Major Spoilers Ahead for Marvel’s Spider-Man 2!
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 has officially arrived and tells an epic story starring Peter Parker, Miles Morales, MJ, Kraven the Hunter, Venom and so many more. While swinging around New York City as both Pete and Miles is as fun as it ever was, there is so much more that makes this sequel what it is.
To learn all about Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, we sat down with Insomniac senior creative director Bryan Intihar for a spoiler-filled chat that dives deep into some of the greatest moments and reveals in the sequel. You can listen to and/or watch our full chat in the video above or by clicking here, but we also wanted to share with you the 10 biggest things we learned from our discussion. Enjoy!
Insomniac Had a Venomized Sandman Concept but Ditched the Idea
We all know and love the opening of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 as our Spider-Men face-off against a massive version of Sandman across NYC. However, our dear friend Flint Marko almost had a much larger role as Insomniac had the idea to make a Venomized version of Sandman.
“I will tell you… I haven’t told anybody this,” Bryan Intihar told IGN, “we did have a Venomized Sandman concept.”
While that obviously sounds very cool, the reason they chose not to go forward with the idea was a production consideration rather than a veto from Marvel above.
“It was hard enough to make Sandman,” Intihar continued. “No, nothing like, ‘you can’t do this because of this extra Y or Z.’ I think it comes down to more of like, can we do it with the time we have and at the quality we want to hit?
“Like I mentioned, there was a discussion to a point where it’s a concept image of Venomized Sandman. Super cool idea. Maybe one day… I’m probably getting in trouble for saying it, but whatever. It’s a really cool image. It’s really cool. We were never going to get it done at the quality we wanted to, and it was going to be… it was enough of a challenge to make regular Sandman cool.
“And I’m like, ‘okay, now we’re going to do it as a Venomized version?’ This team went above and beyond anything I could have ever expected when we first started this. So I was like, ‘we’re not going to do it.’ So it’s more about that.”
Why Was It So Important to Have Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 Be a Peter Parker and Miles Morales Story?
It’s pretty easy to see that Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales were all leading to a much bigger story of these two Spider-Men coming together, but why was it so important to have it be in this game?
“We knew eventually we wanted to get to a point where Pete and Miles were together as peers, as Spider peers,” Intihar said. “But I think if you look at, obviously, when you’re working with the symbiote, the theme of addiction is very prevalent. I know people in my life who suffer from a different type of addiction. It doesn’t just impact the people, that person impacts the people around them. And that was something we wanted to show. So, it’s not only how is it impacting Peter, but also how is it impacting MJ? How is it impacting Harry? How is it impacting Miles? And then the fight with Miles and Pete is when we try to say is like, Miles is there for Peter, right?
“He’s trying to connect with him. But at the very end, it’s Peter who is the one ripping the symbiote off. The final step needs to be taken by the person, right? And I think that’s what we try to show in a superhero way.”
Beyond that, Intihar discussed how great it was to also see their relationship blossom and grow and see Miles take the lead at times after Peter had been his mentor for so long.
“Over the course of the game, you actually see them kind of flip to the point where Miles is the one saying, ‘Hey, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that,'” Intihar says. “It gets to the point where in the second to last mission in the main story, when Pete has the Anti-Venom suit and Miles shows up with his new suit, is when Miles is the one telling Pete, ‘Remember what my dad said and remember what Aunt May said,’ to the point where Pete actually says to Miles, ‘What’s the play coach?’ If you remember from the first game, Miles was the one who says to Peter, ‘What’s the play coach?’
“That’s something I’m so proud of the team for. That they were able to really make a game that not only is, ‘Oh, it’s Spider-Man 2, there’s two heroes,” but it’s a story that requires both of them. And we see their relationship, change, evolve, grow, as much as we see any of the other relationships in the game.”
