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Staying creative when your only job is making Spider-Man games

Gamasutra speaks with Beenox studio head Dee Brown to learn more about the studio's approach to making Spider-Man games, and how it keeps things fresh with each subsequent release.
Beenox is in an interesting position as a game studio. As Activision's official Spider-Man house, the company spends most of its time making games about a certain web-slinging superhero. With such adherence to a single IP, how does the studio keep things fresh with each subsequent release? Gamasutra spoke with Beenox studio head Dee Brown at the 2012 Game Developers Conference, and he explained that the trick to staying creative is to re-evaluate the source material and create a new game design from the ground up. "I think this is what you have to do. Every now and then you have to say, 'Okay, let's put this whole thing aside and re-think the whole approach to Spider-Man," Brown said. With the Beenox's upcoming movie tie-in game The Amazing Spider-Man, the team did just that, and devised a host of new gameplay systems that give the team new problems to solve and ideas to explore, while still remaining completely faithful to the Spider-Man brand. "[Mixing things up] can be a big challenge. You might be tempted to just do one Spider-Man game and just iterate on that forever on that license. But with The Amazing Spider-Man, we re-worked all the mechanics, and that was really crucial to keeping things fresh." This time around, Beenox designed brand new outdoor and indoor sequences that emphasize traversal and stealth, respectively. Brown hopes that these contrasting gameplay styles will give the game an exciting and varied feel. "The Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions team had some real success with their last title, and now there's a lot of pressure on the team to make something fresh our players," Brown added. The Amazing Spider-Man game is set to debut this summer, corresponding with the release of the Sony Pictures film of the same name.

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