Spider-Man, unlike many comic book heroes, has actually enjoyed a long, successful history in video games, scoring a few genuine hits across the PlayStation 2 and PS3 eras. Even so, when Sony announced a PlayStation 4-exclusive Spider-Man title at E3 2016, it opened up the possibility to take the webslinging hero to new heights. With revered studio Insomniac Games developing Peter Parker’s next interactive adventure, the popular hero appears to be in good hands.
While the debut trailer showed off flashy action sequences and a slightly revamped suit (spider logos are large and white, red boots are now slippers), little concrete information was revealed. Since then, we’ve seen Spider-Man sling across the city at E3 2017 and at Paris Games Week. Here’s everything we know about Spider-Man ahead of its expected 2018 launch.
The story as we know it
Ditching the age-old origin story dynamic, this Spider-Man game follows Peter Parker a few years after becoming the eponymous hero. He’s 23 years old and has already been fighting crime for eight years. No longer the clumsy, green hero that could occasionally get himself into trouble, Insomniac described him as “an athlete in the prime of his career.” Much of the game’s story centers on Peter balancing his dual lives of being a normal, nerdy citizen and also a superhero.
Along with a slightly different Peter, this game also gives us a different take on other characters. In the E3 2017 trailer, we see Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin, playing an evil-ish role, though Spider-Man saves him from certain death, indicating their relationship isn’t as cut-and-dried as you might expect.
The 2017 trailer introduced us to a group called the Demons, led by a nefarious individual known as Mister Negative, who has an array of interesting superpowers, both physical and mental. It’s his command of both the Darkforce and Lightforce, however, which could be truly troubling for our red-suited hero. Although not everything he does appears to strictly adhere to canon, as with Spidey’s relationships with some characters, Insomniac may well have tweaked Negative to be a more threatening villain.
Sony hasn’t thrown out the source material entirely. During the E3 2017 clip, we discovered that Spidey is collaborating with Captain Yuriko Watanabe of the New York Police Department, who previously worked with Spider-Man in the comics to take down Mister Negative, aka Martin Li. If Insomniac has drawn other inspirations from the comics, Watanabe may even don some confiscated weaponry and become a superhero in her own right.
Insomniac also stirred the rumor pot with a quick shot in the E3 2017 trailer of alternate Spider-Man Miles Morales capturing a video of Spidey on his smartphone.
Miles Morales’ role in the game may be bigger than we initially thought if the Paris Games Week trailer (at the top of this post) is any indication. In the trailer, we learned Fisk is in jail and Peter Parker is struggling to figure out what to do without the city in need of Spider-Man (at the moment). The trailer provided our first look of our hero in street clothes, an aspect not used in previous Spider-Man games. He takes a job at a soup kitchen Aunt May works with called F.E.A.S.T. (Food, Emergency, Aid, Shelter, Training). The organization was founded by Martin Li (the aforementioned Mister Negative). Peter also brings Miles to work at F.E.A.S.T., suggesting that the two may become close throughout the game.
Additionally, Mary Jane Watson, who is working as a journalist for the Daily Bugle, will be playable at certain points in the game. Speaking to Engadget, creative director Bryan Intihar said her involvement will focus on her work as a reporter.
The trailer also shows that Norman Osborn (the human counterpart to the Green Goblin) is running for mayor of New York City.
As the trailer hints, everything is not as it seems for Peter Parker. With Fisk away, he now will have to deal with Mister Negative, perhaps Norman Osborn, and the supervillain Shocker, who is shown robbing a bank in the latest trailer.
Insomniac gave us a good look at the upcoming game’s combat system in its latest E3 trailer. In a fight with a group of Demons. Spider-Man uses his web to haul one of the enemies up and out of the fight entirely, before descending on the others and striking out with more typical martial abilities. In combat, Spider-Man doesn’t necessarily just have to focus on the enemies in front of him — certain items in the environment can also be used to dispatch baddies. Scaffolding can collapse and cranes can be dropped on unsuspecting goons’ heads, all while Parker remains hidden several yards away. Defensively, his spider sense manifests as a red-indicator giving him advanced warning of impending attacks.
In a fight shown during E3 2017, Spider-Man takes on a hulking enemy enhanced by Mister Negative. The player is given a number of onscreen indicators for his own attack options, as well as a warning for what types of attacks are incoming. Options for the former include strikes and throws, as well as the ability to sling objects at them. Defensively, Spider Man has quick-time button prompts for avoiding incoming attacks, as well as countering them.
Saving the city isn’t all about knocking out bad guys, though. In one scene in the trailer, Spider Man has to prevent a huge crane from tumbling down onto the pedestrian-filled streets below. This proved a perfect opportunity to showcase Spider Man’s ability to run up walls, using fantastical twirling jump maneuvers and webbing to secure fragmented sections of the crane against the side of a building. Following a bout with Mister Negative himself inside a helicopter, we again saw Spidey save the city by using his webbing to slow the helicopter’s fall by attaching it to skyscrapers. Players were given button prompts for such actions during the fall, highlighting how Insomniac has chosen to handle these sort of set pieces.
It’s not all indicators
While combat and big moments in the game may use a lot of button prompts, the trailers made clear that this Spider-Man game will let players swing around New York City much more freely. It will act as an open world where Parker must deal with his dual life as a young adult with “great powers” and a career while managing the many evolving relationships in his life. Spider-Man‘s New York will be the largest open world that Insomniac has ever created, and it was partially inspired by the studio’s work on the Xbox One exclusive Sunset Overdrive.
The Paris Games Week trailer made it clear that your time playing as Peter Parker will be important to the narrative. What’s unclear is how much time you will spend outside of your suit.
When can you sling across New York City?
Spider-Man will be a PlayStation 4 exclusive, and hit stores in 2018. We’ll continue to update this article as more information comes to light.
Update: Added information on Mary Jane and open world.