Skip to main content

Spider-Man on PS4 remixes comic book lore for a fresh superhero story

Spider-Man on PS4 remixes comic book lore for a fresh superhero story

/

How do you make a familiar story feel new again?

Share this story

Spider-Man

Marvel’s Spider-Man is out today on the PlayStation 4, and in addition to the high-flying, web-slinging action, developer Insomniac Games is putting some big emphasis on the story. The game offers a slightly new spin on the classic hero, one that takes a lot of established comic lore and mixes it up in fresh and interesting ways.

Warning: mild spoilers below for Spider-Man for the PS4

Much like the most recent Spider-Man films, the PS4 game makes the smart move to skip over Peter’s origin story entirely. It’s a safe bet that if you’re picking up a Spider-Man game in 2018, you probably already know the basics: Uncle Ben, radioactive spider, “With great power comes great responsibility,” etc. The game doesn’t just excel by breaking out of the usual Spider-Man timeline. It also remixes existing Spider-lore to create something fresh that shakes up some of the character relationships that fans have come to know and love over the decades.

Most of these changes don’t affect Peter. After all, it’s still a Spider-Man game, which means that Peter still has to be, well, Spider-Man, as he quips and flips his way through the city. But nearly everyone surrounding Peter has changed. How Peter relates to those changes is what makes the game so interesting.

One of the biggest changes is Peter’s relationship with Mary Jane Watson, who’s historically been relegated to the role of a damsel in distress for Peter to save. That’s not the case in Spider-Man for PS4, though; in this game, she’s a playable character in her own right, breaking stories as a reporter for the Daily Bugle and often clashing with Peter’s overprotectiveness as she tries to do her job.

Avoiding the tedious backstories gives the game more time to focus on less familiar characters

Another major change is the shift of Professor Otto Octavius, who shows up not as the iconic villain but as Peter’s mentor at the poorly funded Octavius Industries lab. (It wouldn’t be a Spider-Man story if Peter didn’t have money problems of some sort.) It helps tie Peter together with a rather unlikely ally as they work on creating prosthetic limbs for soldiers. Of course, anyone who’s seen a Spider-Man property will likely guess where that relationship leads down the road.

Popular Spider-Man villains like Electro, Scorpion, and Rhino all make token appearances, and the game makes it clear that Spidey has already dealt with them before. For example, when Spidey fights Shocker, he teases the villain by using his real name. Avoiding the tedious backstories gives the game more time to focus on less familiar characters like Mr. Negative or Tombstone, providing players with new enemies to face that they haven’t already seen in countless video games, comics, and films over the years.

Spider-Man

And like the current crop of comics or the upcoming Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse movie, Spider-Man’s world also features Miles Morales (who fans will recognize as the popular bearer of the Spider-Man name in Marvel’s alternate universe Ultimate comics). Miles isn’t Spider-Man here, but he is a playable character, and his life eventually intersects with Peter’s in decidedly non-superheroic ways that offer some of the more grounded, human moments of the game.

There are smaller things, too: J. Jonah Jameson has moved on to a podcast, and he’s essentially morphed into Alex Jones, if Alex Jones only really hated Spider-Man (who is a menace, Jameson will have you know). It seems like a fairly reasonable place for the brash editor to end up, eight years on. Aunt May also has a bigger role, working at the FEAST shelter that ties her together with the villainous Mister Negative.

Insomniac Games/Sony Interactive Entertainment via Polygon

Plus, Spider-Man doesn’t ignore the past. The backstory of this Peter Parker’s adventures is a backdrop for the current plot, with collective items and lines of dialogue giving the backstory for players who are interested in hunting it all down. Things like mementos from battles with classic villains like Sandman, important moments in MJ and Peter’s relationship, or relics from Peter’s earlier Spider-Man days all show up, giving a sense of a larger world outside of the game.  

