One of the biggest surprises in recent gaming history the reveal that Insomniac Games would be making a PS4-exclusive Spider-Man title. Since then, we’ve been scouring the internet and conventions alike for any minute detail we could get our hands on to try to piece together more of what is shaping up to be one of the biggest releases of 2018. Here is a comprehensive list of everything we know, everything we think we know, and everything we want to know about the web-slinger’s latest gaming jaunt. If you love Spidey as much as we do, are just curious about what Insomniac has been working on since Sunset Overdrive, or are even just getting into all things Marvel, this guide is for you.
What we know we know
What do we know about Spider-Man‘s story? This new Spider-Man game is taking place in another alternate universe from what is considered the main Marvel canon of Earth-616. Here, Peter Parker is 23 years old and in his prime as Spider-Man. Instead of being the freelance photographer we typically see him as, Peter is a struggling scientist and Mary Jane, his lovely and iconic red-headed girlfriend is the photog, shifting her behind the camera and away from her more traditional modeling gigs. Aunt May is younger than the comics, but not as young as the Marisa Tomei version in the recent movies, and works at a local non-profit owned by philanthropist Martin Li. Miles Morales, the popular new Spider-Man from the comics, takes a backseat but still finds an interesting way into the universe as Peter’s best friend.
When you get past these little detail shifts, there is a true Spider-Man story here at the core. Much like in the comics, Martin Li is actually the alter-ego of Mr. Negative, a relatively new Spider-Man villain who possess superhuman strength, the ability to project dark energy blasts, cure people with a touch, and control their minds. He is the exact opposite of the overly generous Martin, and it’s unclear if the two personas are even aware of one another in this universe. (They aren’t at first in the comic books, sort of like the Hulk originally wasn’t aware of Banner in his early years.) Obviously, you can imagine the trouble a villain being so close to Aunt May might cause Spidey. All the meanwhile, Mr. Negative, who’s relatively new on the New York crime scene, is embroiled in a gang war with Wilson Fisk, better known as the Kingpin. Although Spider-Man is set to take care of the Kingpin relatively early in the game, you can bet that will have repercussions throughout the narrative as Spidey looks once more to save the day and get to bottom of what are surely much larger machinations from Mr. Negative.
Who is writing the story? There are three writers at the head of Spider-Man‘s narrative. Jon Paquette has been writing for Insomniac for about a decade now and penned both Resistance 3 and Sunset Overdrive. He has partnered up with Marvel’s Dan Slott and Christos Gage. Slott started writing Amazing Spider-Man after J. Michael Straczynski’s controversial “One More Day” in 2008 and took over as the primary writer for the series in 2010. He has worked on arcs like “Spider-Island” and “Big Time,” which paved the way for Superior Spider-Man, in which Doc Ock’s mind was put into Peter Parker’s body. Gage joined Slott in 2011 in writing Spider-Man until both moved onto other projects in 2014. Slott and Gage do have some game-writing experience, with Slott having penned Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions and Gage has worked on some movie game adaptations like Captain America: Super Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Okay, that last one might not inspire some confidence, but this seems like a pretty solid team overall to be tackling Spider-Man in an original adventure.
What kind of gameplay can we expect from Spider-Man? Spider-Man is going to be an open-world game where Spidey will use his iconic web-swinging to get around New York City. One of the key tenants of the game is to make you feel like Spider-Man right from the get-go. This means all of Spidey’s most iconic powers will be available as soon as you press start. Whether or not there will be a progression system that will increase the effectiveness of these powers is yet to be seen, but from the sound of things you’ll be wall-crawling and webbing bad guys all game long.
With the game’s engine being a modified version of what was used in Sunset Overdrive, Spider-Man’s movement was a key focus for the game. Spidey will be parkouring a bit as he bounces around a variety of play spaces, and swings around the city. It also paves the way for a lot of environment interaction, some of which has been seen in trailer and gameplay demos, like what was shown at E3 2017 where Spider-Man used items in a construction site to help knock out Mr. Negative’s henchmen. You’ll also be able to use your webbing in close-quarters combat to pull off some truly special combos. There are also stealth options so you’re not always running directly into a fray, and quicktime events for those truly epic action sequences.
Players will also get to play certain sections of the game as Peter Parker to try to get a sense of Peter’s life outside the spider-suit, and even as Mary Jane, whose instincts as an investigative photojournalist will surely come in handy.
The Basics (skip)
Who is making Spider-man? Spider-Man is being developed by Insomniac Games. In Insomniac’s 22-year history, this is its first game based off a licensed product. The studio is most likely best known for the Ratchet & Clank and Resistance series, or most recently, Sunset Overdrive. The game is being published by Sony Interactive Entertainment.
What platforms is the game launching on? Spider-Man is a PlayStation 4 exclusive.
When will Spider-Man release? Currently, Spider-Man has a rather nebulous release date of the first half of 2018. Considering there wasn’t even a playable demo of the game at PSX 2017, though, we wouldn’t be surprised if that slips into the late summer/early fall of 2018 and that we don’t hear a more solid date until E3 2018.
Where can I see some of that sweet Spider-Man action? The most recent trailer showing off our favorite wall-crawler was released during Paris Games Week 2017 and can be seen right here:
What we think we know
Will this tie-in at all to other Marvel games, comics, or movie universes? Even with the flood of Marvel properties hitting us over the next few years in terms of huge comic book events, major movie releases, and even other games like Square Enix’s top-secret Avengers project, we are fairly confident that this Spider-Man game is an entity unto itself and will not connect in any way, shape, or form to pre-existing or soon-to-exist canon. That’s not to say that this version of Spider-Man can’t get his own little universe with sequels and whatnot if it does well, though.
What we still want to know
What other villains will be in the game? We know the Kingpin and Mr. Negative are at the crux of the conflict we’ve seen thus far from the game, but much like Batman, Spider-Man is often defined by his rogues gallery. In this most recent trailer we saw small-time villain Shocker make an appearance in a bank heist, and we know in this world that Norman Osborn is actually the mayor of New York. Whether Norman is pre-, post-, or currently acting as the Green Goblin is yet to be seen. We have to assume there will be more villains roaming around New York for us to take on, though. Doctor Octopus or the symbiotes are likely too much to ask if this is truly going to be a gang-related conflict (maybe in the sequel), but Vulture, Rhino, Electro, and other smaller, yet still classic villains, would fit nicely into the hired muscle aspect of a larger conflict. Considering the writing team, villains like Swarm also come to mind as possibilities.
Can we play as Miles Morales? It’s an intriguing choice to make Miles Morales the best friend of Peter Parker in this new universe, since this is a character who becomes Spider-Man in the comics. Some would even say he makes a better Spider-Man than Peter. It might not make sense in this story, but it’d be disappointing if Miles didn’t at least don the red and blue spandex. Maybe it’ll be a post-credits unlockable.
What kind of side activities will we find in the open-world? So far everything we’ve seen with Spider-Man has been story related. We know there will be times where we play as Peter Parker or even Mary Jane, but how does that tie into the story or the larger universe as a whole here? Will there be picture taking side missions as MJ, or petty crime missions with Spidey? We’re excited for the open world, but if it’s not properly populated with content, it might be for naught.
How big is the open-world? New York City is a pretty big place and Spider-Man’s adventures usually take him all over the city, but how much of the city will we actually be able to traverse? Some Spider-Man games in the past have taken us across several boroughs, and with the current level of tech in gaming, it would be pretty disappointing if this wasn’t the largest Spider-Man game yet.