Spider-Man (2018 video game)

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Marvel's Spider-Man
Spider-Man PS4 cover.jpg
Developer(s) Insomniac Games
Publisher(s) Sony Interactive Entertainment
Director(s)
  • Brian Horton
  • Bryan Intihar
  • Marcus Smith
  • Ryan Smith
Designer(s)
  • Cameron Christian
  • James Cooper
  • Mike Daly
  • Joel Goodsell
  • Mark Stuart
Programmer(s) Joe Valenzuela
Artist(s)
  • Jacinda Chew
  • Grant Hollis
Writer(s)
Composer(s) John Paesano
Platform(s) PlayStation 4
Release September 7, 2018
Genre(s) Action-adventure
Mode(s) Single-player

Marvel's Spider-Man, commonly referred to as Spider-Man, is an action-adventure game developed by Insomniac Games and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment for the PlayStation 4, based on the Marvel Comics superhero Spider-Man. Released worldwide on September 7, 2018, it is the first licensed game developed by Insomniac. The game tells a new story about Spider-Man that is not tied to an existing comic book, video game, or film, and covers both the Peter Parker and Spider-Man aspects of the character.

Spider-Man was well received upon release. Critics hailed it as one of the best superhero games ever made, praising its gameplay, particularly the combat and web-swinging mechanics, graphics, story, and design of New York City, while expressing criticism for a lack of innovation in its open-world design.

Gameplay[edit]

Spider-Man is an action-adventure game set in an open world modern-day New York City and played from a third-person perspective. It features combat systems such as aerial combat, Spider Sense reflexes, and finishing moves. Spider-Man can push attacking enemies off of buildings, though Spider-Man does not let them fall, webbing them to the side of the building.[1] The player is able to use Spider-Man's abilities such as web slinging and wall-crawling as well as other gameplay elements such as the ability to traverse using parkour, and the crafting and use of gadgets and alternative suits with special powers.[2][3][4] Environmental combat, quick time events and stealth are also featured in the game.[5] Peter Parker (outside of his Spider-Man identity), Miles Morales, and Mary Jane Watson are also playable in certain parts of the game.[6] Peter's sections often involve solving puzzles, while Mary Jane's and Miles' segments involve using stealth to get to certain positions.

Synopsis[edit]

Characters[edit]

In addition to Peter Parker / Spider-Man (Yuri Lowenthal), Mary Jane Watson (Laura Bailey), and Miles Morales (Nadji Jeter), Aunt May Parker (Nancy Linari), Norman Osborn (Mark Rolston), Harry Osborn (Scott Porter), Yuri Watanabe (Tara Platt), J. Jonah Jameson (Darin de Paul), Jefferson Davis (Russell Richardson), Rio Morales (Jacqueline Pinol), Felicia Hardy / Black Cat (Erica Lindbeck) and Silver Sablinova / Silver Sable (Nichole Elise) appear in the game as well as Morgan Michaels (Phil Morris), a renamed version of Morbius, the Living Vampire as hinted in his bio.[6][7][8] Stan Lee cameos as a short order cook.

Enemies originating in Spider-Man and other Marvel comics also appear, including Martin Li / Mister Negative (Stephen Oyoung), Wilson Fisk / Kingpin (Travis Willingham), Herman Schultz / Shocker (Dave B. Mitchell), Max Dillon / Electro (Josh Keaton), Aleksei Sytsevich / Rhino (Fred Tatasciore), Mac Gargan / Scorpion (Jason Spisak), Adrian Toomes / Vulture (Dwight Schultz), Tony Masters / Taskmaster (Brian Bloom), Screwball (Stephanie Lemelin), Lonnie Lincoln / Tombstone (Corey Jones), and Otto Octavius / Doctor Octopus (William Salyers).[7][9][10]

It also contains numerous cameos, references, and mentions of other characters from the Marvel Universe, such as Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Iron Fist, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, and the Avengers.