Spider-Man almost certainly won’t be the last we’ll see of this universe’s webslinger

Spider-Man almost certainly won’t be the last we’ll see of this universe’s webslinger, either. Marvel has already said that the Insomniac-designed Spidey will be joining the comics in the upcoming Spidergeddon crossover event. And given the positive reception of the PS4 title and the MCU-style post-credit scenes that practically promise a part two, Sony will likely be eying a sequel down the line soon.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed An hour ago Striking out

A
Youtube
Andrew WebsterAn hour ago
Look at this Thing.

At its Tudum event today, Netflix showed off a new clip from the Tim Burton series Wednesday, which focused on a very important character: the sentient hand known as Thing. The full series starts streaming on November 23rd.


A
The Verge
Andrew WebsterTwo hours ago
Get ready for some Netflix news.

At 1PM ET today Netflix is streaming its second annual Tudum event, where you can expect to hear news about and see trailers from its biggest franchises, including The Witcher and Bridgerton. I’ll be covering the event live alongside my colleague Charles Pulliam-Moore, and you can also watch along at the link below. There will be lots of expected names during the stream, but I have my fingers crossed for a new season of Hemlock Grove.


J
Twitter
Jay PetersSep 23
Twitch’s creators SVP is leaving the company.

Constance Knight, Twitch’s senior vice president of global creators, is leaving for a new opportunity, according to Bloomberg’s Cecilia D’Anastasio. Knight shared her departure with staff on the same day Twitch announced impending cuts to how much its biggest streamers will earn from subscriptions.


T
Twitter
Tom WarrenSep 23
Has the Windows 11 2022 Update made your gaming PC stutter?

Nvidia GPU owners have been complaining of stuttering and poor frame rates with the latest Windows 11 update, but thankfully there’s a fix. Nvidia has identified an issue with its GeForce Experience overlay and the Windows 11 2022 Update (22H2). A fix is available in beta from Nvidia’s website.


A
External Link
If you’re using crash detection on the iPhone 14, invest in a really good phone mount.

Motorcycle owner Douglas Sonders has a cautionary tale in Jalopnik today about the iPhone 14’s new crash detection feature. He was riding his LiveWire One motorcycle down the West Side Highway at about 60 mph when he hit a bump, causing his iPhone 14 Pro Max to fly off its handlebar mount. Soon after, his girlfriend and parents received text messages that he had been in a horrible accident, causing several hours of panic. The phone even called the police, all because it fell off the handlebars. All thanks to crash detection.

Riding a motorcycle is very dangerous, and the last thing anyone needs is to think their loved one was in a horrible crash when they weren’t. This is obviously an edge case, but it makes me wonder what other sort of false positives we see as more phones adopt this technology.


A
External Link
Ford is running out of its own Blue Oval badges.

Running out of semiconductors is one thing, but running out of your own iconic nameplates is just downright brutal. The Wall Street Journal reports badge and nameplate shortages are impacting the automaker's popular F-series pickup lineup, delaying deliveries and causing general chaos.

Some executives are even proposing a 3D printing workaround, but they didn’t feel like the substitutes would clear the bar. All in all, it's been a dreadful summer of supply chain setbacks for Ford, leading the company to reorganize its org chart to bring some sort of relief.


J
External Link
Jay PetersSep 23
Doing more with less (extravagant holiday parties).

Sundar Pichai addressed employees’ questions about Google’s spending changes at an all-hands this week, according to CNBC.

“Maybe you were planning on hiring six more people but maybe you are going to have to do with four and how are you going to make that happen?” Pichai sent a memo to workers in July about a hiring slowdown.

In the all-hands, Google’s head of finance also asked staff to try not to go “over the top” for holiday parties.


E
External Link
Insiders made the most money off of Helium’s “People’s Network.”

Remember Helium, which was touted by The New York Times in an article entitled “Maybe There’s a Use for Crypto After All?” Not only was the company misleading people about who used it — Salesforce and Lime weren’t using it, despite what Helium said on its site — Helium disproportionately enriched insiders, Forbes reports.