Spider-Man 2 Senior Creative Director Bryan Intihar Discusses What Happened to the ‘Undies’ Suit and Other Missing Costumes
There is no denying there are a TON of incredible Spidey suits in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, but there are a few missing costumes from the 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man, like the “Underpants Pete” or “Undies” suit.
Intihar was willing to discuss why this was the case, and he wanted to remind everyone that bringing every suit over from the original game is not as easy as clicking one button and making it work.
“A lot of those are PS4, and then even the ones that showed up in the remaster, they have to be basically PS5-sized or whatever,” he says of the suits. “They have to be upgraded. So there’s a work factor to get it in there.”
There were also issues with the transfer as Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 features web wings and capes and these would require an even more in-depth rework of the original suits.
“So it was just picking and choosing,” Intihar continues. “We had our favorites. We had things that we wanted to introduce, new things we wanted to do, and it’s a little bit of “Here are our favorites, here are what we know the fans might like.’ I knew from day one, every movie suit that they want is going to be in there. It’s got to be in there…Then, also, the other thing was it was really important to me that Miles and Pete had the same number of suits.”
As for what happened to the “Undies” suit, Intihar first joked that maybe Peter is now “a little shy” and didn’t want that one anymore. The real reason is more that he thinks it wasn’t as exciting for the team that prioritized other suits.
“The other thing is we talked a lot to the character team,” he says. “What are the character team excited about making? They put so much time and effort into those suits. I want them to wake up every morning and go, ‘I’m excited to work on this character. I’m excited to work on this suit.’ So we leaned on them as well, because a lot of them are hardcore comic-book fans, and they have their suits.”
We Learned Why Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 Didn’t Have Any Big Wolverine Crossovers or Teases Besides the Suit
PlayStation fans will never forget that one PlayStation Showcase where Insomniac announced not only Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, but also Marvel’s Wolverine. As soon as they were both revealed, fans around the world started thinking this could be the start of PlayStation’s MCU and that we’d soon see Wolverine and Spider-Man together on PS5.
As it turns out, we aren’t quite there yet. Intihar explained why there wasn’t a tease or crossover with Wolverine besides that awesome “Best There Is Suit” that honors Logan’s classic look, but he far from shuts the door from having these two heroes cross paths in the future.
“We wouldn’t be true Marvel fans if we didn’t have discussions like that,” Intihar said. “I think for us it was, ‘Hey, working on these games is really hard. They’re really complicated.’ And I think it was just like, ‘Hey, let’s let the Wolverine team cook. Let’s let them cook and if something ever happens in the future, great. But right, now let’s just make sure that let’s not box anybody into a corner and let’s just make sure that they have a clear runway to make the best Wolverine possible and it’s going to be awesome.’ So I’m really excited about it. But we wouldn’t be like Marvel fans if we didn’t talk about things.”
Intihar Discusses Where He Would Like to Set a Spider-Man Game Outside of New York City
With the launch of Marvel’s Spider Man 2, Insomniac now has three Spidey adventures under its belt. While each game offers a ton of surprises and improvements from what came before, all of the games are set in New York City.
Sure, NYC is obviously so much a part of Spider-Man, but that doesn’t mean he can’t leave the confines of the Big Apple for a bit, right? Intihar doesn’t go so far as to confirm one way or another that we’ll see Spidey and his amazing friends in another setting, but he does share where he’d personally like to see the hero swing to.
“I don’t know if I would say a particular thing,” Intihar tells us. “I think some type of natural setting. I do love that. I do love that moment in No Way Home when he’s swinging through the forest and eventually, he finds Electro and Sandman.”
Spider-Man 2 Director Explains Why Those MJ Stealth Scenes Had to Be Included
We also talked to Intihar about the divisive Mary Jane missions in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. He began by admiting that he and the team know the MJ missions weren’t the most well-received parts of 2018’s Marvel Spider-Man. That fact made them consider cutting them for the sequel, but instead of taking the easy way out, they chose another direction.
