In addition to speaking with the developers and getting hands-on time with Spider-Man, we also found out about Spider-Man’s arsenal of gadgets, his alternate suits, and what sort of activities players can do outside of the main story.
Arguably, Insomniac’s biggest franchise is the Ratchet and Clank series, which found huge success in integrating a variety of gadgets and weapons. The studio has proven its ability to create interesting gadgets many times over, and Peter Parker is an inventor who loves to create gadgets. “It’s a perfect marriage,” says creative director Bryan Intihar, while eagerly pointing out that Spider-Man will have a gadget wheel, just like the Lombax. During our time in the studio, Insomniac highlighted three gadgets Spider-Man uses in combat and confirmed they are all upgradeable.
This particular gadget was shown at E3, but we got a chance to play with it to see just how versatile it is. In stealth scenarios, Spider-Man can place a tripwire on a wall and when an enemy walks by it, it shoots out a web to pull the enemy toward the wall and wraps him up. In combat, you can use it as outlined, or you can attach it to an enemy so that when they walk by another enemy, the two slam together.
Another use we saw for it was something the player doesn’t actively engage with, but serves as an important character facet of Spider-Man. If you’re fighting someone on a roof and you knock them off, you will see the tripwire activate to attach the plummeting bad guy to wall. Spider-Man doesn’t kill, after all. This use of the trip bomb automatically happens and won’t deplete your supply.
In combat, Spider-Man can toss out a Web Bomb, which, once it hits the ground, elevates, and explodes, sending out webs in every direction. Intihar recommends it as a crowd-control gadget. It webs up enemies standing near the bomb, stopping them in place for Spider-Man to grab them and swing them around his head, or just punch them while they’re locked in place. Intihar says upgrading the Web Bomb will make the webs hold for longer.
The Spider-Drone is – spoiler alert – a drone. Spider-Man can throw it up in the air, and it will float above enemies, firing out webs like a machine gun. It can web enemies up, or just be used as a distraction. Sony confirmed that the Spider-Drone will be included as a pre-order bonus for the game.
Intihar says one of the questions Insomniac was asked about the most (prior to our cover reveal) was whether or not Spider-Man would be able to wear different suits. “We want players to be the Spider-Man they want to be,” Intihar says. When walking us through the suits, Intihar showed us an image with 24 indiscernible silhouettes representing different potential unlockable suits, but he cut me off when I wrote down the number 24. “That’s not the right count so don’t worry about that,” Intihar says, “There are a lot of them.” The suits will be inspired by the comics, the movies, and some have been made exclusively for the game. The suits each have specific abilities, and the abilities can be swapped to different suits in case you like the look of one, but the abilities of another. One suit ability example offered was quad-damage, which Spider-Man can turn on for a brief time to do four times the normal damage. During our time with the game we saw four suits.
You start the start the game with this. It has the familiar black spider logo and old-school boots. It’s power is quad-damage.
This is the suit Insomniac designed, and the one you have seen in all of the game’s marketing. You will craft the suit at some point and its design is more than just a visual way to separate Spider-Man’s video game look from his past looks. “There is a definitely a narrative reason for why this white spider comes to be,” says Intihar.
We don’t know much about this suit’s abilities, but it’s a classic from the comics.
Spider-Punk is the strangest suit we saw. Its roots are in the comics, and while wearing it, Spider-Man can also pull out a guitar and strike a chord to to create a blast radius around him. “We want to give players a pretty big arsenal to take enemies down how they want to,” says Intihar.
Insomniac and Marvel both care deeply about the story it has crafted for Spider-Man, but this is an open-world game, so there has to be more to do than just mainline quests to complete. We got a taste of a few of the optional sidequests Spider-Man can complete during the game.
As you web-swing around the city, you stop all kinds of crime. We stopped a store robbery, interrupted a car chase, and Intihar says Spider-Man also busts up drug deals in alleys and encounters situations where Mr. Negative’s Inner Demons gang is caught up in a shoot-out with the NYPD.
These general crimes will also change, shift, and combine as you make your way through the game. We saw this in action when the second robbery we stopped evolved into a car chase when some of the bad guys got away.
Black Cat Stakeouts
We came across one side mission from Felicia “Black Cat” Hardy challenging us to find a lucky cat she had hidden in the environment. It was implied that Black Cat is working on something big, and completing her missions will unravel her story.
Taskmaster is a Spider-Man villain with the ability to copy others’ abilities just by watching them do it. In Insomniac’s game, he has left a number of communication devices around the city with missions for Spider-Man to complete. The one we found tasked us with finding a ticking bomb, throwing the bomb into the air, and then firing off a series of webs at the bomb in order to mute its explosion. The more webs we shot at the bomb before it exploded, the more points we got for our mission rating. While completing these missions, Taskmaster will apparently be watching you from the shadows.
Oscorp Research Stations
Harry Osborn is in Europe during Spider-Man, but before leaving, he asks his very smart friend Peter Parker (who he doesn’t know is Spider-Man) to do him a favor and check in on a series of mobile research stations littered around the city. The one we investigated was looking into pollution in the city, and in order to complete the experiment, we had to swing through a series of pollution clouds in a certain amount of time in order to collect samples. These mission we completed was basically a speed-trial, but with a story conceit revolving around Peter and Harry’s relationship.
Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk is arrested in the game’s opening mission, but his business is still going strong. Throughout the world, you will find Fisk bases full of bad guys trying to keep their boss’ business alive while he is behind bars. These will function as combat challenges. The one we did took place on a roof.
Peter’s Old Backpacks
Along with the assorted missions you can complete, you also find Peter’s old backpacks all over the city. These backpacks will offer insight into Peter and Spider-Man’s backstory leading up this point in his life. The one we found offered some details about the first web-shooters Peter ever made. Insomniac is recording dialogue to accompany each backpack so Spider-Man can tell you a little about what’s inside each one.
Intihar said that this does not cover all the sidequests and distractions available in the city and promises players will encounter more in the final game. For more on Spider-Man, click the banner blow to read our gameplay impressions, watch interviews, and learn a whole lot more about the game.