Neversoft’s Spider-Man Remaster?
Since the release of Neversoft’s Spider-Man game in 2000, studios like Treyarch and Insomniac have given us vast, detailed high definition recreations of NYC to explore and live out our dreams of being the webhead.
However, there is a good chance that these games may never have been greenlit without the building blocks left behind by Neversoft’s original attempt. At the time we could never have dreamt of a 3D wall-crawling adventure like this one; packed with an abundance of charm, humour, and a distinct love and respect for the source material it was taking from.
Neversoft’s Spider-Man was one of the earliest 3D superhero games to be released, only being preceded by Superman 64 and we all know how that turned out. Spider-Man was the first game to prove that an action game based around a comic book character in a 3D environment could actually work.
The game is now more than two decades old at this point, so when I revisited it recently in light of this news, it obviously showed some signs of its age. Clearly the swinging and combat mechanics aren’t going to compare to the systems featured in the more recent Spider-Man games, but the fact that they are there at all and that they work as well as they do is pretty astonishing.
Regardless of it’s flaws and technical constraints, Neversoft managed to produce a game that was like nothing that had ever been created before; elements of which are still used in Spider-Man games today. It provided gamers with a robust and immersive Spider-Man story that felt like it was taken straight from the pages of a comic book.
The gameplay mechanics allowed players to swing between rooftops, crawl up walls and combine a variety of melee and web-based ranged attacks. It also featured a good variety of Spidey’s rogues’ gallery including Venom, Carnage, and Doc Ock. The dialogue in the game also did a great job of encapsulating Spider-Man’s wit and sense of humour.
Suffice to say, this was the perfect Spider-Man game at the time for fans of the character. It is also a game that most people who played games at that time look back on fondly. Chad Findley worked on the game as it’s lead designer and he too remembers it fondly despite facing certain difficulties that crept up during development.
“It definitely did come with some fairly large obstacles,” Findley said in an interview with Gaming Bible.
“Doing a full 3D city was one big one in particular – hence the story point that has the ground level of the city being fogged out. We just couldn’t pull off a full 3D city with pedestrians and vehicles as our first outing.”
“Wall crawling on real architectural surfaces was another – we got a good pass at wall crawling done and thought, great! But then real buildings and rooms were getting built with weird angles and tight surfaces, and the lead programmer, Dave Cowling, had to tackle that too. Fortunately he’s a super smart dude and developed a secondary ‘small surface’ wall crawling mode that allowed us to keep moving forward.”
“This was before the super-high costs and razor-thin margins of big projects today. Before all-things-money was running every decision, and therefore it was exactly what one would hope it would be like! It was fantastic, especially for a comic nerd like me – and I was a Spidey fan in particular. I got to include most of the characters we wanted, we got to add our what-if mode for tons of other cameos, and I got to voice direct Stan Lee!”
When asked if he would he ever want to work on a remaster or remake of the game, Findley replied:
“While I would initially be reticent because of the nightmarish licensing and approval processes that are around these days… I absolutely would do it, I love Spider-Man. It was such a great, nerdy character with stories that always have positive messages and themes while also still being exciting and fun. Stuff we need these days.”
Does the prospect of a remake of Neversoft’s Spider-Man excite your nostalgia? The fact that Findley is up for the idea coupled with the fact that all sorts of classic games from that era are getting the remake treatment could mean that this project could one day come to fruition. And if it does, I will be first in line.
In the meantime, fans looking for their Spider-Man fix can get it from Insomniac’s 2018 Spider-Man game; which Findley also commented on saying he thought it was “fantastic” in the way it “embraced Spidey themes.”
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