At first glance, Rhino seems like nothing more than an angry, mindless cross of rhinoceros and human DNA, bent on mowing over anything or anyone stupid enough to stand in his way. His mere appearance is known to scare many into believing that Rhino and all cross-species are abominations that must be destroyed.
Developer Q&A with Stephane Gravel, Producer, Beenox and Chris Baker, Interactive Manager, Marvel
How is Rhino different in the video game than the comic books?
Stephane: We really wanted to maintain the spirit of the film in all of the characters we worked on with Marvel for the video game. We also wanted to make sure to incorporate the core traits of his comic book character as well, which resulted in Rhino’s intriguing and complex origin. This has also allowed us to create the most animalistic and ferocious version of Rhino ever!
Chris: I think the team has done a great job of creating a “movie Rhino” without completely alienating his comic book roots. While he may not be a guy in a big rhinoceros suit like he is in the comics, we do still retain elements such as the character Aleksei Sytsevich and his ties to the Russian mafia. He’s also not entirely bright.
Why did you decide to go with a different version of the character?
Stephane: In the spirit of the film, the game is taking a new look at Spidey’s origins, including his nemeses. Building upon our main storyline, his creation is based on a genetic experiment, which also ties to the overall story arc of the game.
Chris: It’s very important to root things in the film universe, where the rules are a little bit different, but extra care has been taken to honor the comic book source material as well. I’m not sure how in depth I can get without giving away things about the movie itself, but rest assured that in addition to including the science behind how the Lizard came to be, you pretty much have to involve Oscorp in the mix – and heavily!
What more can you tell us about Rhino?
Stephane: He is a hybrid; part rhinoceros, part human. He used to be a human being, but he can’t be considered human anymore. He is driven by animalistic impulses and feelings of fear and sadness – in his current state, he’s extremely unpredictable.
Chris: It’s also notable that Rhino is the only cross-species experiment outside of the Lizard himself who was first a human being. Our fiction in the game states that even though Oscorp has continued Connors’ cross-species research, the company isn’t so corrupt as to continue experimenting on human beings – so any other cross-species enemies Spidey might come across were an animal first, crossed with human DNA. In fact, only those directly involved in the experiment on Sytsevich know that Rhino was human first – for the sake of his own reputation, Michael Morbius, who was forced to create Rhino against his will, has told everyone at Oscorp that the beast was a rhinoceros crossed with human DNA.
What are Rhino’s motivations?
Stephane: Rhino isn’t on a mission here. He wasn’t hired or out for Spider-Man’s blood. He’s escaped from Oscorp and is only looking to survive. He has been rampaging the streets of New York ever since.
Chris: And I would add that Rhino’s rampaging is also rooted deeply in sheer frustration. You have to realize, his brain was turned to such mush through the experiment that anything resembling intelligent thought simply escapes him – but at the same time, he possesses some semblance of the concept of intelligent thought because he did indeed live it as Sytsevich. He knows it’s a cool thing to have.
This is the best analogy I can make for Rhino’s current thought process, and why it leads to such frustration: You know those times in everyday life when you open your closet door to get some random trinket, but you forget what you wanted out of there in the first place? It’s pretty frustrating until you remember what you’re after a second or two later. Now, imagine that feeling, but it never ends. That’s what Rhino’s experiencing. And the “random trinket” he’s looking for is his identity and what it’s like to think like a human being. Wouldn’t that make you want to go on a rampage?
What is new and exciting about this Rhino?
Stephane: Rhino is one of the most recognizable villains of Spidey’s infamous rogues gallery. We’ve taken a fresh approach to Rhino, inspired by the tone of the movie. His origin is more grounded, more realistic. He’s a grittier, more animalistic and more visceral version of Rhino, his thoughts complicated by a vague sense of who he used to be and overwhelming feelings of fear and sorrow.
Chris: I’m definitely excited about how this new approach manages to honor both the new movie’s universe and the character’s comic book roots. But honestly, the most exciting thing is his appearance, and Beenox has simply created the most fearsome-looking interpretation of Rhino I’ve ever seen. When it comes to character design, these guys really excel.
The Amazing Spider-Man is planned to be released on June 26, 2012 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PC, Wii, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo 3DS.