Miles in Across the Spiderverse
Image Source: Sony Pictures Entertainment

I’d Die For A Web-Slinging Spider-Verse Game in the Same Visual Style As the Animated Films

What's up, danger?

There’s been a lot of hype recently regarding the Spider-Man video game series, thanks to the reveal of more teaser trailers and details for Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 on PS5. Noticing this progression of the sequel has caused me to give some very uneasy side-eye to my copy of Marvel’s Spider-Man on PS4, which has sadly been sitting in my games cabinet unplayed from the day I first purchased it. Don’t get me wrong, though; this is not something I’m proud of. I’m well aware that this title is one of the most popular games on PS4 and that the entire Marvel’s Spider-Man series has been a success for Sony in general.

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I’ve watched my friends and family enjoy the game for themselves, and I definitely see the appeal in gameplay mechanics, graphics, and cinematics. However, although I’ve owned this game for years, I’ve never worked up the willpower to play it. There’s just something about this series that throws me off and makes me feel like playing through it will be a chore.

Perhaps it’s the fact that I’m not much of a Marvel fan, so I generally don’t have in-depth knowledge about Spider-Man. Or it could even be the fact that I often tend to subconsciously lean towards games with a strong stylistic approach to graphics rather than hyper-realistic, high-quality visuals. Whatever the case, despite my lack of interest in Spider-Man video games, there has been one form of media centered around the web-slinging hero that has consumed my attention completely and will forever be held in high regard.

I’m sure it won’t surprise anyone that the media I’m referring to here is the Spider-Verse animated film series. I’ve always been a massive fan of animation and digital art, so it was only natural that I had to try the series when Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was released a few years ago. I’ve never been more invested in an animated film in my entire life, and I would absolutely argue that the unique stylistic techniques and combination of 3D and 2D animation were absolutely groundbreaking.

With the recent release of the sequel film, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, I’ve been revisiting the astounding world of the Spider-Verse, enjoying both the prequel and the new sequel film in all their glory; and it’s led me to ask one question — why the hell isn’t there a Spider-Verse game?

Miles in Into the Spiderverse
Image Source: Sony Pictures Entertainment

Before you all point fingers at Spider-Man: Miles Morales, that’s not what I’m talking about. The strong visual practices and animation techniques used in Into the Spider-Verse have slowly started inspiring and appearing in other highly successful animated films and series, such as the League of Legends animated series, Arcane, Netflix’s animated series, Entergalactic, and another successful Sony film, The Mitchells vs. the Machines.

There’s such a unique appeal to this style, with semi-realistically rendered characters, bright and eye-catching visual effects, and immersive sound effects and music, bringing a quirky and imaginative charm to visual storytelling. There’s no denying the success of visual projects that have utilized these techniques, so it surprises me that we’re yet to see the same or similar methods transfer over to video games. Spider-Man was the first big success story of this visual style with Into the Spider-Verse, and now there’s a similar opportunity and gap in the games industry to replicate this formula.

A Spider-Verse video game utilizing the same visual style and character renditions as the animated films would have unbelievable potential for many reasons. First, there’s the classic gaming industry issue of some fans, children in particular, being unable to access these games due to the combination of detailed graphics with a heavy action and beat-em-up mission aspect. These often come with a hefty age-rating, preventing some kids from being able to slip their hands into the web shooters of their favorite superhero. This is cutting out a huge section of a potential audience — kids love Spider-Man!

Miles in Into the Spiderverse
Image Source: Sony Pictures Entertainment

A more toon-ish, family-friendly visual style could bring both sides of the audience together. Not only would the more realistic effects be swapped out for bright colors and cartoonish ‘POWS,’ heavily eliminating many aspects of violence, but this style would also be so bold and aesthetically pleasing to focus on, that those used to the realism of more action-heavy games likely won’t mind the change. After all, children and adults both loved the fight sequences and dynamic movements of the action scenes in the Spider-Verse films, so if the same standards were upheld in a Spider-Verse game, it could turn a lot of heads.

