Talking to James Stevenson, Community Director at Insomniac is a bit of an eye opener. The team working Marvel’s Spider-Man is clearly comprised of people who not only understand the character, but also love everything about him. A love that appears to translate well into the story elements of the new PlayStation 4 exclusive.
We’ve already talked about the gameplay of the new Spider-Man. Something about an open world, web swinging experience that just begs to be explored. On the other hand, this most recent preview was more about the world of Spider-Man, and the characters you’ll meet along the way.
According to Stevenson, Spider-Man’s themes revolve around his relationships with two people: his mentor at work and his on-and-off again girlfriend. In this universe, Peter Parker has been Spider-Man for several years; having matured into his powers. It also means that players won’t have to start out learning how to web sling.
We ran into multiple reimagined side characters along the way in the three hour preview, which started from the very beginning of the game. For instance, Daily Bugle owner J Jonah Jameson is now a radio host with his own podcast; while Mary Jane Watson has gone from fashion model to investigative reporter.
There really wasn’t enough time to get a proper feel for how these stories will play out, but it feels like there will be a large number of twists and turns. For instance, Martin Li is introduced as a manager for a homeless shelter; although comic book fans will also recognise him as the cover story for villain Mr Negative. Mr Negative appeared in the trailers as part of the Sinister Six.
We’re also told that Miles Morales (Spider-Man from the Ultimate universe) appears as a character, but will not be a playable character. Miles is unlikely to be donning the Spidey costume during this game, but we wouldn’t put it past Insomniac to save that for a sequel. Especially since Stevenson mentioned the Ultimate universe as one of the inspirations for the game.
If there’s anything to be learnt from this expanded preview, it’s that there is a lot of thought and love put into this game. Personal conflicts are the very essence of Spider-Man, and this game appears to capture them almost perfectly. Although, these are very early first impressions.
There’s a sense of something old, and something new within this new Spider-Man. People familiar with the comics will feel at home here, complete with its numerous easter eggs and references. Despite this, the game still feels like a new introduction to the character; providing an excellent jumping in point for people who are unfamiliar with the larger Marvel universe.