Developer: Insomniac Games
Platforms: PS4, PS5
Our wishlist for the next chapter in Insomniac’s Spidey universe.
Insomniac had always been considered a very talented studio, but in the last few years, their stock has risen meteorically. And that’s all down to one game- well, two games now. With Spider-Man and Miles Morales, Insomniac and Sony have confidently established and then built upon their own take on this iconic, beloved property, and they’ve done so in a manner that strikes the perfect balance between respecting the source material and having its own unique voice.
There’s little doubt in anyone’s mind that there’s going to be a Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. Neither Insomniac nor Sony have bothered being too cagey about that, and even if they had been, the staggering critical and commercial success they have enjoyed would have been more than enough to tell you that a sequel is on its way. That inevitable sequel is going to have a lot to live up to, of course, and in this feature, we’ll be talking about ten things that we want to see in the game.
Do note that there will be spoilers ahead for both Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, so proceed at your own risk.
So without further ado, let’s get started.
Two games in, and Insomniac’s Spider-Man universe already has two webslingers to protect New York- so why not introduce a third with the third game? Gwen Stacey has been a crucial character in the Spidey comics for a long time, and has gained quite a bit of popularity as Spider-Gwen as well, most recently thanks to Into the Spider-Verse. There’s no shortage of fans who wouldn’t absolutely love to see her being brought to life in that capacity in the games as well.
The fact that Gwen Stacey as a character hasn’t been introduced (or even hinted at) in the two games so far might be a bit of a hurdle- but then again. Spider-Woman does have the ability to freely traverse the multiverse, so that’s a narrative obstacle that Insomniac can easily deal with by introducing a Gwen Stacey from a different universe. It’s also worth mentioning that Spider-Gwen has also often been closely tied with the Venom symbiote in the comics, and if the teases in Spider-Man and Miles Morales are anything to go by, Venom is definitely going to have a role to play in the upcoming sequel.
Speaking of which…
Venom is, without a doubt, one of Spider-Man’s best and most iconic villains, so fans have a lot of expectations for his arrival in Insomniac’s next Spidey game. Of course, those expectations aren’t unfounded either- the post-credits scenes of both Spider-Man and Miles Morales have made it clear that Venom is going to be a factor in the next game. However, instead of Eddie Brock, it seems like Harry Osborn is going to be the symbiote’s host.
The first game revealed that Norman Osborn had been using the symbiote to keep the ailing Harry Osborn in a stasis tank of sorts in order to save his life, and at the end of Miles Morales, he insists on getting his son out of the tank even when he’s advised against it. So it’s pretty clear that Harry is going to be an active character in the next game, and that the Venom symbiote is going to present some unforeseen complications. How that happens remains to be seen, but we couldn’t be more excited about it.
Peter Parker and Miles Morales have both firmly established themselves as their own Spider-Men by now, and going into Spider-Man 2, both of them are going to have crucial roles to play as protectors of New York. And after having played as both of them for one game each, it seems like a foregone conclusion that both Spideys will also be playable in Spider-Man 2. The question, of course, is how exactly is the game going to split its time between both of them?
The obvious answer is that specific story missions will be tied to specific characters, which means Pete and Miles both getting their time in the sun is something that will be dictated and governed by the story, which Insonmiac will, of course, have complete control over. But Spider-Man 2 is going to be an open world game, and how players spend their time outside of those story missions is not something the developers have control over. The best case scenario we can hope for, then, is for the game to allow us to switch between Miles and Pete at will in the open world, and play as whichever of the two we want.
Though Miles is significantly less experienced than Peter Parker as a Spider-Man, he does have a significant leg up over his mentor in terms of his abilities. On top of having all the classic Spidey abilities that Pete has, Miles can also render himself invisible, while his bioelectricity also allows him to do things that Peter simply cannot.
Miles’ Venom powers, as he calls them, added a whole new layer to both combat and traversal in Miles Morales, making both sides of the game even better than they were in the 2018 title. So what do we want from the sequel? Well, more. Put even more of an emphasis on Miles’ unique abilities, add even more usable, unlockable, and upgradable abilities, allow players to use these powers in even more fun and unique ways in both combat and traversal. Insomniac already set a solid foundation for that in Miles’ game, so we’re hoping that they’ll continue to build on that.
DAY-NIGHT CYCLE, DYNAMIC WEATHER
You expect most open world games to have dynamic day and night cycles these days – it’s kind of a basic requirement – but Spider-Man and Miles Morales didn’t have that. Time of day changed in both games according to the story’s progression, and players could change it manually from the menu. It’s not a huge deal, of course, but we do hope that that’s something that changes in Spider-Man 2.
