(MINOR SPOILERS FOR PS4 SPIDER-MAN)
John Paquette is a game designer and writer known for his work on Sunset Overdrive, Resistance 3, and Medal of Honor: Airborne. John was recently the lead writer for the video game Spider-Man for the PlayStation 4, releasing worldwide September 7, 2018.
That Hashtag Show spoke with John on the floor at E3 2018 about the game’s inspirations, new takes on characters, downloadable content, what he’s excited for players to experience, and adapting the villain Mr. Negative to the video game.
THS: I’m here with Jon Paquette the writer Spider-Man the highly anticipated new game. I’m super excited about this. I just got to try the demo and I was really impressed with the gameplay. How good the web-slinging felt and how if I spent hours I could master this. The first thing I was wondering though was, and I’m sure a lot you were wondering was, this game, this story, was it inspired from any of the comics or movies? Or is it completely original?
Jon: It’s a completely original story. What we did when we started the project, we read all the comics, played all the games, watched all the movies.
THS: That’s fun.
Jon: Well, research right? And then we decided to forget it all and create our own story. We kind of imbued ourselves with the mythos Spider-Man and then tried to create our own.
THS: There must have been certain stories, or animations, or something, that where your like, “I love that. That’s got to be in it.” Or something like that. Were there any moments like that?
Jon: Oh, sure. Tons of moments like that. We pay homage to quite a few those throughout the game. But I think the most unique thing for us, you know focusing on a different age for Peter Parker. A different sort of modern version of who he is.
THS: Along with the story, I noticed one character named Yuri Watanabe. I don’t remember ever hearing that name or of Spider-Man ever having a sidekick in his helmet.
John: Yeah, she’s a character from the comics. We changed it up a little bit, so she and Spider-Man are sort of partners. She helps Spider-Man figure out where there’s crimes out in the city, what’s happening.
THS: A more mature, efficient Spider-Man.
THS: I love the new costume. And I’ve heard some people who just, they love the classic costume. You can’t get away from the classic. Will there be options for different costumes?
John: Absolutely. Yeah, allowing you to switch your outfits, your costumes. And put on any suit that you want, including the classic suit..
THS: Nice. We got to see the Shocker, as one of the bosses, the mini-boss event in the game. His design, along with the new costume looked really cool. And it made me wonder, I started to wonder, to fantasize about all the different villains that Spider-Man has. You probably can’t fit everybody, but in that case was, is there plans for DLC or extra content to include some of these?
John: Yeah. We’ve already announced some DLC, that will be having, after the main game launches. Absolutely.
THE GAME PLAY
THS: Nice exciting. So in terms of the game design, what would you say is the thing you’re most excited for people to see?
John: I think it’s the whole package. You mentioned earlier, swinging. It really feels like you’re Spider-Man. But there is some skill to it as well. The combat is really smooth and fluid. It’s easy to pick up and play, but there’s a lot of depth there and a lot of progression. Just the overall vibe of being Spider-Man. The thing I can’t wait for fans to experience is just what it’s like swinging around the city and being in Spider-Man’s shoes and Peter Parker’s shoes.
THS: I got to play the demo and playing the combat the first time was like, “Okay, I see how I can easily defeat the guys.” But at the same time, the more I played it, the more combos and things I saw you can do. If I actually practiced this thing. I literally thought in my mind, “I don’t have time to practice this right now. But, wow it’d be cool if I did this, this, this.” I just started imagining that. And there’s probably going to be some cool videos of people doing some cool tricks.
John: I can’t wait. I can’t wait. Even at the office, when we’re playing every day, I see moves that people pull off. And I’m like, “Oh! How did you do that?!” I want to learn how to do that.
THS: Which actor or Spider-Man iteration did you draw the most inspiration from. Which was the one that you were like, “I’m gonna view this one…”
John: So in terms of where we drew the most inspiration from, I think it was from all the sources, really. There wasn’t one specific one that we chose and said, “Oh, we’re going to be most like that one.” We read the comics, like I said, we watched all the movies, played the games. And we kind of took the ones, that the influences that we really enjoyed, that we liked. That we felt would fit our story. Because, like I said, this is a completely original story. It’s our own take on Spider-Man, a more modern take…Yeah, there you go.
THS: One last question. Mr. Negative is one of my favorite villains . . .
John: Awesome! Good.
THS: But he’s always been like, I guess in my mind impossible to conceive in a lot of ways. How did you go about animating Mr. Negative?
John: A lot of people, a lot of fans don’t really know Mr. Negative the villain. So we wanted to, we knew it was a really cool opportunity for us. Especially in a game, to have somebody with some really cool powers like that, and to have a guy who has all his inner demons, his minions. And they have all kinds of weapons. Great for gameplay. So we just worked really hard on fleshing out his character. His powers, we wrote a bunch up of ideas up, where he got his powers and all that kind of stuff. We took some inspiration from the comics, but we also twisted some ideas of our own in there.
THS: So when can fans expect to get their hands on this game?
John: September 7th. Coming up fast. Can’t wait.