At E3 2017, one of the biggest darlings of the show was the new Spider-Man game being made exclusively for PlayStation. A year after being announced at the previous year’s expo, a brand new gameplay demo was unveiled at Sony’s big press event, where it closed the show and reportedly brought the house down. It was the talk of the town, and you couldn’t go anywhere at E3 without hearing people rave about it. Afterward, the breathtaking footage that was shown snagged the game nominations for more than 25 “Game of Show” awards, several of which it won.
So aside from being a superhero game that lets you play as Spider-Man, aka Peter Parker, what else is known about this amazing-looking title? Who’s making it? How soon can you get your hands on it, and what will you be able to do in the game once you have it? What familiar Spidey characters will be in it, and what part will they play? What kind of story is being told? What sets this title apart from other wall-crawling gaming titles of the past?
And seriously, what’s the deal with that crazy-but-cool new costume, anyway?
Here’s Everything We Know About Marvel’s Spider-Man PS4 Game.
12. What, Where, & When
Marvel’s Spider-Man is the official title of the next video game to star everyone’s favorite wall-crawler. It’s being crafted by Insomniac Games, the developer behind the Ratchet & Clank series, the Resistance games, and most recently, Sunset Overdrive. Spider-Man represents the first time Insomniac has created a game around a licensed property; every prior title the studio has been behind was an original IP.
Sunset Overdrive was a gonzo, over-the-top action fest that showcased incredible fluidity of movement and spectacular parkour moves. So when it was announced at E3 2016 that the folks behind Sunset Overdrive‘s awesome moves were set to create the web-slinger’s next video game outing, it sounded like a home run. Marvel’s Spider-Man is even being built on a modified version of the Overdrive engine.
Marvel’s Spider-Man is due to arrive sometime in 2018 — Insomniac won’t get more specific than that yet — and like all Insomniac titles, it will be exclusive to PlayStation. It will run on both PlayStation 4 and PS4 Pro.
11. A whole new world
Unlike past Spider-Man games, such as the ones based on the Tobey Maguire or Andrew Garfield movies, or the Ultimate Spider-Man game based on the comic book of the same name, this title isn’t tied to any existing continuity. This Spidey exists in his own universe, a conscious design decision that allows Insomniac to mix and match the usual ingredients and come up with a concoction that’s wholly unique.
It’s obvious, but it’s worth pointing out: the genius of this is that Insomniac isn’t beholden to the plot points of any Spider-Man stories that have come before. Think about that. It’s the Spidey you know and love, but the details can be entirely fresh. Is Gwen Stacy dead in this universe, thanks to Green Goblin? Where’s MJ? Does Aunt May know Peter’s secret? Has Spider-Man ever been an Avenger? No one knows yet, and that’s part of the fun.
10. Peter’s not a kid anymore
In this game, you play as an older, more experienced Spider-Man. At 23 years old, Peter Parker has been a superhero for eight years already. He’s reached the height of his abilities, mastering his spider powers and acrobatic skills. Insomniac likens him to an Olympic athlete in his prime. Another sign of his maturity is that instead of being wanted by the police, he’s working with them. In the E3 2017 demo, Spider-Man had a direct audio line to the chief of Police, Yuriko Watanabe. (In the comics, Yuriko becomes a hero known as Wraith.)
This Peter Parker has just recently graduated from college and gotten his first job — as a scientist intern at a laboratory. According to the developer, the identity of Peter’s boss will surprise you. But just because he’s an adult doesn’t mean our hero’s got his life together. Far from it. This is Peter Parker, after all. Insomniac understands that it’s not the fancy moves or witty quips that are the beating heart of Spider-Man, Peter is. His everyman human struggles are what define him. So you can expect to see, and play as, Peter Parker — a lot.
“It’s the story of the man behind the mask as much as the man in it,” according to Creative Director Bryan Intihar. According to IMDb, that man is voiced by Yuri Rosenthal, a voice actor who’s performed the same role in games like Spider-Man Unlimited, Marvel Super Hero Squad Online, and Marvel Pinball.
9. Next-level web-slinging
A huge emphasis is being placed on Spidey’s movements, both in combat and traversing across the city, and you’ll see him switch from one to the other seamlessly. Most impressively, all of Spider-Man’s movements are 100% physics-based. So as he’s swinging around the city, any object or surface he encounters is instantly adapted and incorporated into his movements.