More importantly, however, what we want to see even more is dynamic weather systems- because that’s something that can actually effect gameplay. For example, webs might not stick to surfaces that easily when it’s raining, or your swinging speed might be affected by high wind speeds, or Miles might even get a boost to his bioelectricity powers during thunderstorms. Sure, the snow was pretty to look at in Miles Morales, but weather that’s more dynamic and has a tangible impact on gameplay would be so much better.
CARRY OVER ALL SUITS
One of the best things about Insomniac’s Spider-Man games – besides the traversal and the combat, of course – is the ridiculous amount of suits you accrue and can switch between at a moment’s notice. Spider-Man as a property has a vast, rich history, and multiple iterations of the character have had so many looks over the years. Insomniac have not only paid homage to a lot of those suits, they’ve also thrown in some of their own designs here and there.
We are, of course, expecting them to add even more suits and suit designs in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 (ideally for both, Peter and Miles), and we’re excited to see what they do with that- but just as crucial, we feel, is that they retain the suits they’ve already introduced in the first two games. Having all those suits carried over with their respective powers and available from the get go in Spider-Man 2 would be a dream scenario.
Oh, and speaking of powers and mods…
MORE DEPTH TO SUIT POWERS AND MODS
The many, many suits available in the two Spidey games have more benefits beyond the vastly different looks they offer. They also come with their own unique powers, which is something that players can bolster by adding mods of their own as well. And this is a system that we’re hoping will have a little more depth to it in the next game.
How exactly can they have more depth? Well, for starters, having more options would be nice. It would be cool if certain suits could have more than one power, thus allowing players to mix and match powers and suits with greater flexibility. Similarly, a wider range of mods that impact traversal, stealth, and combat in more meaningful ways would contribute a lot as well. Maybe Insomniac could even take those progression mechanics a step further and allow players to level up specific suits and suit powers as well, similar to how you can upgrade mods. Upgrading suits might even lead to tweaks and changes in what they look like. There’s certainly a lot of potential here, so here’s hoping Insomniac continues to build on these ideas.
LARGER OPEN WORLD
Marvel’s Spider-Man was the largest open world Insomniac have made to date, as is Miles Morales, given the fact that it uses the same world map (though it might not feel too large, given how quickly you can travel from end to end). It seems inevitable, though, that they’ll go even larger with the next game- and it also seems inevitable that they will expand their horizons to beyond just Manhattan.
That the next game will still be set in New York City seems like a given, almost- Spider-Man and NYC are inextricably linked together, after all. Insomniac could still open up the bridges around Manhattan though, allowing players to explore more of the boroughs- or perhaps even all of them. At the very least, Queens and Brooklyn seem like obvious picks for the next game. Or we hope so, at any rate.
BETTER SIDE ACTIVITIES
If there’s one thing that Spider-Man and Miles Morales are criticized for often, it’s the fact that their open world activities and structure can seem a bit rote. Side activities in these games tend to be quite generic, and many of them are rather one-note collectathons. Of course, they’re still incredibly fun, given the fact that they always make sure to emphasize the best parts of the game – the stealth and the combat – but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement.
Perhaps one of the best ways to bring about that improvement would be to introduce some more variety. Across Spider-Man, its expansions, and Miles Morales, though there’s definitely several kinds of side activities, they usually fall into a rather limited number of archetypes. You have your bases, you have your traversal challenges, and you have your collectathon missions. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 will probably still have these – which, again, is fine, given the fact that they’re still fun thanks to the game’s core mechanics – but having a greater and more imaginative range of activities on top of these would help make the open world itself feel a lot more engaging.
Insomniac’s love and reverence for the Spider-Man property is clear as day and bursting through in every second of the two games they have made so far. The stories of both games are among the best Spider-Man stories we’ve seen in many years across all media, and expectations, as such, are high from the next game in the storytelling department as well, especially because of all the exciting things they seem to be teasing for the future.
We do hope, however, that Insomniac can juggle the many, many balls they have in the air properly. With two games under their belt, they have a lot of characters and plot threads to contend with, many of which still have a lot of places left to go. Yuri’s future has ben left up in the air for now, Harry Osborn and Venom are going to be crucial factors, Norman Osborn clearly isn’t done playing a major part in the story, the side missions in Miles Morales are clearly setting up a return for Wilson Fisk, aka the Kingpin, and how Pete and Miles continue to balance their personal lives with their superhero duties will invariably continue to be a focus as well. Meanwhile, with Pete, Miles, MJ, Ganke, Rio Morales, Aaron Davis, and many others, there are quite a lot of characters that are bound to have a major presence in future stories.
Clearly, then, Insomniac have a lot of balls in the air- here’s hoping they can continue to do justice to all these elements as well as they have been doing so far.