Marvel’s Spider-Man 2: Weaving A Tale of Two Spiders

“It’s More Than Just A Visual Suit”

Spider-Man 2: Weaving A Tale of Two Spiders

Fresh off its big reveal last week, we spoke to Insomniac Games about Marvel’s Spider-Man 2‘s thrilling new gameplay and what sets the sequel apart.

In an age where superhero games and movies are a dime a dozen, the ones that truly love and respect the source material and the souls of the characters stand out as truly special. That admiration is what helped make Insomniac Games’ Marvel’s Spider-Man one of the biggest games of 2018—and its follow-up, Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, one of the most successful launch titles for the PlayStation 5, two years later.

Now that the curtain was pulled back on its successor, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, at last week’s PlayStation Showcase, it’s clear to see that Insomniac is not content to rest on their laurels and phone in a sequel. Instead, the 10-minute gameplay demo showed off Peter Parker’s new symbiote-enhanced powers and his evolving teamwork with his protégé, Miles.

Spiderman 2 Peter Exclusive

CGMagazine had the opportunity to speak with Marvel’s Spider-Man 2‘s Creative Director, Bryan Intihar and Game Director, Ryan Smith, about what we saw in the PlayStation Showcase demo and how we might expect the core gameplay to work in the full game.

After finishing the first game and then remastering it for the PlayStation 5, the team at Insomniac had some clear goals for Marvel’s Spider-Man 2: feature both Spider-Men (Peter Parker and Miles Morales), include web wings for traversal and elevate the original experience using the next-gen console’s new power.

“The speed of traversal that we have now—because we’re developing PS5 first—is really a game changer for the experience,” said Smith. “That sense of speed and that actual durability of going faster, hitting the web wings and going in the wind tunnels—that’s something that the PS5 brings to the game and that we’re leveraging a lot.”

Retaining the DNA of the things that people loved and elevating them was paramount, Intihar added, and the Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 footage revealed last week presents a microcosm of what they set out to do. From showing both Peter and Miles in action with evolved powers to the new scope of missions enabled by the speed and power of the next-gen console, we’ve seen a good cross-section of the sequel’s “superhero cinematic feel.”

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When asked about the difference between the heroes’ playstyles, it’s clear that the Peter Parker beneath the black symbiote suit is very different from the hero we already know.

Under its influence, “his move set is just so much more aggressive,” Intihar explained. “It’s about strength and power and aggression, and you’re seeing it come through in his unique symbiote abilities, even how he parries, his finishers. It’s about playing into what the symbiote allows that Peter normally wouldn’t, how he wouldn’t normally act.”

Meanwhile, Miles will continue to evolve his own signature bioelectricity moves throughout the story of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, with new abilities like those highlighted in blue on the HUD in the trailer. These new powers aren’t added just willy-nilly for the sake of new flashy powers; they’re acquired as part of Miles’ own journey throughout the story.

With two playable protagonists bringing their own individual play styles, handling the interplay between them was also crucial. We’ve already seen a taste of how control will swap between Peter and Miles at specific moments during story missions, with the nearly seamless jump from one to the other as they pursued the Lizard. In their free time, however, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 players will find content catered to each specific hero and other content that either hero can tackle—and that philosophy extends to customization as well.

Spiderman 2 Miles Combat

“We always want there to be a core Spider-Man experience that you recognize and feel familiar with for a narrative element,” Smith said. “If we switch you, you’re going to know how to traverse as Miles or Peter, whoever you are. But when you’re out in the open world, and you’ve upgraded Pete one way and Miles in a slightly different way, you’ve got some flexibility there that might influence you to go do this certain set of activities because it speaks to what you’ve been upgrading. And then they have their shared tech and shared skills as well.”

The open world in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 has expanded considerably, now including Brooklyn and Queens alongside the familiar Manhattan, which means our heroes will be spending some time crossing the East River—as prominently displayed in the demo, where they chased a fleeing Curt Connors. With the playable space effectively doubled, those web wings will be a very reliable tool in players’ arsenal.

However, the biggest elephant in the room for the sequel is the black suit and the effect it has on Peter Parker, and it’s already clear that it’s manipulating his personality and feeding off his personal, emotional investment. The roots of this storyline were planted deep long before Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, evident from the suit’s exclusion from the original game’s massive closet of equippable suits and third-act revelations involving the Osborn family.