Just one question remains — how would a Spide-Verse game even work, and what would make it stand out from the already existing and very popular Marvel’s Spider-Man game series? Well, a Spider-Verse video game would naturally take a much more relaxed, quirky, and humorous approach to storytelling, and it would have to involve some sort of interdimensional travel plot to make sense within the context of the animated films. There are two different ways I can imagine a game following this format:

The first potential Spider-Verse game format could simply follow the plot of the animated films, taking control of Miles as the main playable character and reliving his story through a more interactive form of media. However, with all of the different Spider-people he meets along the way, I’d also love to see some expansion on the Spider-Verse narratives, with the possibility of playing characters other than Miles, either in some cooperative-style missions or in unique personal levels or quests as you progress through the story.

Miles, Peter and Gwen in Into the Spiderverse
Image Source: Sony Pictures Entertainment

With different Spider-people, there’s also the opportunity to slightly alter the playstyle and abilities of each character, adding potential mechanics or quirks to make them feel more like unique individuals, rather than variants of one character. I mean, c’mon, you can’t tell me you don’t want to take control of some of the more intriguing and hilarious personas, such as Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Ham, or Spider-Punk! This could add a fun, interactive format to the experience and grants us players an opportunity to dive deeper into the backstories of some of these side characters (or side spiders, I guess) who received less screen time during the films.

The second potential formula that I could see working for a Spider-Verse setting would be to take a similar approach to the Kingdom Hearts series. For Kingdom Hearts newbies, the series features a lot of intergalactic travel between various Disney worlds, allowing the player to explore each location in depth and befriend the main characters of every setting through side-plots and missions.

By following a similar approach, the Spider-Verse game storyline could revolve around a glitch in the multiverse that is causing threats, dangers, or imperfections in the various home worlds of the Spider-people, with Miles progressing through each of these universes in an interdimensional journey to fix the dangers, bring the broken worlds back to life and restore harmony across the multiverse.

This approach would involve establishing a much more personal, in-depth connection to the various Spider-people by spending more time with them, visiting their homelands, and potentially even teaming up with or playing as these individuals. Honestly, I don’t think a long, in-depth plotline to rival Kingdom Hearts is necessary for a Spider-Verse variant if the exploration of immersive environments, character dialogue, dynamic animation, and a bright pop of overlays and visual effects are completed to a high standard.

Miles in Across the Spiderverse
Image Source: Sony Pictures Entertainment

All that’s needed is to get these elements right and establish some immersive, entertaining gameplay that allows us to swing through the various Spider-worlds in style, repairing glitched fragments and taking down iconic bad guys who stand in the way.

A Spider-Verse game wouldn’t need to mimic the hectic, heavy-action gameplay elements of the Marvel’s Spider-Man games. However, there are a few elements that would make great sources of inspiration, such as the enjoyment of smooth mobility and web-slinging mechanics, allowing you to really feel like a Spider-person cruising through the city, or the randomized quests and side-missions that pop up to keep you on your toes.

By delivering on the elements mentioned above, the game would undoubtedly carry itself to success without any need for a narrative adventure to fit perfectly in place alongside, or become a continuation of the Spider-Verse films. After all, part of the fun of the Spider-Verse is that it can be so bizarre and confusing with the hundreds of Spidermen in existence, so there’s no need to further complicate things with overlapping plotlines and highly detailed lore.

I would one hundred percent play a game utilizing these aspects, Spider-Verse or not, simply because it would be enjoyable to zone out and get lost in each universe, especially if they’re as visually impactful as the films. Please, Sony, do us all a favor and consider looking into the creation of a Spider-Verse video game. I want all of the overlays, halftones, and chromatic aberration you could possibly cram into a single experience and I won’t be at peace until it happens.


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Author
Image of Grace Black
Grace Black
Grace is a writer and digital artist from New Zealand with a love for fiction and storytelling. Grace has been writing for Twinfinite for one year and in the games industry for two years. She's an enthusiast of everything spooky, an occasional anime enjoyer, and a die-hard Ghost-Type Pokemon fangirl. Her favorite video games include Overwatch 2, Life is Strange, The Last of Us, Baldur's Gate 3, and Pokemon - all of which she will never tire of.