It’s time to Web-Swing. With Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 out now worldwide, you may already have taken your first tour of Manhattan, Brooklyn, or Queens by web or Web Wings. Put Peter and Miles’s masked aerobatics to good use to quell crime and tackle new emerging threats, browsed the new suits and styles with relish, tinkered with a range of accessibility options.
If you’re one of those players, you may already be through the game’s early hours, enjoyed its spectacular showstopper of an opening and applied your Spidey skills to complete some earlier missions. If so, then you have some of the same questions we posed to the game’s Senior Creative Director Bryan Intihar when we sat down to talk the game’s opening act.
Below are select excerpts from that conversation touching on specific moments in the early game, edited for length and clarity. You can hear much more in an elongated version of the interview, which will air on the PlayStation Podcast later today. But for now, please enjoy.
Spoiler Alert: this interview touches on some story and missions in the game’s first act.
That opening tutorial set piece was proposed early on in development
In Marvel’s Spider-Man, players got to grips with Peter Parker’s moveset in a showdown with Kingpin. In Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, the newly anointed Spider-Man tackled a rampaging Rhino. For Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, Insomniac went bigger. Much bigger.
“Sandman was one of the first things we decided upon, like really early on,” explains Intihar. “This was a meeting where I was like: ‘I want to open with Sandman’. We knew very early on [Marvel’s Spider-Man 2] was going to be on the PS5 console. We knew enough about the console, its capabilities and how we wanted to push it. And we obviously knew it was going to be two Spider-Men. So, you say: new console. Big sequel. Two heroes. What is deserving of an opening for that? I think Sandman was our thing.
We worked on that mission for a long time. A long, long, long time. Here’s the thing: it’s not just like, obviously, he’s a big character in the opening. But technically it’s a challenge, whether it’s moving in and out of buildings and seamlessly switching heroes, just the amount of tech and art that goes into making Sandman look good. We wanted to go big. We wanted people to understand right away – and I always joke it’s called Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 for a reason, because there’s two of them – but for us, it was like, how within that first 20, 30 minutes, can we show people that everything is being leveled up.
“Having this big spectacle opening that would knock people’s socks off, but then also trying to teach people ‘here’s how you play the game’. So, there’s the challenge between creating this unbelievable spectacle, but at the same time, teaching players like here’s how you web-swing, here’s how you punch, here’s how you dodge, here’s how you use your first slotted ability. Here’s how you dodge in midair, here’s how you use the Web Wings… we throw a lot at you. And that just comes through iteration, testing, and more iteration.”
The studio wanted events to have a lingering impact on Marvel’s New York
“The thing that probably we don’t talk a lot about, couldn’t talk about till now is the second mission. Internally, we call it The Aftermath, because we want to show, unlike the first couple games, there’s a cause and effect of these big things happening. So, like you’ll see the devastation in the destruction of the city, from this big Sandman event. The example I give is, when we did that construction mission, in Marvel’s Spider Man [in 2018], there’s the very, very end, Pete webs up the helicopter, right? And it’s webbed up between two buildings, right? It’s super cool. Well, movie magic: if you finish that mission, as soon as you finish it, you turn right back to where that helicopter is, it’s gone. Like nothing ever happened. Well, we wanted all of our big events to have that cause and effect, see the aftermath of that. So, whether it’s that mission or others in the game, you’re going to see a sense of cause and effect across the game. And that’s one of the things we want to show in our world compared to the last couple.”
Hailey and the representation of ASL in the game
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales introduced players to Hailey, a talented artist who communicates with Miles and her friends with American Sign Language (ASL). She makes a return in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 and is – light spoiler – the focus of one mission in particular.