“We had two choices,” Intihar said. “We could say, ‘All right, we’ll make it easy and just not do it.’ And everybody would go, ‘Great. No MJ missions.’ Or we could say, ‘Hey, we’ve talked about showing the world from all different angles. We’re going to make her moments better. We’re going to take on the challenge. We’re going to make people like playing as her.’ We pick and choose our spots. We knew we had to make her more of a proactive, capable person. And if she’s a little OP, I don’t give a shit. She’s fine. I don’t care.”
Insomniac belives in the importance of showing MJ as a “capable hero” despite her not having powers, and this thought process led to her increidble powerful stun gun.
“In Spider-Man 1, there was a really, really early, super-early in development, we never made it, but it was part of a story treatment where Pete was going to be injured, and he could barely walk,” Intihar recalls. “She was going to actually try to get him to safety, and she was going to grab one of his web shooters and she was going to put it on, actually fire at enemies that were trying to get to them but that never happens. I think that’s where the web-shooter idea came from, because I was like, ‘Let’s give her the ability to stun enemies in the first mission.'”
What Happened to Nelson and Murdock in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2?
Eagle-eyed players of Marvel’s Spider-Man may have spotted Nelson and Murdock’s plaque on a building in Hell’s Kitchen, which appears to have teased these Daredevil characters may have been working out of there. These same players were surprised when they noticed the plaque was still there in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, but the names were not.
Was this a error or a mistake from the dev team or is there more meaning to the missing words?
“That’s a good question,” Intihar said. “Stay tuned. Good find though.”
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What Sets This Venom From Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 Apart From Other Venoms?
Venom is obviously one of the most iconic Spidey villains, so a big challenge for the team at Insomniac was how you tell the story of the symbiote to make it feel fresh and surprising. As it turns out, it all has to do with love and a different motivation that we’ve seen from characters like Eddie Brock.
“We wanted Venom to be overwhelming,” Intihar said. “Whereas Ock was more about the intellect of challenging Peter and Spider-Man, Venom is power. And we wanted there to be these overwhelming odds in a way that a villain that requires two Spider-Men, that was kind of our goal.
“With Venom, there are certain things people expect and things we can’t screw up. Then there’s the other thing of how can we make it our own? And I think that all starts with Harry. Early in the game, you see Harry with the symbiote, and we see him in many ways being a hero and using it to not only feel better, but to basically be one of Pete’s partners.
“Venom’s motivations are very different than a comic. I would say, I tend to think you think of the Eddie Brock Venom, it’s a story of revenge, right? Whereas in many ways, our Venom and Harry, it’s about they have kind of a twisted way on how they want to heal the world. Harry doesn’t want anybody to suffer like he has suffered, and symbiote’s like, ‘Well, I can show you how we can do it. It’s a really effed up way, but we’re going to do it.’
“And so I think that’s kind of like, find the elements of the character and story that people love and bring that to them, but how can you add your own spin? And I think that kind of direction what we’ve done with the whole franchise from the beginning is like, respect the DNA of the character, but don’t be afraid to mix things up from time to time.”
Was It Always in the Plan to Let Us Play as Venom?
One of the biggest and coolest moments of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 was when we finally got the chance to play as Venom. It’s undoubtedly cool to get to jump out of the shoes of our two Spider-Men and play a new character, but one of the biggest reasons Insomniac wanted to let us play as Venom was to let us see how dangerous and vicious he is.
“Even though Pete does some crazy things with the symbiote, he never totally crosses the line,” Intihar said. “With that in mind, we wanted to show a kind of unfiltered Venom and give players this ultimate power fantasy of what you could do with the symbiote. We wanted the player to go, ‘This is how brutal this character could be.’ We wanted to show that it’s really going to take both Pete and Miles to take him down, because Kraven couldn’t do it, all of the hunters couldn’t do it, and all the Oscorp people couldn’t do it either.”