He might be swinging one second and then touching a building the next, so our hero will run across its surface, sideways, before continuing with another web-swing a moment later. None of this slows the game or the wall-crawler’s movements in any way.
Even the little details have been considered, such as how Spider-Man realistically swings through the city. Anytime the web-head has been depicted in a video game before now, shooting a web line to swing on has resulted in him firing a white line up into the empty space off screen. It doesn’t actually attach to anything; it’s just there to give the illusion of swinging from something. In Marvel’s Spider-Man, every web line you shoot attaches to a building or other object that’s in the game world, and the physics and momentum of how you swing are determined by where and how it’s attached.
8. That old Arkham feeling
Watching that E3 2017 demo, it’s easy to pick up on a Batman: Arkham vibe, with free, fluid movements all around New York City and fast, creative fight moves designed to make you feel what it’s really like to be Spider-Man. The game’s mechanics seem designed to do exactly that — much like the Arkham games wanted you to “be the Batman.”
You might be swinging along on a web line — not entirely unlike a certain grappling gun — with a huge, wide view of Manhattan’s buildings and streets spread out before you. But as soon as you enter combat, the camera zooms in nice and close, so you get a great view of every punch, kick, flip, and web maneuver.
And boy, does Spidey have some amazing moves. Not only will he flip and twist and do all sorts of acrobatics in the midst of combat, he’ll grab onto objects in the environment with his web shooters and use them as weapons, as well. In the demo, he pulled on a crane to knock out a few baddies, and later, he grabbed a big brick in the same way and swung it around in a full circle before slamming it into a larger enemy. While these moves (and, of course, the web shooters) are entirely unique to Spider-Man, the mechanics at work here will immediately remind gamers of how the Arkham games were constructed.
7. Manhattan is your playground
Using photo reference and detailed maps, Insomniac’s developers are recreating a realistic, digital version of Manhattan for Marvel’s Spider-Man. It’s stylized, of course, but it still feels believable. Size wise, it’s said to be at least four times the size of Insomniac’s Sunset Overdrive world.
The best part: all of Manhattan is wide open for you to freely roam and explore. See something that looks interesting? Swing over to it and check it out. Intihar says that this Manhattan is fully available to players from the outset, with no sections waiting to be unlocked as the story plays out.
The developer isn’t saying yet how many buildings Spider-Man will be able to enter, but the demo showed him running through two office high-rises as part of a massive chase sequence. Granted, that could have simply been part of the game level on display in the demo, but we’re holding onto hope that it means you’ll be able to go inside anyplace, anytime you want. Because how cool would it be to use indoor environments to your advantage just as much as you use the outdoors, seamlessly transitioning between the two?
6. Spider-Man’s been upgraded
Perhaps taking a page from Spider-Man: Homecoming, this video game version of Spidey is sporting a high-tech suit that’s full of technological wonders. One detailed look at the hero’s new look quickly gives you an idea of how impressively advanced it is.
His web-shooters alone are full of nifty new tricks, such as a web tripwire that was triggered at one point in the demo, stopping a villain in his tracks. These slick upgrades come thanks to Peter’s scientist skills and those eight years of experience he’s racked up before the game begins. He’s also got retractable lenses, similar to Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in the movies. Peter has clearly put his ingenuity to work, adding all sorts of new tech to his shooters and other equipment. Some of those tricks can be seen in the E3 demo, and we can’t wait to see what else he has hidden up his sleeve.
5. Suiting up
Much has already been said and debated about concerning the look and design of Spider-Man’s suit in the game. It’s definitely not the spider-suit fans are used to, particularly with its giant white spider emblem plastered across the entire torso. Parts of it, like the shoulders, almost look like body armor.
Insomniac won’t say why it designed a whole new suit for its take on Spider-Man instead of using a more familiar costume. But Intihar assures fans that there’s a good reason for the new look, and that it’s explained in the game. Of course, part of the change is likely to help signify Marvel’s Spider-Man‘s aforementioned distance from established continuities.
If it doesn’t strike your fancy, don’t fret. Insomniac has confirmed that alternate costumes will be available to wear in the game. No word on what those might be yet, but you can bet that his most popular looks from both the comics and the movies will be stashed away in Peter’s wardrobe.
