With Sony’s Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 less than a month away, hype for the expanded open world, web-swinging sequel is steadily climbing. Insomniac and Sony have begun putting out screenshots of the cityscape and the characters, and have been dropping more information through trailers and State of Play showings, but they are remaining understandably tight lipped on the specifics of the story, outside of what can be gleaned from the released materials.
So, with that in mind, we’re going over what Peter, Miles and the wider Spidey-team went through in the first two games, ready to dive in to Spider-Man 2 when it launches on October 20th. This article contains spoilers for Marvel’s Spider-Man (2018) and Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales (2020)!
Marvel’s Spider-Man (2018)
Insomniac’s first time out with (arguably) Marvel’s most iconic and widely recognized character found 23 year old Peter Parker 8 years into his career as the wall crawler. He’s doing the iconic Spider-Man juggling act of trying to keep his personal, professional and… extra curricular activities all in the air at the same time; navigating an awkward friendship with his ex Mary Jane Watson, trying (and failing) to pay his rent with the money he doesn’t make from work as a research assistant to Dr Otto Octavius, and finally taking down the Kingpin of Crime Wilson Fisk.
As the game progresses, a new threat to New York City emerges (as is tradition) in the form of Martin Li, aka Mr Negative, with a wicked grudge against Mayor Norman Osborne. As Li’s plans to disgrace Osborne by releasing a secret Oscorp bio weapon progress, Peter discovers that his friend and mentor Otto bears a similar grudge against the Mayor. Along the way, Mary Jane’s work as an investigative reporter for the Daily Bugle puts her and Peter back into a more active relationship, and Peter makes a new friend in the son of a policeman tragically killed in an attempt on the Mayor’s life, one Miles Morales.
In the end, despite being almost killed by Otto, Li and the rest of the iconic members of the Sinister Six, and the bio weapon being unleashed, Peter and his allies round them all back up, along with a city’s worth of escaped prisoners, and manage to get their hands on the cure for Devil’s Breath. However, the story closes on a heartbreaking note, as Peter has to decide whether to use the single sample of the cure to save Aunt May, or the rest of the city. Peter, ever the hero, makes the heartbreaking right call.
Or the story ALMOST closes there, as we get a Marvel mid-credits scene revealing that over the course of the story, Miles has developed his own set of spider powers, and we see that the sinister tank in Mayor Osborne’s secret hidden lab contains his son, Harry, being kept alive by a mysterious, black viscous substance…
Marvel’s Spider-Man: The City That Never Sleeps (DLC)
The DLC for Spider-Man 2018 was released shortly after the base game, and follows Spider-Man as he is entangled in an organised crime war.
In the first part of the DLC, The Heist, the aftermath of Fisk’s capture and Martin Li’s disappearance leaves a power vacuum in New York’s criminal world, one which mob boss Hammerhead is trying to fill. Peter crosses paths with Black Cat, his ex, who claims that Hammerhead is forcing her to steal valuable data for him using her son as collateral. She also lets Peter believe that he is the boy’s father. However in a classic Black Cat move, it’s all a ruse, the boy is a lie, and she betrays Peter and Hammerhead whilst managing to fake her own death.
The second part, Turf Wars, charts the erupting gang war which sees Hammerhead’s forces armed with weaponry stolen from Silver Sable. The mounting police body count weighs heavy on Captain Watanabe, as it’s revealed that her father was a corrupt cop in Hammerhead’s pocket, and that she’s spent her whole career trying and failing to bring him down. When Spider-Man can’t stop him, Yuri is driven to vigilantism, and is banished from the force when her attempt on Hammerhead’s life fails because of Spider-Man.
The final installment, Silver Linings, sees the story come to a close with a good old fashioned team up, with Black Cat resurfacing to provide details on Hammerhead’s weakness, and Spider-Man fighting a mech-suited mobster on deck of a stealth aircraft carrier while Silver Sable shoots a laser at him from a VTOL jet. It’s not subtle. As the story of the DLC wraps up, vigilante Yuri is in the wind, Mary Jane is heading to Silver Sable’s home country to cover their civil war, and Peter begins properly training Miles.
Marvel’s Spider-Man Miles Morales (2020)
In November 2020, we didn’t just get the PS5, we got the excellent Miles Morales. Set a year on from the events of the first game, Miles has been training hard with Peter, whilst moving with his mum Rio from his old home in Brooklyn uptown to Harlem. When Peter leaves for vacation, travelling to Europe to act as MJ’s photographer, he leaves Miles with his first full spider suit, and responsibility as the city’s sole Spider-Man while he’s gone.
As Miles develops his new powers, he discovers that his brilliant old friend, Finn, is the villain The Tinkerer, who has been arming a criminal gang with hyper advanced programmable matter technology. With help from his best friend and definite ‘man-in-the-chair’ Ganke, Miles builds his own Spider suit, and tries to get to the bottom of Finn’s plans. Along the way, he develops his own identity as Spider-Man, as the people of Harlem claim him as one of their own. He reconnects with his estranged uncle, Aaron Davis, who is revealed to be the master criminal The Prowler, and discovers that he had been working with Finn’s intended target, Simon Krieger, head of R&D for Roxxon. Krieger is pushing forward with an experimental and dangerously unstable energy source, Nuform, which Finn’s brother had died trying to shut down.
