A new Marvel Universe is forming in Spider-Man for the PlayStation 4, and developer Insomniac Games is taking the opportunity to put its own spin on Spidey’s world. It’s for this reason why one major character, Miles Morales, is introduced in the game so soon.
In a new 7-minute video interview with IGN on Thursday, Lead Creative Director at Insomniac, Byran Intihar, explained why Spider-Man is featuring fan favorite Miles Morales. In the comics, Morales inhabited the parallel Ultimate Marvel Universe and became Spider-Man when his universe’s Peter Parker died.
Insomniac wanted to use familiar elements in a fresh way, and including Miles Morales became a part of that, even though Miles never met Peter Parker in his native universe. (At least not the Peter who died. No, the multiverse isn’t confusing, what makes you say that?)
“The Ultimate Spider-Man series was a huge influence,” Intihar says, emphasizing “the structure” of Brian Michael Bendis’ long-running series and how it “towed the line between the familiar and the fresh.” That’s how Insomniac arrived at doing something unexpected with a popular character.
“Early on, we talked about creating our own universe, the familiar but fresh, and the only way to do that is through Miles,” Intihar says.
In 2000, Marvel began the “Ultimate Marvel Universe,” a line of comics set in a new continuity that “updated” the origins of characters like Spider-Man, the Avengers, and the X-Men with 21st century sensibilities. (For example, in Ultimate Spider-Man, Peter Parker wasn’t a Daily Bugle photographer, but the newspaper’s webmaster.) Ultimate Marvel was a big hit and lasted until 2015, when Marvel combined the continuity with its other, existing Marvel Universe dating back to 1940s Captain America.
Arguably the biggest legacy of Ultimate Marvel was it proved fans are willing to go along with big changes, provided those changes make sense.
“When you got the new issue [of Ultimate Marvel], you weren’t sure what was going to happen next,” Intihar says. “To me it was a little bit of a relief that you can change certain things and people will love it if done the right way.”
Unlike the comic books, Insomniac’s Spider-Man lives in New York City alongside Miles Morales. “He doens’t come to this world through some alternate reality,” says Intihar. “He’s just living in the city like Pete. He’s a big Spider-Man fan, he loves Spider-Man, and just like anything in a great Spider-Man story, Pete’s world and Miles’ world collide.”
It’s unknown if Miles will take over as Spidey in Insomniac’s universe any time soon, especially since Peter Parker is still in his prime as Spidey in the game. But with Miles about to star in his own movie, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse this winter, now is a good time for fans to see what Miles is capable of.
Spider-Man swings onto PlayStation 4 on September 7.