Why Spider-Man is the most important game of 2018

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We’ve been living in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe since 2008. Google it, I’m not lying. The MCU has been here for almost 10 years. It’s easy to forget that it’s been around that long because it’s now a staple part of our movie diet. Even DC is getting in on the act by doing its best to replicate Marvel’s success, albeit with slightly mixed results.

The real question, though, is why hasn’t this success translated into games? Think about it, what superhero games have we actually had in the 9 year period that the MCU has dominated cinema?

The gaming world is one of the areas where DC does actually come out on top, but then it’s not hard to win when there’s no competition. Rocksteady’s Arkham games have been some of my go-to titles since Asylum landed in 2009. Like many others, the chance to spread my wings as The Bat, take down thugs and speed around Gotham in the Batmobile has provided some of the most enjoyable and exhilarating moments of my gaming life. Those kind of feelings coupled with ratings and sales only serve to make the question more important though.

Take a step back and look at what gaming is. It’s a simulation that allows us to play as other characters in (often) made up worlds. In short, it’s the perfect breeding ground for a superhero game.

Right now, it seems as though the potential Rocksteady tapped into is ready to be plundered, and if Insomniac’s Spider-Man can replicate that success, we may be embarking upon a golden age of story-led, superhero gaming. That’s a pretty big “if” at the moment though because Spidey aside, the only other game that’s been mentioned is an Avengers game being made by Square Enix.

It’s a funny old thing, isn’t it? Up until Spider-man’s entry into the MCU, there were a few murmurs that things were flagging a little; like the whole project was almost crumbling under its own weight. The injection of Peter Parker’s youthful exuberance has completely refreshed things and it looks like he’s about to catch gaming in his web of safety too.

Due to the likely impact it’s going to have, Spider-Man is quite simply one of the most important titles to be announced in recent memory. It’s either going to kill or reignite the superhero gaming genre, and based on what’s gone before, the weight of expectation lays heavy on its shoulders. I’m not referring to Arkham this time either.

Think back to the year 2000 and Neversoft’s PS1 classic: Spider-Man. That game had everything. It controlled beautifully, retained its comic book visuals and had bags of humor. It was just an absolute joy to play and that’s how Spider-Man should be — a young man that loves being a superhero.

That’s the blueprint and that’s why Insomniac’s version needs to shine. It owes it to its older brother, and while it may not be the hero we deserve, it’s most certainly the one we need right now. The plus-point is that early gameplay footage is looking extremely exciting but on the flip side, gameplay footage isn’t the finished product and we’ve been stung before.

It’s simple: if it flops, it may well turn developers and studios off producing anything superhero related for a very long time. If the hype turns out to be well founded however, it’s going to open up Pandora’s Box and our gaming landscape is going to be all the better for it.

Just think about the possibilities. Can you imagine a Captain America game with the Arkham combat dynamics where Steve Rogers gets around New York on his motorcycle? Or how about a Green Arrow game with the same aiming system as Horizon: Zero Dawn?

The opportunities are seriously endless, and if Spidey lights that touch paper, there’s no going back.

If this has whet your appetite as much as it has mine, take a look at our thoughts on why Spider-Man looks great so far!

Owain on Twitter

I’m a proud Welshman that gets as much time on my PS4 as my fiancé allows me.

I’m also a massive foodie, big sports fan and currently preparing for the upcoming zombie apocalypse. To read my ramblings, feel free to follow me on Twitter.

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