Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions Casting Call

Two more Spider-Men are needed for the next game. Here are our picks.

April 5, 2010 - Last week, the spider-beans were spider-spilled. Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions is coming to a console near you and bringing with it a new take on webhead videogames. Rather than just cast you as Peter Parker in his red and blues, Shattered Dimensions is going to have you play as four different Spider-Men.

Drawing from the nearly 50-year history of Spider-Man, Shattered Dimensions will have players hopping between four different universes. That mean you're going to be four different Spider-Men from four different comic book worlds.

So far, we only know that you'll be playing in the "Amazing" universe (which is Spidey in his traditional costume with the traditional story we all know and love) and the "Noir" universe (which is a dark and gritty world set in the 1930s during the Great Depression), but there are two other universes that will round out the game. These unannounced dimensions will be different in terms of look and gameplay when compared to the already announced settings.

That's cool and all, but we want to know what fans are going to be swinging into later this year, and if Activision isn't telling, we're going to start pitching out our ideas. Below are five universes from Spidey books that we would looooooove to see brought to us in Shattered Dimensions. We'll tell you what that universe is about and why it would rock to play through it with the controller of your choice.

None of these are guaranteed to be in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, but geeks like us can dream, can't we?

Oh, sweet ghost of Jean Grey, please let this one happen. If you missed it, Marvel got on the undead bandwagon in 2005 and let Robert Kirkman -- creator and writer of The Walking Dead series -- whip up a world where the zombie outbreak happened and it even infected superheroes. What transpired over the initial five-issue run was an unbelievably awesome world where these zombie heroes could still talk intelligently but had gaping wounds on their bodies, Black Panther was alive but missing limbs because Giant-Man has been nomming on him, and a team of undead heroes tore Silver Surfer apart and ate him alive.

Still, possibly the best moment was when the heroes were gathered together and Zombie Spider-Man broke down in tears over the fact that MJ was dead because he killed her and ate her.

This stuff needs to be in Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. You figure, gameplay is going to be totally different from the other dimensions -- you're dealing with a character who is dead, so he's not moving all that quickly. On top of that, it's going to be a completely different visual because New York is destroyed and all the main characters look like they've been in severe car accidents and left to rot.

If Activision and Beenox are looking for stuff that is totally unique, Zombie Spider-Man has it in spades.

Dubbed as Marvel's "The Dark Knight Returns," Spider-Man: Reign was a more mature tale than most Spidey books on the market. Here, 30 years have passed and we find Peter Parker a broken down old man working a remedial job. New York City is a military state of sorts; crime is down, but a Big Brother-like police force known as "The Reign" runs the streets and beats people for fun. Through a series of events, Peter dons the Spider suit once again, but it's the emotional struggle -- he retired after the death of Mary Jane, an event he unknowingly caused because every kiss and intimate moment was actually dosing her with trace amounts of radiation -- that keeps this tale going.

Reign would be such a cool addition to Shattered Dimensions. In the comic, Mary Jane's ghost -- or at least the ghost in Peter's mind -- is there and guiding his actions. It would be rad to play the Reign part of Shattered Dimensions and have MJ there giving us objectives and guiding us toward the piece of tablet this old Peter Parker needs to find.

Sure, the gameplay would be slower here when compared to the "Amazing" universe, but if this was designed using Kaare Andrews' art style and featured a tenth of the storytelling found in the book, this would be a dimension that would be hard to top.

Marvel's 1602 universe is certainly a more obscure concept in the grand scheme of comic book mythos, but it's one that could easily work in Shattered Dimensions with the proper application. If Beenox is looking for settings that inspire unique gameplay and visual stylings, this world would certainly provide that in spades.

1602 takes the concept of the Marvel Universe and fuses it with the Elizabethan Era of England (late 1500s, early 1600s -- go figure, look at the title). Many famous Marvel characters such as Nick Fury, Dr. Strange, Dr. Doom and Spider-Man were adapted in 2003 by writer Neil Gaiman and artist Andy Kubert for this eight-issue project, which eventually led to several spin-off books that expanded the lore. These expansions are actually what made us suspect 1602 would be an ideal target for Activision's new game, as Marvel recently dedicated a mini-series to that era's Spider-Man so that it could develop his solo adventures and re-imagine his rogues gallery.

