Sony revealed that Insomniac Games was working on an exclusive Marvel-sanctioned title for the PlayStation 4 based on Spider-Man at E3 2016. The announcement clip was your typical introductory trailer cramming lots of different action-packed scenes frantically together to get PlayStation 4 owners wanting more. Now with E3 2017 behind us, we have a bit more information.
In the upcoming Spider-Man game, we see a slight spin on the traditional red/blue suit design. The spider logos on his chest and back are large and white, and the tops of his hands and sides of his wrists are covered in a white protective layer as well. The red boots are gone, replaced by only what could be described as red slippers. On a whole, the big white spiders on the updated suit provide a better player-to-character visual connection as Spidey jumps, dodges, and swings on-screen.
The story as we know it
According to Sony, this story takes place a number of years after Peter Parker became Spider-Man. He’s 23 years old, as confirmed by the game’s “Inside Look” trailer, and has already been fighting crime for eight years. Insomniac describes him as “an athlete in the prime of his career,” no longer the clumsy green hero that could occasionally get himself into trouble with his powers. Much of the game’s story centers on Peter’s dual lives of being a normal, nerdy citizen and a superhero.
Sony also says the game resides in an all-new Spider-Man universe where players will see familiar faces playing “unfamiliar” roles, thus players should expect the unexpected.
Based on the E3 2017 trailer, we still see Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin, playing an evil-ish role. Spidey confirmed this as he chased down a helicopter through New York City. “Saving bad guys from bad guys,” he commented as he hopped from building to building. “Not how I thought today would go.”
Although we saw bits and pieces of the conflict in last year’s reveal trailer, the 2017 version played a nine-minute scenario that began with Spidey scoping a group called the Demons causing trouble. They were up to no good on a piece of property owned by Fisk, who before going to prison began constructing a skyscraper. It’s here we see how players maneuver Spider-Man and take down the masked goons with various web-based attacks.
After saving one of Fisk’s men from the Demons, Spidey intercepted an incoming call on the victim’s phone. It was the Kingpin himself, and he tasked Spidey to keep his men alive in order to find out who was leading the Demons. Eventually, we discovered that to be Mister Negative, a villain who goes by the stolen identity of Martin Li. He has an array of powers including shape-shifting, corrupting touch, healing touch, and the ability to empower people and objects. He also has superhuman strength when in his “negative” state.
That said, Mister Negative commands the Darkforce and Lightforce. In the gameplay clip, he seemed to have the ability to amplify his corrupting touch into a lighting-type strike. But, as Sony states, this particular version of the Spider-Man universe is different, so Insomniac may have tweaked Mister Negative’s abilities to be a bit more intimidating.
During the E3 2017 clip, we also discovered that Spidey is collaborating with Captain Yuriko Watanabe of the New York Police Department. She works with Spider-Man in the comics to take down Mister Negative, so her appearance in the game shouldn’t be surprising for Marvel Comics readers.
In the clip, she revealed that one of Li’s fronts is managing shelters for the homeless. In the comics, Li managed a volunteer soup kitchen while lurking in the shadows as a Chinatown crime boss. Aunt May and Eddie Brock helped run this kitchen too, a detail that could be one of the emotional conflicts in the game’s story.
On a side note, Watanabe confiscates weapons from Mysterio and other villains to become Wraith in the comics. Right now, we don’t know if this will happen in Insomniac’s Spider-Man game, but there is a possibility she will take arms, become Wraith, and stand by Spidey’s side to defeat Mister Negative and his clan of Demons in the end.
Finally, at the end of the E3 2017 clip, we saw Miles Morales capturing Spider-Man’s heroics on a smartphone. He eventually becomes Spider-Man after the death of Peter Parker. That doesn’t mean Parker will die in the game given Insomniac’s Spider-Man has a different storyline, but Morales’ participation in the story is interesting nonetheless.
Based on what we’ve seen so far, the gameplay in Spider-Man will be insane. For instance, when the player attacked a group a Demons lurking around Fisk’s property, Spidey jumped into the air and the player pressed the triangle button to hone in on the Fisk employee held captive. Once pressed, Spidey fired his web-slingers and the victim was pulled up and out of the fight that was about to begin. During the actual fight, Spidey’s spider-sense appeared on-screen as a red illumination covering each striking opponent, warning him of danger before they could complete their individual attacks.
Further on in the gameplay, we saw Spidey take on a rather large, hulking brute enhanced by Mister Negative. During the battle, the game flashed an icon, indicating that players could perform an attack, or grab and sling objects at the opponent using his web-shooters. On the spider-sense side, the opponent had a red hue and varying button designations above his head, indicating that the player needed to mash that button in order to avoid a direct hit. Icons also appeared around the scene, indicating that Spidey could jump and escape to those points.
In one scene, Spidey had to prevent a huge crane from tumbling down onto the pedestrian-filled streets below. It’s here that we need to point out that Spidey can run up the sides of buildings and objects (rather than crawl), and in this case, he ran up the spine of the crane to reach the top. Pressing ‘X’ had Spidey perform a twirling jump maneuver to secure fragmented sections of the crane against the side of a building using his webbing.
Toward the end of the clip, Spidey jumped into the helicopter used by Mister Negative. After a few bouts with the villain, Spidey ruined the vehicle’s engine and it began to plummet. As the descent began, the game visually alerted the player of two places where Spidey could sling his webbing in order to slow the helicopter’s fall using skyscrapers. Once the player pressed L2 and R2, Spidey fired his webbing, swung the helicopter down a busy street, and fired his shooters again to secure the vehicle between another pair of skyscrapers as it descended again.
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.
As for the remaining details we know about this game thus far, it will be an open world that enables players to swing freely throughout New York City. 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 at the same time.
Spider-Man will be a PlayStation 4 exclusive sometime during 2018. Until then, we have loads of E3 2017 coverage here. The Spider-Man trailer shown at E3 2016 is provided above.