeth", etc etc..It wasn't just about the plot, and Arkham City added even more things. both games also implemented alternate costumes. So let's translate that to Spider-man. Fans keep talking about costumes, including the original outfit and Peter Parker, but they'd also like random crimes to go on unlimited. Why not make those crimes more in depth? I say take a cue from every single Spider-Man game yet:
-Fires you have to rescue people from.
-Falling off of buildings
-Gangs breaking into rooftops
-Destruction. If there's a bad guy that's playable, or even as Spider-Man himself. And like when you played as Venom in USM, he'd have to run from SHIELD or maybe have a random boss fight with another hero like Ironfist, Daredevil, Elektra or Luke Cage.
-Thieves breaking into stores and rooftops
-Races against other famous characters
-Randomly generated boss fights
-Hurt pedestrians from car accidents
-Children and Teenagers(instead of balloons, maybe they'd like Spidey to perform tricks. they could take the place of the Hot air balloon and TRICK RACES)
-Photos around the city for special reports (Like with chang)
-Photos for the Bugle
-Dates (Like you have to meet MJ or whomever somewhere and so you have to get there on time, or sometimes she wants you to just swing her around)
-Pizza Delivery (This could easily be changed into something else)
-Spider-Logos you have to get photos of to unlock costumes
-Stores that upgrade and unlock things
-Your apartment to switch costumes and replay levels, talk to Gwen/MJ
-Movie theater to view cutscenes
-Talk to other characters (like in Web of shadows)
That would be an awesome combination of all the free-roam Spider-Man games. And is about equal with what you can do with any other free roam game like GTA or Saints Row.
I think people would like the same extras that any other game offers. Let's take a look:
-Extra Costumes available on the disc from day 1
-Playable Characters (Unlockable is fine, even DLC is fine...Even costumes that give you different powers could fit under this, just change up gameplay)
-Figurines with audio. People like the character designs and want to look at the characters without having to play the game again.
-Unlockables. (Moves, skills, upgrades, comic books, alternate endings)
-Easter Eggs in-game
-Cameos and guest appearances
That would be, to me, the core gameplay necessary for any future Spider-Man free-roam games. And these are all things that players have gotten in other games. Even other Spider-Man games. So why not put it all together? It is more profitable to make a game that fans want, than to make sub-par games over and over.
I like some of the points you made, though I find it kind of funny that the "side" gameplay you mentioned is actually what needs to be at the "core" of any future spidey title. If you were to strip away the Marvel brand that is "Spiderman" then you are ultimately left with what is essentially an open-world game simiar to that of the Grand Theft Auto franchise. Though the problem with Spiderman games is that the open-world mechanic is fairly empty aside from being able to freely swing around. The city of New York is as much of a character as Spiderman is and needs to be at the core of the game before a story, unlockables, additional characters or dlc is even considered. This issue has been present ever since Spiderman 2 back on the old playstation 2 and it has yet to be addressed. If you look at the Grand Theft Auto or even Prototype series, those games pride themselves on putting the player into the role of a villain and allowing them to create all sorts of destruction within the sandbox environment. Spiderman, being at the opposite end of the spectrum, doesn't go around and blatantly start killing people, so instead you would allow players to create as much justice as they can within that sandbox environment. This justice would range from stopping a mugging to helping out the police defeat a supervillain or any of the other things you mentioned in "side gameplay" that fundamentally deal with saving people. Once this element of the game has been dealt with then I would say the developers can go wherever they want to in terms of story, unlockables, and what not.
Speaking of the Prototype series I thought of their free-running mechanic when you mentioned being able to parkour in addition to web-swinging. If Beenox could add the parkour of Prototype in with the "Web rush" of The Amazing Spiderman they would easily perfect movement in the next Spiderman game.
Great list by the way.
We're saying the same things, and I agree. The reason as I list those things as "side gameplay", is not to diminish those things, but to simply mention that they'd be separate from the "story".
I 100% absolutely agree that the city is a character. And in my previous posts, I've mentioned numerous times the same phrasing. If the world does not feel detailed and alive, then how can we feel like a hero in it? Here's a comparison of Saints Row and the last Spider-Man game.