Setting[edit]

Peter Parker is 23 years old and has graduated from college.[8] Peter has been Spider-Man for eight years and has settled into his role as protector of New York City.[8] Assisting in his crime fighting is NYPD captain Yuri Watanabe. In addition, Peter is working as a lab assistant for Dr. Otto Octavius as he tries to perfect artificial limb technology. However, Mary Jane Watson, now a reporter for the Daily Bugle, has broken up with Peter. Finally, Aunt May is working as a volunteer for the homeless assistance group F.E.A.S.T., led by Martin Li.[11]

Plot[edit]

Peter Parker / Spider-Man has spent the last eight years fighting crime in New York, particularly against Wilson Fisk / Kingpin who has always managed to avoid arrest due to his power and influence as New York's most powerful crime boss. After listening in on NYPD radio communications, Peter races to assist Captain Yuri Watanabe and the NYPD in arresting Wilson Fisk, with the authorities finally having enough evidence to serve a warrant. After a fierce battle, Spider-Man defeats Fisk and hands him over to the authorities, though the latter warns him that his absence will only bring about chaos. Peter soon returns to his job at Octavius Industries, where he and Dr. Otto Octavius work to develop advanced prosthetic limbs. After suffering technical difficulties with their equipment, Otto and Peter are confronted by the Grant Committee who are less than pleased with their lack of progress and disregard for safety protocols.

After Otto lets him off early, Peter goes to visit his aunt May at her place of work, F.E.A.S.T., a non-profit organization dedicated to helping New York's homeless. The organization, led by distinguished humanitarian Martin Li, has succeeded with getting a majority of the City's homeless people off the street and into their shelters where they are fed and housed comfortably. There Peter helps Li surprise May by throwing her an anniversary party with the help of Li and F.E.A.S.T staff, celebrating her five years of service to the organization.

This peace does not last long however, as a new mask wearing gang known only as the Inner Demons soon move in on Fisk's criminal activities in an attempt to take control of the former crime lord's assets. Peter takes on the new gang but soon discover that some of their members have the power utilize energy, making them difficult to handle. After getting an alert that someone has broken into Fisk's auction house showcasing his own personal artifact collection, Peter goes to investigate but finds the Demons have gotten there first. After taking care of them he is confronted by his ex-girlfriend Mary Jane Watson, who is an ambitious reporter for the Daily Bugle. Looking to do a story on Fisk, Mary Jane arrived at the auction house under false pretenses until the Demon's arrived in search of a file pertaining to something known only as Devil's Breath. Mary Jane manages to get to it first and offer's to help Peter in uncovering the Demon's plans.

Meanwhile, the Demons continue to attack Fisk's properties and holdings. After several victories against them with the help of Officer Jefferson Davis, Peter attends a rally for Osborn's re-election campaign with Davis, Mary Jane, Miles Morales, and Rio Morales also in attendance. However, Mayor Osborn receives an anonymous threat, promising to destroy him and his city, causing him to leave the rally early. The Demons then attack the rally with suicide bombers, killing many of the attendees including Davis, who is Miles' father. Peter witnesses Li, taking the alternate form of "Mr. Negative", leading the attack on the rally. However, he is knocked out by the blast.

In the aftermath of the attack, Miles joins F.E.A.S.T. as a volunteer, meets Peter, and quickly befriends him. At the same time, Osborn hires mercenary Silver Sable and her PMC, Sable International, to take down the Demons. Sable doesn't trust Peter and constantly makes things difficult for him. Peter continues to pursue Mister Negative and the Demons, discovering that Li has a grudge against Osborn and seeks to steal the Devil's Breath, a bioweapon Osborn inadvertently created while searching for a universal cure for genetic diseases. Li manages to steal the Devil's Breath and attempts to deploy it in Grand Central Station, but is foiled by the efforts of both Peter and Mary Jane. He is subsequently arrested and sent to the Raft, a high-security prison. Meanwhile, Octavius becomes more obsessed with getting revenge on Osborn and begins further developing his artificial arms, turning them into large tentacle-like constructs and controlling them via an untested neural implant. Peter quickly grows concerned that the implant may negatively affect Octavius' mental state.

With his new arms, Octavius attacks both Ryker's Island and the Raft as "Doctor Octopus", releasing all of the prisoners within including Mister Negative, Electro, Vulture, Rhino, and Scorpion, with whom he forms the Sinister Six. He also steals the Devil's Breath from police custody and releases it in Times Square, infecting hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers, including Peter's Aunt May. With the combination of the outbreak and the mass escape of criminals, New York quickly falls into chaos, and Osborn declares martial law. Peter goes to apprehend his escaped enemies, quickly rounding up Electro, Vulture, Rhino, and Scorpion while Mary Jane searches for the Devil's Breath cure Oscorp is seemingly working on. She breaks into Norman’s penthouse and learns that his son Harry (who is also Peter's and Mary Jane's close friend) is terminally ill and that the Devil’s Breath was actually designed as a cure for his condition. After discovering his secret lab, Mary Jane learns that Li was one of the test subjects for the Devil's Breath which granted him his powers. This however ended in tragedy as Li had accidentally killed his parents, sparking his grudge against Osborn. Mary Jane soon learns the location of the cure and informs Peter. After convincing Sable that he's trustworthy, Peter heads to the lab and defeats Li, but Octavius arrives and takes both Osborn and the cure, leaving Peter critically wounded.

