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"With great power comes great responsibility."

With the weight of expectation on game studio Insomniac Games ahead of their much-heralded launch of their new Spider-Man game, it's understandable why their community manager James Stevenson utters this infamous line from the comics and films during our chat.

The day after we meet for the interview, James will be thrown off Auckland's Sky Tower to celebrate the end of the press tour which has seen him visit seven countries in 20 days. It seems a fitting way to farewell the global grind, given the titular web-slinger spends much of his time vicariously vaulting from building-to-building, crawling and flying through the New York skyline while dispatching as many quips as he does baddies.

"I don't even know how to gauge it, 
this is the biggest thing we've ever worked on; it could well be the biggest game Insomniac's worked on, so it's kind of hard to focus. It just seems gigantic," he admits as release date nears, clearly the reality sinking in of what being part of such a big property conjures up to those behind beloved PlayStation icons, Ratchet and Clank and Spyro The Dragon.

Marvel wanted to work with one of the big studios and specifically mentioned us. Sony said 'Hey are you guys interested in working with Marvel?' and we said 'Of course, but what character do they want us to do?' And they were like, 'Oh no, they want you to pick. You guys can have all the choice of which one you want.' It was like 'Oh wow. So huh, ok, that's an overwhelming decision,'" Stevenson recalls, laughing with the kind of childish glee someone has when they're given the keys to the candy store.

Spider-Man was the easy choice ("the one that matched up very well with Insomniac and made most sense with the DNA of the games we've made, the types of games we make, the kinds of stories we tell, the character we felt closest to") 
and work began in earnest, with the teams looking at all manner of games and mechanics past and present as inspiration and to see what worked, and what fell flat.

Stevenson won't be drawn on whether there'll be a sequel to this game ("we're just focussing on that extra DLC right now," he adds coyly) 
but says the studio's been stunned by the high level of pre-orders, insisting it's all "very flattering people would put their money and faith in us already."

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Advertising is also ramping up. Who would have thought that fast travel would make for a good marketing campaign? Genius:



The PS5 Exists.