Saints Row 2:
In that game I was able to take my character shopping (vehicles, clothes), "talk" to pedestrians, stop off at a fast food place and buy a burger. I would cruise around town in my sports car, stop off at my apartment and watch cutscenes, change clothes. I'd check my inventory of weapons and then go to a weapons store, buy weapons...etc
All of those things would be before anything that actually is considered "core gameplay". "Core Gameplay" consisted of Mini-games: Car surfing, jobs(Ambulance EMT, taxi driver etc), races, fight club, etc. And that's not talking about story missions or extra DLC missions.
When you've reached 100% story missions and don't want to fight random crimes or do tricks/races, there's not much else to do. You can visit Gwen and replay old levels, or web sling. A nitpicker might bring up the smaller things like taking pictures for Chang or collectibles, but that hardly can be considered comparable to SR2 above or any other modern game.
I hate to double post, but I want to say this separately:
Electro was announced as the next villain for Amazing Spider-Man 2. Marc Webb seems to be focusing on the early issues of Spider-Man, but with 'realistic' takes on them. So Lizard did not wear clothes, being more of a bestial creation. Electro will most likely look like his recent comic appearances with the lack of the five point electric mask.
That said, the next movie/game will probably not focus on 'splicing'. It will probably be a focus on technology. So what major villains are technologically themed?
X Green Goblin(I think they'll wait until Norman appears in the movies before putting him in)
-(If Smythe or Black Cat returns, Mr.Negative was hinted at as well, and if Whitney Chang returns, then there'd probably be a side story with him. As she's from Chinatown as well.)
I'd like to see more and bigger scale boss battles than to have lots of fights with generics or robots. The Amazing Spider-Man was a GREAT game. The boss battles were GOOD. However, more often than not you fought spider slayers. When fighting actually famous characters, they were less epic than the slayer fights.
On a different note, MJ was announced to be in ASM2. The director has openly said he wants to continue with the Stacy's storyline. So in-game that gives us Gwen, MJ and Black Cat as love interests. If he kills off Gwen in the movie, then we'd have MJ and Black Cat left. Let's be honest, Whitney Chang was being somewhat flirtacious as well. She made more than a few comments/jokes about a hook-up with Spider-Man. Regardless, this would be a perfect point, storyline wise for the character to be available.
I can't see spidey swinging around on a date after his girlfriend dies (if she does), but he would definitely need someone to talk to. Whitney and BC were already established in the first game, and if MJ finds out his identity in the film, then that's another.
My point is that between Gwen Stacy, Mary-Jane Watson, Whitney Chang, and Felicia Hardy...There are enough characters to have a mini game, side-plot or side gameplay features.
Why everyone think of the next Spiderman game as ASM 2???...
Am i the only one who wants a comic-book based Spider-Man video-game?...like Arkham City?....
Hire Slott or Bendis(Spider-man writers,for those who doesnt know...) find a GOOD company that can make an Awesome Superhero video-game and make a masterpiece that Spidey deserves....NOW!
(that's why i put the Treyarch logo as my Avatar.....i want another Spiderman 2....)
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (I actually hope Marc Webb calls it "Ultimate Spider-Man" or Spectacular Spider-Man), comes out in 2014. It would not make sense for Activision to try to whip out a comic game in the mean time of 2013, instead of focusing on ASM2. Players have ASM for the next two years to hold them over.
That being said, a movie tie-in is definitely happening. So it's a better request to ask that they add comic-book elements to the game, rather than to wish for a comic-based game.
I feel what PunyParker is saying, I'd rather see Beenox try to concentrate on making a comic book based spiderman game or their own version of the spiderman universe. Although ASM was a good game I honestly wish that Beenox was never made to make a movie-tie in and instead concentrate on Edge of Time which was released far too soon. Imagine if the gameplay in Spiderman Edge of Time used the same engine that was made for ASM (open-world, web rush, stealth missions, etc.) Edge of Time would of been far more successful if the developers had an extra year to work on it and incorporate the ASM game engine into it. You could also say that if Beenox never had to release Edge of Time and spent the extra year working on ASM it could of better. The thing is when it comes to movie tie-in games game developers don't have the necessary amount of time to work on the game which I assume is because they don't recieve the script early enough so that the story of the game would match that of the movie (though I could be wrong). As far as I'm concerned the story should be one of the last things to implement, if Beenox doesn't focus on the core of the gameplay (free-roam, web-swinging, combat and all the things spiderman is known for doing) then the next game is going to be in trouble, whether or not it is ASM 2.
