The upcoming Spider-Man game from Insomniac Games has had growing hype ever since the first trailer hit. Almost the most anyone could have hoped for from the upcoming Spider-Man would be for it to play like the Batman: Arkham series, as they’ve been some of the best superhero video games ever, and now Marvel Games vice president Mike Jones has confirmed the Arkham games had some influence on the Spider-Man game.
Jones told Gamespot at E3 that Rocksteady’s Batman: Arkham series influenced the approach the company took on its characters. Jones said the aim is to focus on “lean into our characters and trust that nailing the uniqueness of each character experience is really what’s going to make the gameplay compelling.” While this suggests the influence is more focused on the approach to developing the character for the game, it’s clear Arkham’s success hasn’t been overlooked. Gameplay footage of Spider-Man already hints at similar combat mechanics to the Arkham games, and this suggests the similarities will go even further.
Given the tarnished track record of superhero video games in general, its good news to see Insomniac and Marvel Games are paying attention to what a good superhero video looks like. Rocksteady’s entries in the Batman: Arkham series have been fantastic games with tight combat mechanics, enticing exploration, and fun stories featuring a host of fan-favorite DC characters. If Insomniac offers the same sort of experience with Spider-Man, the game could quickly join the ranks of the best superhero games of all time.
The vast difference in character and tone between Spider-Man and Batman should make the upcoming Spider-Man game feel unique even if it plays a lot like the Arkham games. Even if Jones said, “we’re not necessarily trying to copy any particular thing that Rocksteady has done with them [the Arkham games],” similarities are likely to ensure a fun game.
Not everyone would be pleased if Insomniac’s Spider-Man feels like the Arkham series though, as it could lead to a trend of unoriginal games taking the mechanics of another game and simply reskinning them. A lack of originality has already plagued superhero video games, and it won’t be good if future superhero video games just find a new way to be unoriginal. We’ll see what the future holds for superhero games, but for now, Spider-Man looks good, even if it doesn’t play in native 4K on PS4 Pro.
Spider-Man releases in 2018 exclusively on PS4.