Despite everything that he tries, Miles can’t regain Finn’s trust until it’s too late, and the Nuform reactor in Harlem is on the verge of releasing enough energy to vaporize all of Harlem. Miles absorbs the energy from the reactor but he can’t contain it, and Finn, finally seeing how far wrong things have gone, sacrifices herself to fly Miles high enough into the air to spare the city. Miles falls back to the ground, where the people of Harlem rally around to protect his identity from the press, and his mother, knowing that he’s Spider-Man, proudly sends him on his way.
But hold up – we have another mid-credits scene. From the point of view of poor, tank-bound Harry, we’re back once again with Mayor Norman Osborne. He tells his scientist colleague Dr Curt Connors, who most spider-fans will know is the human alter ego of The Lizard, that it’s time for Harry, and presumably the black goo, to come out of the tank…
Which leads us all the way to Spider-Man 2, and what we know for sure. The new game is set 10 months after the events of Spider-Man Miles Morales, and we will be taking control of both Miles and Peter as they do what they do best. Gameplay-wise, over the course of the game we will be able to switch at will between the two Spider-Men, a la GTA V’s protagonist swapping. But it should be noted that it will be different from Rockstar’s seemingly immortal juggernaut in that the load times will be near instantaneous thanks to the technological advances to be taken advantage of, and in that it’s unlikely that we’ll switch into the shoes of a character while they race down a highway on a motorbike whilst wearing a dress. Ah, Trevor.
Both characters will have their own individual skill trees, as well as skills that are shared between both of them. Side content is presented in a similar fashion, with some missions available to be tackled as Peter or Miles as you choose, whilst others will require a specific Spidey for access. Those skill trees are bound to have some excellent surprises in store with regards to new skills and abilities, but one part that’s already been revealed is the addition of web-wings to each of the boys’ suits, adding another exhilarating tool to the proverbial traversal belt, alongside the established swinging, zipping and parkour. It looks to be especially helpful in the new map. It’s twice the size of that of the first two games, as it now includes both Brooklyn and Queens, Miles and Peter’s respective traditional home turfs, and having a wingsuit should be pretty handy for getting about when you’re in the suburbs and there aren’t many skyscrapers to swing off. To put it another way, we’re unlikely to see a repeat of Tom Holland’s Ferris Beuller homage in this one.
But Peter’s suit also appears to have had one extra upgrade – the symbiote. That’s right, for everyone who wanted a symbiote skin for Spider-Man 2018 and never got it, your prayers have been answered. We don’t know how or when in the story it happens, but Peter is getting the alien-powered upgrade, and all of the mean powers, and powerful attitude that comes with it. We’ve known from the first reveal trailer that the symbiote is going to take centr stage at some point in the story in the form of ‘roided up Kiss cover-band reject Venom, but we still don’t know WHO is inside that big stack of toothy black goo. Is it Harry, who’s obviously been living in a tank with the stuff for several years? Will the game pull a fast one and have Peter fully unleash the beast and take on the mantle? Or could we be getting the traditional reveal of it being Flash Thompson? At this point, anything is possible.
Then there’s the rest of the new and returning rogue’s gallery. The headlining newcomer is Kraven the hunter; a monster of a man who refreshingly (barring some unexpected story reveals) has no personal connection to or vendetta against any of the other main players. He’s just a big, rich man who wants to hunt the most dangerous game. And when you live in a world full of super powered heroes and villains, just hunting normal men doesn’t look like it cuts the mustard. Then we have Dr Curt Connors, suiting up… or, rather, horrifically evolving/transforming into a monster that looks more like an aquatic T-rex than your traditional anthropomorphic monitor lizard. And on top of the big three of Venom, Kraven and the Lizard, we also have confirmation of the returns of Mr Negative, vigilante Yuri Watanabe, perhaps going by her comic alias Wraith, and somewhere in the mix we should be seeing Quentin Beck, aka Mysterio.
But fear not, the Spider-Men will not be facing this fearsome gang alone. Mary Jane Watson, Rio Morales, Ganke and Harry Osborne will all be there mixing it up and making sure that the boys’ personal lives are as complex as their superheroic ones. MJ looks to be just as prone for getting herself into sticky situations, Ganke and Miles are thick as thieves, and with Rio Morales’ political aspirations developing from the 2020 game, she may well be personally getting on the wrong side of Mayor Osborne. Here’s hoping that he doesn’t decide to try some of his Oscorp tech out for himself to remove a rival. Or here’s hoping we do because we all want to see what Insomniac would do with Green Goblin.
So that’s pretty much what we know, and a few things that we’re not sure about, ahead of the game’s release. For more, you’re going to have to check back in with PSLegends when our full review lands in October.