We have to start somewhere.
I get what you guys are saying, I really do. And I agree that I'd rather have a comic-based game, or a comic-themed Activision/Beenox(or whomever) universe. Sure. However, the movie is already confirmed, so essentially so is the game. We all know that Marvel intends and is going to do a movie tie-in, it's easy cash and they cross promote each other. Gamers see the movie, movie goers play the game.
That said, I'm sure you wouldn't want two rushed games instead of one good one. A comic-based game this upcoming year and then ASM2 the very next year? Don't think they're not working on ASM2 yet just because they may not have a script. I'm sure they're all over it. That's why movie games are always different than the movies. They get basic outlines, maybe photos of the characters and concept art and then roll with it.
Listen, all I'm saying is that The Amazing Spider-Man was not a bad game. I seem to remember the only complaints really being no unlimited crime and both the Peter Parker and comic red/blue suits being excluded. It was short, yes, However, it was one of the best Spider-Man games. I'm not saying THE best, but just bare with me for a moment:
Character Interaction: We never got a Spider-Man game where we could just hang out and talk to another character (outside of Spider-Man: Web of Shadows). Along with casual conversation with Connors or Gwen, you were also able to have a sense of unbreakable support. Connors wanted to prove he was not just a villain and make up for his previous mistakes. Gwen loves Peter. NO other game features that. The entire premise of Web of Shadows was that if you became bad enough, your allies would turn on you. Peter is almost always in a state of chasing or losing a love interest. This was the first time that he had real friends.
Web Rush: A great alternative to swinging, and a cool way to be able to play yet watch Spider-Man. In web rush, he'd swing/zip/parkour his way to the destination. It also allowed players to experience Spidey's hightened reaction time and speed in a functional way. This is a great new ability that should become a main-stay like web zipping did.
Plot: While short, it actually was reasonable and had a clear goal that didn't just involve Spider-Man, but the city. It also specifically required Spidey's help without having to be tied to him. The slayers destroying buildings and causing fires, bursting through the ground, literally causing chaos in the city was done in a very smooth way. Web of Shadows destroys NYC and then forces you to start the game over. At least here, you deal with the plot and aftermath, and then even help take infected to the hospital to help clean the city. All of the characters featured were used in a way that related to the plot without limiting them.
Gameplay: And the gameplay was not bad. I already spoke about Web rush, but I refer to the 'free flow-esque' fighting style. We all have our own preferences, but the game was factually not broken ( at least on console). The gameplay was functional and a player could get through many if not all levels without being hit once, making you truly feel like Spider-Man.
So what I'm saying is that if we could get them to ADD to the machine of "The Amazing Spider-Man", it would make for possibly the best Spider-Man game. The stuff we've all listed would be great, but I don't think the 'movie' vs. 'comic' universe will matter if they DO include the comic suits. And make them readily available from either the beginning or early on.
Is it just me or should they also get the original cast to voice the characters + their individual foreign voice over actors? They did that with Spider-Man 2 and 3, why not here.
Now don't get me wrong, I really really liked the voice actors we have in TASM and I would be happy if they returned in the sequel... but it's a movie game after all and it should really have the original cast with their appearances in it (that way we could get a Peter Parker mode/skin).
And I'm also in favor of the movie retelling story/games. TASM had a good story but I seriously was missing the origin story in it, getting to know your powers and overall being a vigilante at first with no proper suit. It makes me feel even more disconnected from the franchise by the fact that TASM story never happened in the movie universe.
And to be fair, I never really liked the apocalypse settings in Spider-Man games (WoS -> symbiotes, TASM -> cross-species virus). Please get back to one main villain or multiple ones that don't wreck the whole city after 8 chapters and infect others. I would've loved to have the movie final in the game though, fight against the Lizard as he tries to release the lizard/cross-species gas (IMO it's ok if sh*t goes down in the end, but not throughout the whole game).
After all, I want to enjoy being Spider-Man halfway through the story by fighting crimes and doing other Spider-Man related stuff without people getting infected by some virus and half of the city being destroyed.