Marvels Spider Man PC port could realise the wildest dreams of comic book fans

Picture the scene. You’re playing the recently confirmed Marvel’s Spider-Man PC port. You’re swinging from pillar to post 400 metres above street level, dancing over the skyscrapers of the New York City skyline, watching the stars burn like floodlights above, and the people scurry like ants below. Those poor sods have no idea what’s coming next, and, truth be told, neither do you. Because while esteemed vigilante, former NYPD captain, and your trusted bad guy-exposing confidante, Yuriko Watanabe, assures you Electro and The Vulture are currently tearing up the city, that’s no longer who’s waiting for you at the power plant across the way in midtown. 

Instead, the Hobgoblin has partnered with Scream, with the pair raining pumpkin-shaped bombs and symbiotic chaos down on their red-suited friend. Later, you’re expecting a fight with Rhino but come up against The Sandman. You’re stealing yourself for Mr Negative but get Morbius. You’re preparing for a showdown with Taskmaster but are faced with Dr Doom. This is Insomniac’s Spider-Man, but not as you remember it. And it is, potentially, every Marvel comic book fan’s dream.

Itsy bitsy

Marvel's Spider-Man

(Image credit: Insomniac)

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image of the Sinister Six

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Sinister Six – the comic book history of Sony’s possible Spider-team

The scope for swapping out The Sinister Six as they appear in Insomniac’s Spider-Man – Dr Octopus, Rhino, Mr Negative, Electro, Vulture, and Scorpion – will almost certainly be possible on PC by virtue of player-made mods. In all fairness, Spider-Man’s PS4 and PS5 iterations come with loads of fan-pleasing extras, not least dozens of Spidey suits, each of which comes packing its own special ability, and is tied to a specific era of the web-slinger’s history. But, with mods, players can (and will) be as creative as they like, pushing that variety to entirely new levels. For proof of this, we only need to look at some of the other one-time console exclusives that have since made the pilgrimage to desktop, and the subsequent flood of innovative community creations that have surfaced in each PC port’s wake. God of War and Horizon Zero Dawn are now brimming with reshades, re-skins, model swaps, and quality of life adjustments – not least this Homer and Bart Simpson (and Ned Flanders) slant (opens in new tab) on Kratos and Atreus – with more being added by the day. 

In visual mod terms, I’d love to see a vibrant cel-shaded effort that turns Insomniac’s scaled-down NYC into something that reflects the game’s comic book source material. A demake of sorts that adds fog among the rooftops, and resembles the PSOne Spider-Man games of old would be cool, while players crafting something more photorealistic feels inevitable. With new foes in mind, I’d bite your hand off for a player-made interpretation of Chameleon, the Spider Slayers, the Kangaroo, or Morlun. Maybe fans could go even more esoteric/weirder still with the likes of F.A.C.A.D.E, the Grey Goblin, or, if they’re feeling especially (mis)adventurous, Freak. And there is, of course, nothing to stop modders looking beyond Marvel. Imagine Bruce Wayne swapping places with Peter Parker, Bane with Rhino, or Scorpion with Scarecrow.

Marvel's Spider-Man

(Image credit: Insomniac)

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Marvel's Spider-Man

(Image credit: Sony)

Rykers Island was my favourite part of Spider-Man – can Spider-Man 2 match its spectacle?

Looking elsewhere, Sloclap’s Sifu is one of the best modern examples of a community embracing imagination in mod form. In a structure that sort-of resembles that of Spider-Man’s, the kung-fu brawler sees players fighting waves of baddies in different locations, before progressing to an end-of-level boss, each of which boasts their own superhuman strengths and weaknesses. A quick glance at Sifu’s Nexus Mods page (opens in new tab) right now shows themed projects spanning Deadpool, John Wick, Fortnite, Street Fighter, The Matrix, Moon Knight, Batman, Naruto, Nier: Autonoma, GTA: Vice City, Bad Boys, Bruce Lee, Harley Quinn, Black Panther, Resident Evil, and Catwoman – and that’s only two pages in of an impressive 30. 

Even more interesting still, I reckon, is the fact that among Sifu’s extensive library of weird and wonderful projects is a sprinkling mod requests – holding pages where players keenly ask those more capable to create something cool – some of which have already been fulfilled. And thus, the thought of Spider-Man cultivating a similar community of modders and request-makers to realise their favourite Spidey crossovers is so exciting. If the unshakable popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe over the last 10 to 15 years has taught us nothing else, it’s that folk enjoy unlikely crossovers. Ever dreamed of a Marvel collab that’s just never happened? Spider-Man on PC could make it possible, if the modders are willing to make it happen.

The first time I played Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes on an arcade machine in Orlando International Airport, while waiting to board a flight home to Glasgow with my parents in 2000, I was blown away. I hadn’t long finished Resident Evil 3: Nemesis on the PSOne, and had spent my holiday reading a Joseph Michael Straczynski-era Amazing Spider-Man compilation I’d picked up in the gift shop of the Spider-Man ride at Universal Studios. Pitting RE3 protagonist Jill Valentine against my favourite web-shooting superhero in 2D combat felt like a fever dream, and I’ve longed for a more sophisticated collaboration since. Now, imagine Jill swinging around an NYC-flavoured Raccoon City by grappling hook, fighting a Mr Negative-swapped Albert Wesker, and facing-off against a Rhino who now resembles Nemesis. Just… wow. Please make it happen, creative modders. Perhaps they will, when Insomniac’s Spider-Man lands on PC on August 12, 2022. 


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