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Learning that the tentatively-titled Spider-ManPS4 was on its way was an emotionally draining experience. First, the giddy elation discovering an original, big budget Spider-Man game crafted by an established studio. Then, the horrific realization that its release was probably long off, with many more delays ahead. Finally, of course, the gnawing, hollow want that accompanies the ensuing wait.
I’m excited for this game. More excited, I think, than I have been for a game in years. Still, I can’t help but feel doubt. With great expectation comes great disappointment. There are so many small ways they can screw up, so many mistakes that could turn this from Spider-Man’s Arkham City to Spider-Man 3.
So, in some futile attempt to help stave this off, I’ve put together a list of things from the comics that should be included in the game.
Obviously. Duh. I’ve seen mention that it’s an original Spider-Man unvierse, but I’ve never seen anything clearly stating it’ll be incorporating the rest of the Marvel universe. It may just go without saying, but it still works to make me nervous. Weird rights business with Sony could keep the rest of the IP from getting in on the action.
It’s a real shame. A lot of the fun of Spider-Man is seeing him interacting with the rest of the Marvel universe. His weird rivalry/bromance with Johnny Storm, the tense animosity with Tony Stark, the shared respect with Cap. I mean, half of the classic Spidey material involves the Fantastic Four.
I’ll be comparing this to Batman’s Arkham games a lot in this article. To start it off, in said Arkham games, the rest of the DC universe is very much implied–with a plethora of Easter Eggs (from small posters around the city to a literal voicemail from Lex Luthor). It remains its own thing, but it’s able to feel connected to a larger world. That’s the world Spider-ManPS4 needs to be.
The appearance of Mr. Negative’s Inner Demons have pretty much confirmed his existence. Which is cool, he’s barely been in Spider-Man media let alone a video game. I don’t think he’s necessarily that big a part of the game either, as most of this trailer seems to be different parts of a single mission.
The coolest part of the last Arkham game Arkham Knight, for me at last, was the side-cases with the smaller villains. Spider-Man, with one of the best Rogue’s Gallery in the medium–villains rivaling those of Batman–need to be riddled with these.
We need to see Mysterio performing all kinds of mind-bending feats of “magic”. A semi-competent Shocker… shocking… things. A dumb, destructive Rhino. Vulture, Hammerhead, Prowler, Tombstone, Molten Man. A case of mistaken identity with The Chameleon. Creeping organized crime with Kingpin and Silvermane. I don’t just want to stop the Big Bad, I want to clean up the city.
The duality of Spider-Man and Peter Parker is a gigantic part of the character. It’s the driving force behind his popularity. That’s why it’s so weird that the games have pretty much ignored that part. I get that most of the spider-action happens as Spider-Man, but, unlike Batman wherein Bruce is the disguise, it’s really Pete under there. It’s his story.
Some of the best Spider-Man stories have focused almost wholly on Pete outside the tights. That’s why we need this game to offer missions as Pete. Take photos, infiltrate a party, something. Run into a burning building. Get bullied at work. Something. Interact with characters as a person rather than a powerful man of mystery. Build an emotional connection with the man.
You can’t compete with the classic Ditko design. Even this new costume is a poor attempt to improve on perfection. A valiant attempt, sure, but c’mon. They’ve been trying to change the costume for 60 years and they still keep coming back. Still, over the years, Spidey has had his fair share of classic variations.
I don’t mean unlockable bonus content, I mean special costume changes incorporated into the story. I mean, inventing new gadget-y costumes to beat villains is kind of a Spider-Man staple. It’s that and dead loved ones. There are a ton of ones from the comics to choose from.
The Spider-Armor from Web of Spider-Man #100 to deal with heavily armed villains? The black costume would be cool, but it comes with a whole bunch of baggage, so I don’t think we’ll see it this time out. There’s the spare Fantastic Four costume we could get after an embarrassing run in with Johnny Storm and the FF. The insulated Electro-proofed costume would be good for obvious reasons. Best of all, at the end, when our new fancy costume is destroyed, we may even have to fall back on a shelved design… perhaps one design in the 60s by a one Steve Ditko.
One of the biggest reasons the Arkham games felt like part of something bigger was the ability to ally with other characters. You could switch between other characters in the story, sometimes spending entire missions as other people. It made the world feel alive. It was a real big part of immersion.
Spider-Man has nothing but allies. He has networked better than most politicians. Even outside of the “Spider-Family”, he’s close with a bunch of other characters. Getting the occasional hand from other heroes or sometimes-villains would be the quintessential Spider-Experience.
Black Cat is an obvious choice, she makes an appearance in whatever Spider-Man media becomes halfway popular. It would be a cool foil to this game’s more experienced Spidey. Fighting alongside Daredevil, a classic Spider-Team-Up, would be the best. Their different fighting styles and philosophies on justice would make for a real unique part of a game. Cloak and Dagger would be cool allies and they wouldn’t break the bank on licensing. The same with Wolverine or even, as a long shot, The Punisher.
Those are the things I need to see in Spider-ManPS4. But what about you? What would you like to see this time around? Let me know in the comments below.