Design Doc - Marvel's Spider-Man VR
Insomniac’s Spider-Man titles have been heavily lauded since they debuted on the PS4 in 2018. Both Marvel’s Spider-Man and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales have dominated sales charts and wowed masses delivering a video game adaptation of a comic IP that we’d only seen of this standard from the Batman Arkham titles. Insomniac have already confirmed that they have two Marvel based titles in development, the first, and most imminent of the duo being Marvel’s Spider-Man 2, slated for 2023, meanwhile they also have a team hard at work on Marvel’s Wolverine. These two titles are going to be very demanding on studio resources, but let us not forget that Insomniac are a studio who not that long ago continued to churn out Ratchet & Clank titles, whilst simultaneously developing Spider-Man, and VR games. The studio is huge and so it’s not unreasonable to assume that there may be one more game (at least) in gestation – I propose that the game be another swing at the Spider-Man IP. This is where “Design Doc” comes in: These are my ideas for how to make Marvel’s Spider-Man VR a winner.
While the both Marvel’s Spider-Man titles have been praised for making players feel as though they’re actually Spider-Man, through a combined effort of excellent gameplay systems, but also a laser-like focus on reality, ensuring that Peter and/or Miles are actually attaching themselves to a physical part of the environment, as opposed to random pieces of skybox that we’d seen over the years.
While it’s all well and good to feel like you’re Spider-Man in this format, what if you actually were Spider-Man? That’s right, first-person, and in VR. It’s well known that Sony’s PS VR2 peripheral is deep into development, and, depending on the rumours you believe, may even be in production for a late 2022 release alongside Horizon: Call of the Mountain, but wouldn’t the platform be the perfect pairing for a Spider-Man game? The levels of immersion would be off the radar; imagine the development in player confidence as you go from needing to look and aim at where you’re shooting your web to begin with, but as you get more and more comfortable, with the momentum you’ve built and the cities architecture, shooting blindly. We saw hints of this in Camouflaj’s Marvel’s Iron-Man, with the look away shots you could fire as Tony Stark, but there wasn’t much consequence for failure there, as opposed to the loss of momentum, or falling to the ground that comes with missing a target in Spider-Man’s case.
What Need Does It Serve?
PS VR2 needs two things that the original PS VR didn’t have enough of:
- A steady trickle of high-quality titles
- Significant first-party support
With Guerilla and Firesprite both working on Call of the Mountain it seems that the first-party portion of the equation is on its way toward being addressed. Jim Ryan declared in April 2021, that PlayStation would aggressively invest in first party studios, and while many could rightly assume that this meant investing (buying up) new studios, such as Haven Studios or Bungie, I feel that part of that comment also meant the expansion of studios they already have. Many PlayStation Studios have been growing in the last 18 months, and you could contend that the reason behind this is to ensure that their premiere studios can work on two, or more, games simultaneously – in many cases, this additional game could be a PS VR2 title. Insomniac are the golden standard for a team that can support multiple simultaneously developed titles, and that expertise is surely going to help the likes of Naughty Dog, Guerrilla, and more. They demonstrating how this works by developing a VR Spider-Man title. You know it makes sense!
Sealing The Deal:
What I’ve described so far could easily be justified away as being a tech-demo, something that gives players a small taste of what swinging in the streets of New York can be, but what if this entry was an integral part to the Marvel’s Spider-Man gaming universe canon? What if it was a piece of lead-in narrative to Spider-Man 2? What if it focuses on someone else altogether – Gwen Stacy, blending her story with the stories of Peter and Miles? It’s an exciting prospect and surely the cherry on top to any additional chapter in the Marvel’s Spider-Man universe.
Finally, this proposed chapter doesn’t have to be open-world like the previous two entries. Being underpinned by VR tech, the scope of the game can be pulled in a little bit, perhaps even becoming a linear experience. This minimises the amount of time you need to remain in VR to enjoy this game to its fullest.
So that’s what I’m pitching you, the audience as a potential Spider-Man VR. I hope you have an iron stomach. What do you like? What needs refining, and would you snap this up if it were available to you? We want to hear your thoughts, so be sure to hit us up via social media!