Between Marvel’s Spider-Man and Spider-Man: Miles Morales, the series’ development team at Insomniac Games offers players a deeply personal investigation of an older Peter Parker and a youthful Miles Morales.
It seems likely that we’ll control both Spideys in the next mainline game, which also opens the door for what could be one of the most memorable plot twists in modern gaming. Better yet, it would solve one narrative problem that comes with having two major protagonists available.
What if Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 took a gameplay approach similar to games like Scarlet Nexus while also incorporating one of the best Spider-Man stories of all time?
The Green Goblin and Venom backstory
It goes without saying that we’re about to delve into some pretty heavy SPOILERS for the Marvel’s Spider-Man series in this section, so those who don’t want the added context might want to skip ahead. However, if you’ve played through both games, there are a few critical details worth recapping before getting to the bulk of our theory.
As past players may recall, the post-credits scenes of Spider-Man and Miles Morales alike offer brief insight on Norman Osborne’s attempts to cure his ailing son Harry by any means necessary. The cutscenes show Harry submerged in bright green liquid, in a lab full of genetically altered spiders that Norman hopes might be the miracle his fractured family needs. But Harry’s body is also smothered in black, gooey tendrils reminiscent of the Venom Symbiote.
While there’s a lot we can’t possibly know about the story that comes next, the general assumption is that both the Green Goblin and Venom will feature into the plot somehow — or that Harry will somebody be a fusion of the two.
After all, Mary Jane Warson finds Green Goblin mask and grenade prototypes while scouring Osborne’s apartment, and that colored fluid is more than a little suggestive of the character.
The running theory most fans have adopted is that, in their research, Norman and his fellows accidentally create the Symbiote, a parasitic being with the power to alter the mind of its host.
As is standard fare in comic book narratives, these mental changes made by the Symbiote are never for the better and instead turn otherwise kind characters into evil versions of themselves. If the Symbiote were to attach itself to Harry or Norman Osborne, for example, it might transform these otherwise well-meaning men into a villain like the Green Goblin.
If attached to Peter or Miles, it might create a Black Suit Spider-Man story arc leading directly to the creation of Venom.
What might this mean for Marvel’s Spider-Man 2?
In all likelihood, players might somehow be faced with a multi-villain clash featuring Green Goblin and/or Venom. Given that Miles already has a set of “Venom” abilities in his arsenal, things get a bit confusing.
But what if, at the start of this Spider-Man sequel, players have the option to play the game from Miles’ or Peter’s point of view? The anime-inspired Scarlet Nexus takes this approach with two protagonists. Though the story is rather similar, the nuanced differences make the game more replayable.
You might play through a stretch of the game as one of the Spider-Man characters until the Symbiote comes into play and turns your ally against you.
Functionally, boss fights against this incarnation of Black Suit Spider-Man/Venom would be completely different because Miles and Peter have a different set of abilities at their disposal. It might also mean there are slight changes to the narrative too, as the Symbiote takes advantage of different weak points in its host's psyche.
While we’ve seen similar sorts of narratives unfold in other games like A Way Out, having a variable boss mechanic on this level in such a large, narrative-based game would be a huge step forward for the genre and Insomniac Games as a whole. We’d be hesitant to say it’s likely given how much extra work such a concept would require with its split narratives and two versions of each Venom fight, but it’s certainly an idea that’s doable if the game’s developers are given the time to make it happen.
The fact remains, however, that being able to play as one Spider-Man while the other gets infected by the Venom Symbiote would be a very interesting way to handle having two protagonists in the sequel. Whether it’s this or something similar, we can’t wait to see how Insomniac tackles this probably.