Games based on superheros have had a pretty patchy history. Before Rocksteady blew us all away with the Batman Arkham games, superhero titles usually felt like cheap experiences rushed out to cash in on fan excitement surrounding an accompanying movie.
The exception was Spider-Man 2, a Treyarch-developed tie in to the movie of the same name, which for the first time put us into the shoes of the legendary web-slinger in a fully open-world New York.
With such an amazing legacy to live up to, who could blame us for being excited when at E3 2016 Sony announced a new Spider-Man game was in development from Insomniac Games, the development studio behind the Ratchet and Clank, Resistance, Sunset Overdrive and Spyro the Dragon games?
The company has confirmed that the game will be making an appearance at the show next week, so read on for everything we know, and everything we want to see in the new Spider-Man game.
Cut to the chase
What is it? A new Spiderman game from the studio behind Ratchet and Clank and Spyro the Dragon series
When’s it out? Tba - but probably 2017
What can I play it on? PS4
Spider-Man PS4 Trailer
At the moment we have just one trailer of the new game, which offers as a short, tantalising glimpse at the new Spider-Man.
Features shown off in the trailer include a city with internal, as well as external, areas to explore, vehicle-based missions (for Spidey’s enemies, not the man himself, thank god), and a whole load of web-based fighting.
Check out the trailer below.
Spider-Man release date
Although an official release date is yet to be confirmed, there are some suggestions that the game .
The rumors come courtesy of Marvel Digital Media’s vice president and executive editor Ryan Penagos, who included the game in a list of titles “on the horizon for 2017”.
Of course, even when release dates are officially announced they can be subject to change, but this suggests that the game should hopefully emerge before the end of the year.
Spider-Man PS4 Features
At the moment, details on the new game are thin on the ground, with both Insomniac and Sony remaining tight-lipped on many of the game’s key details. Read on for the few details that have been released so far.
Ratchet and Clank Engine
Just after E3 last year Insomniac confirmed that the game would be running on the same engine as the recently-released Ratchet and Clank remake for the PS4.
The news was confirmed by the official Insomniac Games twitter account, although it also stated that the development team has been iterating on the engine since.
The PS4 version of Ratchet and Clank is one of the console’s best looking titles, so we think its engine being used to power the new Spider-Man game is no bad thing.
Not based on Spider-Man: Homecoming
Although the game being released this year coincides nicely with the return of Spidey to the big screen with Spider-Man: Homecoming, the game’s creative director, Bryan Intihar, has confirmed that the game will not be tied into the movie.
While it’s a shame that we won’t be web-slinging through the streets of NYC as Tom Holland, we can’t help but think this has the potential to be a good thing for the game, as its developers will be free to forge their own path without having to stick to the plot, characters, and themes of the movie.
A more seasoned Peter Parker
In the same blog post, Intihar said that the game will feature “a more seasoned Peter Parker who’s more masterful at fighting big crime in New York City.”
This tells us a couple of things.
Firstly it implies that we won’t have to sit through yet another Spidey origins story, which took up big chunks of both Toby Maguire’s original Spider-Man, and Andrew Garfield’s The Amazing Spider-Man.
While it’s always satisfying to see the downtrodden nerd get blessed with super-powers, this isn’t necessarily fun from a gameplay perspective.
Hopefully this direction will allow players to jump right in with a fully powered-up superhero, and get to the good stuff right away.
What we want to see
With so little solid information released about the game, we can’t help but speculate as to what direction Spider-Man’s first PS4 outing might take. None of this is in any way confirmed, but we’d love to see these features make their way into the new game.
A completely open-world
Spider-Man games have varied over the years from completely linear, mission-based games to entirely open-words with Spider-Man 2 and 3.
We’d love to see Insomniac err on the side of the latter with a world that you can spend hours just mindlessly swinging around without having to be engaging in a mission.
The joy of Spider-Man as a character is the enormous freedom of movement he has, and past games have made it incredibly satisfying to get good at swinging between skyscrapers as fast as (super) humanly possible.
The game’s first trailer shows the web-slinger in what appear to be open-streets, but it would be great to get official confirmation from Insomniac that this is a game where you can go anywhere you like, whenever you like.
A friendly Spider-Man
Spider-Man has always been one of Marvel’s lighter-hearted heroes. He’s a quippy, funny, teenager who’s almost, almost, more concerned about his grades than the fate of the world.
While past games and movies have included gun-toting villains, we hope the new game doesn’t stray too close to the real world. We want colourful bad-guys with bombastic plans, not the gritty realism of the Nolan Batman films.
This isn’t an excuse to shy away from having an impactful story, but if it could stop short of a Logan-esque bleak-fest then we’d be very grateful.
A neighbourhood Spider-Man
Related to the previous point is that we’d like to see Spider-Man stay true to his roots as a neighborhood superhero, rather than the more globe-trotting heroes seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
As far as we’re concerned, the Spider-Man 2 game was at its best when Parker was doing something as simple as retrieving a child’s balloon. He’s a character that’s motivated by trying to clean up the city he loves, rather than grander ambitions like trying to save the world.
We’re reassured that the game won’t be related to the Homecoming film which seems to tie Spidey more into the wider Marvel Universe, and hopefully this will mean that Insomniac are free to focus on the New York setting rather than worrying about the rest of the Avengers.
A wide cast of supporting characters
Not being related to the movie should also allow Insomniac to explore Spider-Man’s ecclectic cast of villains, which range from the Sinister Six, to Venom, Doctor Octopus and Kingpin.
However, with Disney owning the rights to most of the Marvel Universe and Sony owning the rights to Spider-Man’s corner of it, it’s difficult to know exactly how much of the Marvel IP Insomiac has access to.
There has been a lot of crossover between Spider-Man and Daredevil in the comics, with Peter Parker even donning Daredevil’s suit to act as a decoy on one occasion, but with the Daredevil license currently being used by Netflix for an original series it’s not clear whether the character is up for grabs in the game.
There are lots of unknowns at this point, but it’s definitely a case of ‘the more the merrier’ when it comes to Spider-Man’s supporting cast.