Warning: This article contains minor SPOILERS for Marvel's Spider-Man.
Insomniac Games' Spider-Man for the PlayStation 4 teases the introduction of a major Marvel Comics team: the Thunderbolts. Some of the game's side quests involve Taskmaster testing Spider-Man to see if he would make a suitable recruit for an unknown team.
While the PlayStation 4 exclusive is filled with Spider-Man lore and classic characters from the wall-crawler's rogues' gallery, the game also features references to other characters and places in the Marvel Universe. While roaming New York City, players can encounter the Wakandan embassy, Avengers Tower, the Sanctum Sanctorum, and references to Iron Man, Daredevil, and more.
Some of the side quests in Spider-Man are called "Taskmaster Challenges", which include timed stealth takedowns, combat challenges, and more. Completing these challenges rewards the player with tokens they can redeem for new suits, gadgets, and other upgrades. These side quests are assigned to Spider-Man by the villain-for-hire Taskmaster. After finishing the final test, Spider-Man must battle Taskmaster himself. Apparently, Taskmaster is using the challenges as a way of testing the hero's abilities. He was hired by a mysterious organization to see if Spidey is qualified to join a team of superpowered individuals. Though it's never confirmed in the game who Taskmaster is working for, all signs point to the Thunderbolts.
In the comic books, the Thunderbolts are a team of villains who work for the government in exchange for their freedom. The team has been led by several notable Marvel heroes and villains, including Baron Zemo, Hawkeye, Luke Cage, and Red Hulk. One lineup of the Thunderbolts was actually formed by Norman Osborn, which could serve as an interesting connection to Spider-Man, especially since Osborn will likely have a major role in a potential sequel.
While Taskmaster has only a small connection to the Thunderbolts in the comics, this particular team makes the most sense. As someone who sells his services to the highest bidder, Taskmaster often finds himself in the employ of the federal government, so being a Thunderbolt fits the character well.
The mention of Taskmaster's team opens the door for a Spider-Man sequel to feature a team-up with the Thunderbolts. As the Thunderbolts aren't superheroes, their methods tend to be extremely unconventional, which could possibly make them enemies instead of allies. The roster for the group could even include some of the villains already defeated by Spider-Man, along with other characters from the various corners of the Marvel Universe.
Spider-Man is available now exclusively for the PlayStation 4.