“That certain quest – which I’m gonna try to not go into too much detail – I will tell you, is definitely one of my favorite parts of the game. Not only because of what it is, but how it came to be. Because the team – I can tell you right now, we didn’t go into this game with the idea of making that quest. Definitely did not. But it was something that the team talked about and proposed. And I can tell you, it didn’t fit in the schedule. It didn’t. And this was something that the team was really passionate about, and they went for it… Our entire team was like, ‘hey, let’s figure out how to make this happen’, even down to [it being] one of the last things I reviewed. One of the last things I actually came into the office and reviewed, was that mission, was that quest. I know I’m being super broad, because I don’t want to spoil it for people – you’ll know once you play it what I’m talking about everybody, I promise. And to me, it’s really special. That quest is a great example of how, yes, I’m the creative director, yes, part of my responsibility is defining the vision of the game. But it also is my job to empower the team when they have really great ideas that are going to not only get people excited to work on the game, but also make the game better. And I think that particular quest is a great example of when you empower the team to make the game, they make it better than you could have ever imagined in your head.”
On the game’s accessibility features and importance of accessibility for the studio and the industry
“Someone asked me the other day what’s been the biggest advancement in gaming over the last, you know, 5,10 years, and I very quickly said: ‘accessibility’. I think that’s what’s been – not just Insomniac, but across the entire PlayStation family and the whole industry – is the amount of accessibility features that we continue to add to our games. For us, it really started a lot with Marvel’s Spider-Man, and then just kept getting added upon through Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales and then obviously, you know, Ratchet & Clank. And now in Marvel’s Spider Man 2.
“I think, you know, our goal is always to find more ways for more players to play it. In many ways, [Spider-Man] is such a character, the characters, Pete, Miles, they’re such a big part of pop culture. They’re in many ways, two of the most popular Super Heroes out there. So, whether you’re, you know, you’re old, like me, or you’re young, everybody wants to be Spider-Man… I think what’s really awesome is that not only are we committed to continue to add accessibility features to every game, but we’re going to continue to add more features, even post-launch, so we’ll continue to add more things. And again, I think it’s whether it’s different settings to make the timing and combat different or timing and swinging different, like all these different sliders, whether it’s visual settings that you can set, you know, audio things… what can we do, so that as many people as possible can play … I think for a lot of us, especially me, it’s things I haven’t either been exposed to before, or I’m learning about myself. But I think it’s extremely important. We always look at other games, right? You’re always looking at what they’re doing. I think you’re gonna see more and more of the industry coming together and sharing more of their knowledge on this, because I think this is something that can make the whole industry much, much stronger, and take our whole entire medium to a whole other level if we make our games playable by anyone.”
On Bryan Intihar’s personal favorite moment in the game and why it speaks to the heart of Spider-Man
“It’s not really a big spoiler, because you play it early in the game, but my favorite is the mission in Queens with Harry and Pete… because essentially, it is the least Spider-Man content in the game, in many ways. But we all felt it was really important, because that relationship and that friendship is so vital to the game and to the story in understanding where this game story’s gonna go, and how their relationship is going to go through its ups and downs throughout the game. We wanted to make sure that people really understood the history behind those two best friends.
“It’s like the least Spider-Man thing, but… the thing I always said early on was like, ‘hey, we want to deliver the fantasy of being these heroes, whether it’s the web-swinging, the suits, the combat. We wanted to live the Super Hero fantasy, but I think the thing that can really help our game stand out is how we show their lives outside the mask. If we show their journeys, their needs, their wants, their problems? How do we show them outside the mask?’. And I feel like that Queens mission is that like magnified times a hundred. And there’s a lot of custom stuff. It takes a lot of belief because those kinds of missions tend to be ones you have to squint a lot during development to see if it’s really going to work. But the team, they crushed it and they made it way better than I could have ever imagined.
“What was really great was that whenever we did a usability test that was the first mission I always looked at, whether people liked it or not. Because I was like, if they like that, that means they’re going to buy into the rest of the story and their characters. I mean, obviously the Sandman thing is super cool, because it’s just like ‘oh my god superhero-like bonanza’. But those moments with Harry and Pete in Queens… yeah, that’s what I’ve always wanted from our Spider-Man games.”
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is out now, only on PlayStation 5. Check out what’s new in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 on PlayStation.com.
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