'Spider-Man 3' video game a blockbuster
With the video game version of "Spider-Man 3" and its theatrical counterpart
hitting the United States on Friday, we're not just seeing the continuation of a
hugely successful movie franchise.
We're seeing the continuation of a video game franchise that's hugely
successful in its own right.
"As popular as 'Spider-Man' is in the movie world, he's as popular in the
video game world," says Bryan Intihar, Previews Editor for the video game
magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly.
Activision's video game versions of the last two "Spider-Man" movies have
grossed a staggering $462 million in the United States, according to market
research firm NPD.
That's almost $100 million more than what the "Spider-Man 2" movie took in at
the box office.
Usually, Intihar points out, you only see video game legends like "Grand
Theft Auto" or "Halo" pulling those kinds of numbers.
The "Spider-Man" games have won commercial and critical kudos for their
mostly faithful re-creations of the movies, and for a unique "open environment"
that allows players to fight bad guys and swing through a dizzyingly accurate
virtual recreation of Manhattan.
Activision's Neven Dravinski also credits the cooperation his "Spider-Man 3"
team received from the movie's director, studio and stars (most of the film's
cast, including, Tobey McGuire, do voice work for the game).
Dravinski says early in the film's production the gamemakers were able to see
storyboards and initial special effects shots from some of the "Spider-Man 3"
film's more memorable action sequences, including Peter Parker's nighttime
aerial battle with the Green Goblin and Spider-Man's subway confrontation with
Both sequences are featured in the game.
"Thankfully," Dravinski says, "we were able to see a lot of these sequences
early and get a sense of what [the filmmakers] were doing."
The new "Spider-Man 3" game includes enhanced powers and new combat moves for
Spidey; a bigger and more lifelike rendering of Manhattan; and storylines that
diverge from the movie, including Spidey's battles against three elaborate
street gangs that threaten to take over parts of New York (think "Spider-Man"
meets "The Warriors").
Sure, the "Spider-Man" games can never match the popular action shooters for
edge-of-your seat, pulse-pounding thrills (Spidey's gaming appeal has always
been more "Wee!" than "Wow!").
But their re-creations of some well-loved movies, and of one well-loved
character, may be what set them apart.
Still bleary-eyed after having unveiled the game at "Spider-Man 3" movie
premieres in London, England, and Japan, Activision's Dravinski brightens at the
memory of the reception the game got from fans. "At every premiere, I was the
most popular guy because every kid, and every 40-year-old kid, would be like:
'Oh, my God -- Spider-Man!' "
It's that kind of international enthusiasm that makes for successful video
By Sid Lipsey, CNN