“We determined really quickly [in the original game’s development] that if we were going to add the black suit, the symbiote suit, to our universe, we had to do it justice,” said Intihar. “It is more than just a visual suit. There are gameplay benefits or features that we can develop, and there’s obviously big story stuff that we can develop, and we want to do it right.

“It’s done with respect. It’s a serious thing. It’s not done for humour, and really exploring how not only does the symbiote impact gameplay, but impacts Peter, his personality, and also the people around him.”

Spider-Man 2: Weaving A Tale Of Two Spiders

But, of course, any game about the webhead needs more than one antagonistic element, and Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 has to follow in the wake of the original game’s memorable showdowns with Doctor Octopus, Mister Negative, and a new Sinister Six, among others. How did the team at Insomniac choose villains to complement the tension brought by the symbiote suit?

It starts with a “fanboy moment,” Intihar revealed. Brainstorming the villains the team wants to see, or has always wanted to work with, led to their iconic portrayal of Otto Octavius—while finding a character to reinvent led to the Tinkerer’s big moment in

However, the biggest elephant in the room for the sequel is the black suit and the effect it has on Peter Parker, and it’s already clear that it’s manipulating his personality and feeding off his personal, emotional investment. The roots of this storyline were planted deep long before Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, evident from the suit’s exclusion from the original game’s massive closet of equippable suits and third-act revelations involving the Osborn family.

Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales. Ultimately, however, the best approach is to find villains that play into the story or themes at play and find a path to places the game hasn’t gone before.

With the more naturalistic threat of the symbiote, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is turning away from the original’s more tech-based villains to embrace more monster-like or natural elements of the web slinger’s rogue gallery, like the Lizard and Kraven.

However, Kraven was not originally planned to be such a prominent inclusion in the sequel. “It wasn’t originally going to be Kraven,” Intihar admitted. “We pulled the switch really quickly. It just kind of fit the vibe of the game we were building. Obviously the game still has the heart and humour that you’ve seen from both Marvel’s Spider-Man and Miles Morales. But we just thought that with the cast that we’re putting together, Kraven would be such a great character to feature.

“Jim Pirri does a great job of embracing that character,” he added. “I think the brutality is an interesting thing that we haven’t been able to explore yet in our universe.”

Spider-Man 2: Weaving A Tale Of Two Spiders

As for any particular stories from existing comics and movies that influenced Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, beyond looking at obvious stories like the symbiote’s introduction or “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” Insomniac is out to make their own unique mark instead of adapting other stories too directly. The goal is to include elements that fans expect from stories involving these elements of the character’s history while finding ways to mix it up.

The weight of the franchise’s reputation is not lost on Intihar and Smith. “With great power of working on a franchise like this, the responsibility we have—it’s a little cliché to say that, but it’s true. This team is really passionate about doing the franchise justice because we know how important it is.”

Citing the filmmakers behind the Spider-Verse films, Intihar added, “We just hope to continue the high-quality bar that’s been done, whether it’s in comics, whether it’s been done in the first set of films all the way up through the MCU and now through Spider-Verse.”

Spider-Man 2: Weaving A Tale Of Two Spiders

Of course, the Insomniac universe is also represented in both Into the Spider-Verse and Across the Spider-Verse, which hits theatres this weekend. When asked how it feels to see their creation on the big screen in these forms, Intihar and Smith were exuberant.

“I’m not going to lie, it’s freaking awesome,” Intihar gushed. “It’s always surreal. I remember the first time we saw the suit in one of the trailers for the first one, where we see it in the background, and I lost it. And now to see trailers where that version is walking around…it’s pretty awesome. It’s pretty surreal and super cool. And we thank the Spider-Verse team for doing that.”

While moviegoers can head into the Spider-Verse this weekend, PS5 owners will have to wait until this fall to see what lies in store for Peter and Miles in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. Thank you to Insomniac Games and PlayStation for speaking to us, and stay tuned to CGMagazine over the coming months as we learn more about this highly-anticipated sequel.

Chris de Hoog
Chris de Hoog

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