With no other choice, Peter builds himself a new armored suit and goes after Doctor Octopus, who reveals he knew Peter was Spider-Man, defeating him atop Oscorp Tower while saving both Osborn and the cure. The amount of cure recovered, however, is too small to save everyone infected and Peter is faced with the choice of either using the limited amount to save Aunt May, who is on the verge of death, or allowing the doctors to study it and mass produce a cure to save everyone else. Peter ultimately chooses the latter and has a tearful farewell with Aunt May, who reveals she already knows he is Spider-Man before passing away. Silver Sable leaves New York to rethink her life choices following her encounter with Peter. Meanwhile, Miles is bitten by a spider that escaped Osborn's personal lab when Mary Jane broke into it. A funeral is held for Aunt May, who is buried next to Uncle Ben, and Octavius is thrown in prison at the Raft. Three months later, New York has largely returned to normal and Peter and Mary Jane decide to rekindle their relationship.

In a mid-credits scene, Miles reveals to Peter that he has gained spider-like powers, prompting Peter to reveal that he is Spider-Man. In a post-credits scene, Osborn returns to his lab where he has Harry kept in a holding tank with a black web-like substance until a cure can be found for his condition. As Norman places his hand on the tank, the substance reacts and copies him.

Downloadable content[edit]

On September 3, 2018, Insomniac released details about three story DLC episodes under the banner of "Spider-Man: The City That Never Sleeps" would be released in the three months following Spider-Man's launch.[12]

  • The first DLC episode is called "The Heist", and will be released on October 23, 2018. It introduces Felicia Hardy/Black Cat into the game, focusing on how her return to New York impacts Spider-Man. Although Hardy's presence can be felt during the base game, the developers noted that players would not actually be able to encounter Black Cat without purchasing and playing "The Heist".
  • The second DLC episode, "Turf Wars", is projected for release in November 2018.
  • The third DLC episode, "Silver Lining", is slated for a December 2018 release.

Development[edit]

A promotional booth of the game at E3 2018

Marvel Entertainment approached Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE)[when?] wanting them to publish a Marvel game and to treat the game like a first party SIE title.[13] The game was the first licensed game developed by Insomniac Games after 22 years of developing original properties, such as Spyro, Ratchet & Clank, and Resistance. Bryan Intihar, the producer of Sunset Overdrive and former community manager of Insomniac Games, served as the lead creative director, with Ryan Smith serving as game director. The game uses a modified version of the game engine first used in Sunset Overdrive.[14] The game features the largest production team for an Insomniac game.[15] The game was announced during Sony's E3 2016 press conference on June 13.[16] It was the first in a series of games made by Insomniac and Sony and marked the start of Marvel Games' new strategy to work with the "best game companies" who are passionate about their characters.[17]

[18] In April 2017, Ryan Penagos, vice president and executive editor of Marvel Digital Media, stated that the game would be released in 2017.[19] At Sony's E3 2017 conference, the first gameplay demo was shown and it was announced that the game would be released in 2018.[20] The game went gold on July 30, 2018, and was released on September 7, 2018.[21][22] In addition to the special edition, a limited edition PlayStation 4 Pro bundle with the game was released on the same day.[23]

Yuri Lowenthal is the voice and physical actor for Spider-Man in the game.[24] In early 2015, Lowenthal gained the role after some initial pushback within Insomniac due to him voicing one of the main playable characters for Insomniac's most recently released game at the time, Sunset Overdrive, but ultimately the game's lead writer Jon Paquette convinced the studio to cast him in the role due to his trust in Lowenthal's acting ability.[24] Lowenthal worked with two stunt people throughout the game's development.[24] He tried to differentiate between his voices for Peter Parker and Spider-Man but thought that they could not be totally different and as a result spent a large amount of time "finessing and massaging" his performance to achieve a balance.[24] Jon Paquette, Christos Gage, Ben Arfmann, and Dan Slott wrote the game's script, while John Paesano composed its original score.[25]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic87/100[26]
Review scores
PublicationScore
Destructoid9/10[27]
EGM9/10[28]
Game Informer9.5/10[29]
Game Revolution4/5 stars[30]
GameSpot9/10[31]
GamesRadar+4.5/5 stars[32]
IGN8.7/10[33]
USgamer4.5/5 stars[34]
VideoGamer.com8/10[35]