4. A Strict No-Kill Policy
So in a big, open world with dangerous and reckless bad guys running around with no qualms about taking lives…can Peter Parker ever use deadly force to stop them? Or could he accidentally cause someone to die?
Much like Batman in the Arkham series, Marvel’s Spider-Man will never allow its hero to kill. Even death by negligence isn’t possible; automated animations are built in to ensure that Spidey always uses his sweet moves to keep people from biting the big one — including the bad guys.
Of course, saving lives is a big part of Spider-Man’s job. In the demo, he goes to great lengths to stop big, heavy objects from falling to the ground where pedestrians would surely be flattened. But what if someone gets carelessly flung out a window in the middle of a fight? Spider-Man instantly grabs them with a web line and swings them back to safety — and players don’t have to do anything to make that happen.
That’s not to say that no one will die in the game. Character deaths are entirely possible, and buried deep within the plot secrets only Insomniac knows. But as far as the gameplay where you the player are in control, killing is physically impossible.
3. The bad guys
Insomniac is promising enemies a’ plenty from Spider-Man’s rogues gallery, but most of their identities are being kept a closely guarded secret. What’s been revealed so far is that the game begins with a mission where Spider-Man takes down the Kingpin, aka Wilson Fisk. Not long after the big guy lands in jail, a new street gang called the Inner Demons begins moving in on Fisk’s old territory. Of course, Spider-Man can’t allow this, so he swings into action to put a stop to the new gang and discover the identity of their leader.
In a surprise reveal, as seen in the E3 2017 demo, it’s shown that the Inner Demons are led by Mr. Negative, aka humanitarian philanthropist Martin Li. Mr. Negative is a highly dangerous villain with the ability to manipulate “negative energy,” and he’s somehow passed this power on to his henchmen. He’s also one of the most recent additions to Spidey’s laundry list of villains, just debuting back in 2008. Marvel’s Spider-Man will be the first time the creepy Mr. Negative has been depicted in a video game.
2. The scale of the story is massive
Marvel’s Spider-Man has a humongous story according to Insomniac, one that’s full of twists and surprises. There are very few clues about what the overarching plot will be, but Intihar says to expect plenty of human drama from Peter Parker’s everyday life alongside all the superheroics.
When Martin Li, aka Mr. Negative, showed up in the demo, it was mentioned in one developer commentary that he runs the F.E.A.S.T. homeless shelter in town — which Aunt May volunteers at. So May is in the game, and her involvement with Li’s organization is certain to play some part in the story. Another little nugget from the E3 demo comes from posters and signs seen around Manhattan showing that Norman Osborn, aka the Green Goblin, is currently the Mayor of New York — and he’s running for reelection! Whether or not that means he’s remained active as the web-slinger’s arch-nemesis the Green Goblin remains to be seen.
Intihar also says that there will be a huge cast of characters beyond just the villains. Mr. Negative’s inclusion makes it obvious that Insomniac is willing to incorporate fresh faces and newer storylines that old-school Spidey fans may not be familiar with.
1. Miles Morales has arrived!
The end of the demo featured a surprise cameo from none other than Miles Morales, the newest comic wall-crawler who debuted in Ultimate Spider-Man. Miles has since migrated to the primary Marvel Universe in the pages of Marvel Comics, where he now also operates under the superhero name Spider-Man.
His appearance in the game suggests that two Spider-Men may exist in Insomniac’s universe, but Insomniac isn’t ready to tell yet if Miles Morales will don his red and black tights and fight crime alongside Peter Parker or not. But according to behind-closed-doors reports, community manager James Stevenson has said that Miles will have a “far bigger part than just a cameo.” Intihar, meanwhile, has hinted that Miles may appear as part of Team Spider-Man.
Might we expect to see more heroes from the Spider-verse? Spider-Gwen? Silk? Scarlet Spider? Spider-Man 2099? Spider-Girl? Spider-Man Noir? Any, all, or none could show up, but we’d love to see them — even if it’s just as a little fan service in the background. Like everything else about Marvel’s Spider-Man, we’ll have to wait until 2018 to find out.
Will you be the first in line to buy Spider-Man‘s latest video game adventure? How do you think it’s shaping up so far? Let us know in the comments.