So, in a way, having Venom playable was just as much a story-telling device as it was a way to include an awesome moment of inhabiting legendary villain. However, Intihar doesn’t want us to think we’ll get to play as every villain in the Spidey-verse because it’s cool. So, don’t just assume we’ll get a chance to become Green Goblin in a potential Spider-Man 3 after that tease in the game, even though we’d be all for it! In truth, however, the choice of who we get to play as has to serve the greater story.
“I think we’ve always wanted to show our world from all levels,” Intihar said. “So, we obviously want to show Pete and Miles in their suit doing super things, but we feel it’s just as important to show their lives and have playable experiences outside the suit like with Venom. Because I think if you have relatable human stories and motivations, the moments in the suit matter more.
“That being said, I’m also not a dummy. People love Venom and you sometimes just got to give them what they want. And I think if we’re going to pick a villain to play as, that’s the one you want to get. You want to get right.”
Does that mean we might play as Carnage in a future installment, especially after that tease? Intihar wasn’t willing to reveal much, but he did mention that Carnage is on a different level than Venom.
“I think with our Venom there’s still some morality,” Intihar said before laughing. “But with Carnage, it’s like playtime. So, who knows? Things can happen in the future.”
What Is Insomniac Most Proud of With Marvel’s Spider-Man 2?
We all know Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is about the big set pieces and swinging around an open-world NYC and all those wonderfully loud comic book moments, but the thing Intihar and the team at Insomniac are most proud of are the quieter moments. The moments that show us being a hero is more than throwing punches and saving the world.
“I wrote a letter to the people who reviewed Spider-Man 2 and basically begged them by saying, ‘Please do the quests in the Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man app and the ones related to Brooklyn Visions Academy.’ Those little stories really mean a lot to me because it shows the world doesn’t need to be ending or you don’t just need to fight a giant sand person in order to be a hero,” Intihar said. “These side missions aren’t the longest things in the world, but they show that you have to be a hero at all times and for all different people. And I hope that whether it’s The Miles helping out the fellow students of Brooklyn Visions or Peter talking to Howard, it shows that.”
Speaking of the Howard mission, that was created by a designed named Brian Matheson for a game jam Insomniac had before a holiday break. He made it in two or three days and, when the team saw it, they knew it needed to be in the game. This was the importance of giving the team the runway to tell their own stories and be creative in different ways than the typical save-the-universe comic book way.
This is also seen in the Bebop and Hard Bop side-missions, where Miles is working to uncover the truth behind the Cultural Center robbery. This was very meaningful for the team as it was not only a way to expand Miles as a character, but to also honor his culture.
“So when the Miles team was working on Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, what I thought they were brilliant at was them not only showing Miles learning the kind of Spider-Man he wanted to be, but also him connecting to his new community in Harlem with those quests. I mean, all those people that show up at the very end are all the quest givers of that area.
“And someone said very early on, how can we expand upon his connection to his community? And someone had the idea of how can we use the music history of that area, his love of music, and connecting the two. So our writers went into overdrive to learn about that stuff, to the point where they were contacting people and family members of those artists to make sure we could get permission to do that.
“This all goes to show that Miles is just not the kid in the suit. He’s a 17-year-old kid who lives in Harlem, who has a love of music, and wants to give back to his community. Being a hero just isn’t being in the suit all the time. It’s being a good person and connecting to your friends, your family, your community. And I hope that shows some of that.”
Intihar is also proud of that Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus tease in the mid-credits of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, and he shared that tease had been planned from early in the days of developing the first game. Otto is Intihar’s favorite Spider-Man villain, so he couldn’t be happier to see this plan realized.
The Cindy Moon/Silk tease? That was a new one and was decided upon during the development of the sequel.
For more, check out our Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 review, our breakdown of the game’s ending, our look at why Spider-Man is now the only true Arkham successor, and where this sequel ranks on our list of the top 10 Spider-Man games.