Spider-Man received "generally favorable" reviews, according to review aggregator Metacritic.[26] The game received praise for its gameplay, graphics, and story, while being criticized for familiar open-world tropes and lack of innovation. Critics called Spider-Man one of the greatest superhero games ever made.[36] Mike Minotti of VentureBeat called it "the best Spider-Man game ... and one of the best super hero games ever",[37] while Game Informer's Andrew Reiner wrote "Like Batman: Arkham Asylum before it, Spider-Man raises the bar for one of the world’s most beloved heroes".[29]

The gameplay mechanics were praised by reviewers, with the web-swinging traversal in particular receiving unanimous acclaim. Josh Harmon of EGMNOW called the web-swinging an "absolute blast", describing it as a more streamlined version of the physics-based system used in Spider-Man 2,[28] while Game Revolution's Jason Faulker praised it as "fantastic, and I’m not sure if any game has quite captured the feeling of speed and movement quite like this one before. It’s just so consistently good".[30] GameSpot's Edmon Tran wrote it was "endless fulfilling" and "Spider-Man's greatest joy".[31] Reiner found web-swinging was so fun that he never once used the game's fast-travel system.[29]

The game's combat was praised for its speed and fluidity while presenting a range of gadgetry and environmental options to execute satisfying attacks. Reiner called it "excellently designed", highlighting its efficient use of the environment,[29] while Faulker applauded it as "some of the best combat I've ever experienced".[30] Dornbush found the combat became "an improvisational delight" after gaining access to more abilities.[33] Harmon wrote it offered "heaps of versatility and expressiveness, if not quite depth", and found his only gripe was using the in-game gadget-select menu that he felt disrupted the flow of combat.[28] He and Tran compared the movement system with the Batman: Arkham series, with the latter writing that the inspired combat "suitably characterizes Spidey's acrobatic nature".[31] However, Mike Williams of USGamer, felt the Arkham comparisons were unfair, writing that the extent and capabilities of the gadgets on offer made it unique to the Arkham series as well as older Spider-Man games. He disliked the auto-lock system for making it difficult in larger enemy groups to hit the intended target.[34] Dornbush wrote that Spider-Man's stealth scenarios perfectly highlighted Spider-Man’s talents, especially his love for designing gadgets, saying "There’s a methodical thrill to plotting out the order I wanted to web up enemies".[33] Harmon said that while the stealth options were "a bit shallow", they were "never unpleasant and rarely mandatory".[28]

The game's visuals were also well-received. Dornbush highlighted how "gorgeous" the skyscrapers of the city looked, and that "swinging around at dusk as the calm oranges of the setting sun hit the reflective glass ... evoked some of the most calming, zen-like gameplay sessions I’ve experienced in awhile". He found that while the faces of the main characters were "spectacularly animated", those of minor characters were "flat and often out of sync with dialogue".[33] Leon Hurley of GamesRadar called it a "lovely looking game ... It’s rare to see something this big and detailed consistently look so good, with the very final story moments in particular, some of the most spectacular looking stuff I’ve seen in awhile".[32]

The story received positive reviews, and was seen as one of the game's highlights. Williams thought it was the best aspect of Spider-Man and generally praised the handling of the cast, finding that near the end "I was in love with these characters all over again".[34] Hurley called the writing, performance and facial capture "all top-notch stuff", with characters "being voiced and performed with a depth and charisma I wasn’t expecting".[32] Faulkner described the story as "an entertaining romp", and while he noted it presented a lot of familiar tropes, found there were enough new ideas to keep things interesting.[30] Dornbush wrote that, despite having a moderately slow start, the story "consistently delivers that sense of weight and impact". He praised the focus on Peter Parker and highlighted voice actor Yuri Lowenthal of having "an emotional honesty" in this version of Spider-Man that made it one of his favorite portrayals of the character.[33] Similarly, Harmon praised the game's characterization and understanding of Parker, which he found was better than almost any comic adaptation, and commended the supporting cast as having "crystal-clear" motivations and acting "as a foil or mirror for [Parker's] altruistic approach to heroism".[28] Some critics appreciated Insomniac's decision not to portray an origin story in the game.[28][32][35][27] Harmon was disappointed that the side missions did not live up to the "depth, complexity, or fun" of the main story quests,[28] with VideoGamer.com's Colm Ahern writing that many of the side missions felt unnecessary in the overarching plot.[35]