In this world, Peter Parker (or Peter Parquagh) is an assistant to Sir Nicholas Fury, the head of Britain's intelligence agency. Though loyal to the spymaster's missions, Peter eventually finds himself following a path we're all familiar with as he is bitten by a spider and adopts a masked identity to save innocents with his new-found powers. What's interesting here to us is the concept of Peter as an agent of Fury. With the Noir setting adopting Arkham Asylum-esque stealth action, perhaps 1602 missions could take more of a detective gameplay style, with Peter tracking down clues and leads to defend the Queen from threats domestic and foreign.

What would excite us most about the 1602 setting, however, is the potential for a strikingly new visual interpretation of Spider-Man and his world. The original series was perhaps most notable for its bold visual styling, which saw Kubert's wildly imaginative universe then digitally painted by Richard Isanove. Take one look at some of the comic book art and you'll understand how wicked it would be to play a game with that visual dressing.

Yeah, yeah, yeah -- technically Spider-Girl isn't Spider-Man, but we're allowed to dream with this one, right? If you missed this series, you've missed a movement. Spider-Girl is actually May Parker, daughter of Spider-Man and Mary Jane. She's had a handful of series, and every time one is canceled or threatened to be canceled the fans freak out and save May's skin. May's powers are a lot like her dad's, but they're not exactly the same. She's more agile, but she needs to focus when wall crawling to stick to surfaces via her body's bio-magnetic field. Plenty of her villains, friends, and supporting cast in general are offspring of folks who appeared in the traditional Spider-Man universe.

At first glance, Spider-Girl might not offer enough gameplay differences for Activision and Beenox to seriously consider dropping her in as a counterpart to the Amazing universe, but the small differences in powers could lead to some really cool gameplay tweaks. Imagine being able to use May's magnetic field to fling enemies off the floor, the mini-game to focus her abilities in a frantic boss fight, and the implications of a change in agility. Toss in the grandson of J. Jonah Jameson, Normie Osborn, and a baby brother who has been involved with the Carnage symbiote, and you've got plenty of awesome hooks to draw players in.

In a lot of ways, Spider-Girl is totally the Spider-Man of another dimension, so we hope Mayday doesn't get looked over. She's sassy, funny, and different enough that she deserves a shot at videogame glory.

Though many alternate universes are quickly forgotten, Marvel's futuristic 2099 setting has lived on in the hearts and minds of fans, despite not having an extensive publishing agenda since the mid-'90s. One key to the success of the imprint was Peter David's Spider-Man 2099, a rather bold, dark interpretation of Spider-Man and one that only referenced Peter Parker as a legend of a brighter, more heroic age. If you ask us, 2099 is practically guaranteed to be one of the two remaining dimensions selected for Activision's Shattered Dimensions game. The setting is just too well-known, too iconic and too rich with potential to be ignored.

Set in the not-too-distant future, this era stars Miguel O'Hara as a geneticist who, after discovering his corporation is corrupt and being threatened by those in power, accidentally manipulates his genetic code to include spider-like abilities. What should set this universe apart from others, particularly from the standpoint of a videogame, is that Miguel's abilities are somewhat different than his predecessor. Though he still has spider-like strength and agility as well as organic web-shooters, this Spider-Man has no spider-sense. In its place are a variety of powers, ranging from enhanced vision and healing to fangs that contain a paralyzing venom. We'd love to see some vampire-like combos in the game. Make it happen, Beenox!

Visually we'd expect the differences here to be more environmental than anything else. Being set in the future should allow the developers to run wild with the cyberpunk motif, drastically changing up the vibe of the game during these levels. Enemies should also be an interesting source of inspiration, as well. Spider-Man 2099 features a wide array of original characters, but still features new interpretations of classic foes like Green Goblin and Venom. Needless to say, of all our ideas here, the 2099 universe is by far the easiest to adapt. We'd bet money Miguel O'Hara has a starring role in a videogame this fall.

What do you think? Do you want two of these universes represented or two other ones we didn't even mention? Let us know in the comments below and keep your browser tuned to IGN for information on the universes as it breaks.

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