Marvel's Spider-Man 2: Why Insomniac Games were 'ready to burst' at their first gameplay launch

Insomniac Games says its team was "ready to burst as much as fans" were after the reveal at last week's PlayStation showcase of the first gameplay footage from upcoming PlayStation 5 console-only game, Marvel's Spider-Man 2.

The trailer, which showcased 12 minutes of gameplay, consisted of action sequences, cut scenes and a mission involving two Spider-Men, an iconic villain, and a giant lizard being chased by henchmen across New York's waters.

Within hours of its official release on the Marvel YouTube channel, it had racked up millions of views - at the time of writing, the trailer's sat on over 10 million views on that one channel alone.

But what's also sprung up since the trailer's release is thousands of deep-dive comments and videos poring over every second of gameplay, looking for story hints and possible release dates.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2's creative director and long-time Insomniac Games team member Bryan Intihar says they're thrilled by the way it's been received, but dismisses any claim they knew it would blow up as big as it has.

"You hope it resonates with people and gets people talking and gets people excited," he enthused to Newshub.

"We've been keeping things underwraps for so long we were ready to burst as much as fans. It was pretty satisfying for the team to see all their hard work shown to the whole world. I mean, you know, it's Spider-Man. We understand that there's a lot of interest in such a property because people care very deeply about this character and this world. 

"So, yeah, I think we just were pretty pumped to see the reaction. I don't think we ever think: 'What is this going to actually, like equate to?' We just hope it makes people happy."

Game director Ryan Smith agrees, telling Newshub it's vitally important any sequel "stays true to our franchise".

"We want to make sure that the Spider-Man that we have built from the original Spider-Man game, and also Miles Morales [are the same]. So that you're going to feel that and that you're going to love fighting as Peter and fighting as Miles and are going to love traversing our open world. But then we want to evolve that. We want to grow that and grow it in really positive and exciting ways. We're always adding on really rewarding, fun things while keeping true to our franchise core and heart."

Both are tight-lipped about the nature of the story in the upcoming game, revealing only that "it takes place about nine to 10 months after the events of [previous Spider-Man game] Miles Morales." That ended with a mid-credits scene that teased the arrival of fan favourite Venom into the Insomniac Games universe.

The gameplay released last week showed Peter Parker's Spider-Man donning a new black suit and teased abilities that seemed in keeping with the more vicious elements of the Venom character.

Intihar says the new game will focus on the "fan favourite" but in a deeper, more emotional way than perhaps many would expect.

Spider-Man 2 will have wings for its webbed wonders.
Spider-Man 2 will have wings for its webbed wonders. Photo credit: Marvel

"We have to make sure that the story we're telling really captures the impact that the bond with the symbiote [Venom] can have on not only Peter, but also how does that impact his relationships, other people who are close to him. You'll be seeing that evolve over the game," he hints.

There are also a raft of other new villains teased in the gameplay trailer, including the arrival of Marvel legend Kraven the hunter, who debuted in Spider-Man lore back in 1964 and has been one of Spidey's most formidable foes ever since.

Intihar says that nearly 60 years of material to draw on is both a boon - and a slight curse because of fan expectations.

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 will see Kraven the hunter entering the fray.
Marvel's Spider-Man 2 will see Kraven the hunter entering the fray. Photo credit: Marvel

"We want to bring something fresh and new. We want to deliver on what people love about Kraven, but we don't want to just tell the story you know beat for beat. So I think it's about really finding what is core to that character, that piece of lore, and then finding out how we're going to make it part of it our own."

While the trailer showed off new abilities for both Parker and Morales as Spider-Man, it's clear the game's taken full advantage of the capabilities of the PlayStation 5. Insomniac Games has already said this game won't be released on the last gen consoles because it couldn't provide the performance they needed.

Smith told Newshub the PlayStation 5 tech has made a substantial difference to what players will experience and how they've developed the sequel.

The symbiote, iconic in Spider-Man lore, will be a big part of the sequel game.
The symbiote, iconic in Spider-Man lore, will be a big part of the sequel game. Photo credit: Marvel

"We've increased how fast you can go. So your speed is made up of much higher speeds that you build up to as you're swinging and using the web wings around the world. I think exploring the world in that traversal, all those different modes and using like the slingshots that you saw in the gameplay reveal too can help to really take off with a lot of speed. Those elements are all new to that sort of core Spider-Man experience shared between both of our heroes. And I think they, they, they work really well together."

Both say they're aware spoilers are everything with the upcoming game, promising there will be plenty of surprises.

When Newshub asks if fans can expect to see some kind of Marvel tie-in with their other title currently under development, Wolverine, Intihar is diplomatic in his response.

"Right now, we're focused on getting the story of our two Spider-Heroes right. Whether there are nods to the larger Marvel universe here and there, you'll have to check out the game."

Bryan Intihar, Insomniac Games creative director and Ryan Smith, game director.
Bryan Intihar, Insomniac Games creative director and Ryan Smith, game director. Photo credit: Supplied

One of the biggest questions on fans' lips though is a release date.

Nothing official has yet been released with the trailer ending by only teasing an American "Fall 2023" on shelf date. However, that's not stopped some claiming they've found a release date of November 20, 2023 from a licence plate hidden within the trailer.

Intihar laughs at the suggestion, shaking his head, bemused at the depths some have gone to to try and find spoilers and other crumbs of information.

"Part of me loves it. I wish I was that smart to think of that. Or at least that was my licence plate. I think it just shows like we have really great fans, very passionate fans, and, you know, they care that much to really deep dive.

"Quite frankly, that's why we do it. All the fans out there were all of us. We were younger, growing up on Marvel and Spider-Man and thinking: 'How cool would it be to make a Spider-Man experience one day?' 

"Now to be able to do that, it's just making sure that we're doing it justice so that the fans, when they play the final game, they are super happy."

Marvel's Spider-Man 2 will release exclusively on PlayStation 5 "in fall 2023."