Reception towards other aspects of the game were generally positive. Dornbush wrote that boss fights were "big and exciting ... full of tense action". However, he criticized a few for feeling "simple and rote", and found that because of their focus during the beginning and ending of the story, there were large portions in the middle where they were noticeably absent.[33] Carter called the upgrade system "elaborately done",[27] while Reiner wrote "gaining new toys is an incredibly satisfying element of this experience that Insomniac masterfully dangles like a carrot in front of the player".[29] Tran praised the ability to use different suit powers independently from their original outfit as a "godsend".[31] The stealth sections that included the ability to play as Mary Jane Watson and Miles Morales were described by Reiner to "bring variety in fun ways, including solid stealth mechanics and clever puzzles".[29] Tran said that while he felt the mechanics weren't particularly demanding, he thought the segments featured "some memorably tense scenarios".[31] Conversely, Ahern described them as "a bit hit-and-miss ... and a bit grating at times".[35]

The game world received criticism. Complaints focused on Spider-Man's inability to successfully innovate as an open-world game, instead relying on familiar and repetitive tropes found in other free-roaming titles.[28][29][32][35] Faulker disliked how a lot of the side activities became "tedious" after a short time, and criticized the lack of variety in the collectibles quests.[30] Harmon noted that he was more tolerant than most for collectibles and side-content, but thought there was still too much of it for him in Spider-Man.[28] Ahern disliked that the game incorporated open-world "distractions" that other titles had moved on from.[35] Some were disappointed with the game's inclusion of towers that revealed portions of the map and identified waypoints, which had become standard with a number of past open-world games.[27][28][30][31][35]

Sales[edit]

During its release week, Spider-Man sold more copies than any other previously-released game in 2018, with Chart-Track reporting it was the fastest-selling game in the UK since 2017's Call of Duty WWII. The game sold almost twice as many copies as 2018's God of War, also for the PS4, within the same time frame.[38] Spider-Man became the fastest-selling video game based on the titular character, as well as the fastest-selling Marvel-branded video game of all time.[39]

Accolades[edit]

At Gamescom 2018, it was nominated for best action game and won the award for best PlayStation 4 game.[40][41]

In other media[edit]

Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover[edit]

An official prequel book titled "Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover" by David Liss was released August 21, 2018, that details Spider-Man's fight with that book's version of Blood Spider.[42]

Spider-Geddon appearance[edit]

The Spider-Man from the game will be featured in the "Spider-Geddon" storyline, a sequel to "Spider-Verse." The storyline is written by Christos Gage (who also wrote the video game), who noted "Spidergeddon" takes place after the events of the game. The first issue in the storyline, Spidergeddon #0, will be released on September 26, 2018.[18]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR IRON SPIDER SUIT REVEALED FOR SPIDER-MAN ON PS4". IGN. Retrieved 27 April 2018. 
  3. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley. "Spider-Man PS4 gets the cool Iron Spider suit from Avengers: Infinity War". Eurogamer. Retrieved 27 April 2018. 
  4. ^ "No you craft specific suits but you can swap suit abilities". Twitter. Retrieved 27 April 2018. 
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  8. ^ a b c Peppiatt, Dom (June 14, 2017). "Insomniac's Spider-Man Will Be Set in an Entirely New Universe, Miles Morales 'More Than a Cameo'". PlayStation Trophies. Retrieved June 14, 2017. 
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  10. ^ Mithaiwala, Mansoor (September 6, 2018). "Marvel's Spider-Man PS4 Ending Explained". Screen Rant. Valnet Inc. Retrieved September 7, 2018. 
  11. ^ Marnell, Blair (September 10, 2018). "Spider-Man PS4 Writers Explain the Changes to Spidey, MJ's Job, Doc Ock, and More". [[]]. Retrieved September 13, 2018. 
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  13. ^ Rohde, Scott (June 15, 2016). Scott Rohde and Adam Boyes - E3 2016 LiveCast (YouTube). PlayStation.Blog, Sony Interactive Entertainment. Event occurs at 15:07. Retrieved February 4, 2017. Rohde: Marvel comes to third party, says hey Drake and Adam can we do something here. And what they said is we would love to see a game treated, one of our properties treated, with the reverence that first party treats their heroes. 
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  22. ^ Reiner, Andrew (April 4, 2018). "Spider-Man Releases Exclusively On PlayStation 4 On September 7". Game Informer. Retrieved April 4, 2018. 
  23. ^ Morgan, Dave (July 20, 2018). "Sony announce a Limited Edition Spider-Man PS4 Pro bundle". WholesGame. Retrieved July 20, 2018. 
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  25. ^ "Marvel's Spider-Man - Original Video Game Soundtrack 2XLP (PRE-ORDER)". July 19, 2018. Retrieved July 19, 2018. 
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External links[edit]