While 2018 is the Year of the Sheep in the Chinese zodiac, in the comic book world it definitely feels more like the Year of the Spider. The Spider-Man franchise is set to enjoy one of its most popular and dynamic moments in pop culture in recent memory, thanks to Marvel's numerous arachnid-themed events scheduled throughout this year. First, we all cried through Tom Holland's babyface Peter Parker dying at the snap of Thanos' fingers in Avengers: Infinity War. Then, we all freaked out on social media following the official trailer premiere for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse, which will follow Miles Morales as he inherits the spidey legacy this December. And on September 7th, 2018, Insomniac Games will bring us a hip new Spider-Man video game to sink our teeth into.
Succinctly titled Spider-Man, Sony and Marvel first announced this new PS4 collaborative project with Insomniac Games during E3 2016. While this Marvel character has had a video game presence since the early 1980s, rivalling even Batman's omnipresence in this form of entertainment, there's something special about this latest attempt. Subsequent steady reveals of the world and character models have charmed fans with its vibrant aesthetic, the official trailer is breathtakingly exciting, and the latest demo at E3 2018 showcasing its gameplay has basically been universally praised. There's just one, tiny, lingering concern with this otherwise excellent looking game... what is the plot, exactly? No one is quite sure what they'll be getting into in September. So, CBR has compiled a list of things we know for sure about this game so far, and a few other juicy details that we've heard along the spider-web.
20 FACT: CLASSIC VILLAIN LINEUP
One of the highlights from E3 2018's excellent Spider-Man game demo was the reveal of several classic spidey enemies that players will be forced to contend with in September. Previous gameplay footage let fans know that Wilson Fisk and Mister Negative would have a substantial presence in the game, and Spider-Man goes toe-to-toe with the latter foe several times in this available footage.
But thankfully, there are more fish to fry for our protagonist. After a prison break at the Raft, the E3 2018 demo revealed five infamous Spider-Man villains have teamed up with Mister Negative to finally take Spider-Man down: Vulture, Scorpion, Electro, Shocker, and the Rhino. This is a classic lineup of villains formidable enough to capacitate Spider-Man in their first encounter together, and their unholy union suggests the reveal of even more villains to look for in this game.
19 RUMOR: THE MAIN VILLAIN IS EITHER DOC OCK OR MYSTERIO
Another tidbit we learned from the E3 2018 demo is that behind this Sinister Six is a far more malevolent force. While fans believed Mister Negative would be the main villain of this game based on the marketing, the recent demo revealed that Mister Negative and his crew are taking orders from someone else.
But who is this mysterious villain?
We could place the blame in Norman Osborn's hands, but juicier rumors point to other foes in the rogues' gallery. Doc Ock is a great candidate as the man behind the strings; two of his comics writers, Dan Slott and Christos Gage, are involved in this game. At the same time, Mysterio could be the main villain as a primer for the upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel.
18 FACT: NORMAN OSBORN RUNNING FOR MAYOR
Green Goblin fans needn't worry that their favorite baddie will miss out on all the fun, however. As early marketing has shown us, Norman Osborn will be holding a special place in the PS4 game -- and not even as a villain! Explicitly, anyway. It seems that Osborn has changed his ways and is actually running for mayor of the city.
This puts him in direct conflict with Mayor Fisk, whose devious dealings in the city are continuous, despite his position in public office. It looks like Osborn successfully banks on this bad behavior to win his mayoral campaign, as the game's trailer has shown us Fisk being arrested for his crimes against the city.
17 RUMOR: GOBLIN ISN'T THE MAIN VILLAIN
This rumor we're on the fence about, but it is a distinct possibility. Some fans have claimed that since Osborn will be running for mayor, he'll be desperate to maintain a squeaky-clean image in the face of Fisk's overwhelmingly transparent depravity. Thus, the need for secrecy in his personal affairs, thus the possibility that he's sitting out this game's villainous jailbreak and subsequent rampage.
This doesn't negate nefarious schemes from Osborn in other capacities, of course.
He's still not a particularly great guy, but we have been experiencing a bit of Osborn oversaturation in the last few years. So even though Spider-Man clearly seems to recognize this final villain in the demo, some fans are convinced that it's not the infamous Goblin King.
16 FACT: PETER AND AUNT MAY HAVE NEW JOBS
Speaking of Spider-Man characters getting new jobs, two fan favorites will be taking on the non-profit sector in this upcoming game. Fans typically associate Peter Parker with the Daily Bugle, where he works as the resident Spider-Man photographer, or as the C.E.O of his own company if you're a regular reader of the comics. Meanwhile, Aunt May is usually depicted as something of a homebody with no discernible profession.
So it's a happy surprise that fans will experience both characters in brave new worlds of employment, one that they will partake together. Based on the official trailer, both Peter and Aunt May are working for a local charity by the name of F.E.A.S.T, which houses and feeds the marginalized populations of New York City.
15 RUMOR: PETER AND AUNT MAY ARE WORKING FOR THE VILLAIN
Of course, Peter and Aunt May aren't the only ones who are feeling the charitable spirit. In the official trailer, we see a businessman in the location several times directing operations and speaking to our beloved family. While he went nameless in the trailer, his villainous transformation quickly alerted fans that this is Mister Negative, known by his civilian name Martin Li.
However, Li doesn't stay around as the director of F.E.A.S.T for long.
He allegedly leaves the organization in Peter's hands, which suggests that Peter will be corresponding to whatever big boss from which Li took his operative orders. Long story short, Peter's civilian life is once again complicating his mission as Spider-Man.
14 FACT: NO SYMBIOTES MAKE AN APPEARANCE
Personally, this fact breaks our hearts. With all the classic Spidey villains on the loose in the city, one would think that eventually, we'd catch a glimpse of a few slimy symbiotes roaming around. With all the klyntar options to choose from, fans were hoping to get another iteration of Eddie Brock's Venom to drool over, especially since the Venom film is coming out in October.
But no dice, you lovely monster enthusiasts. Insomniac Games stated outright on its Twitter page that no symbiotes will be in its Spider-Man game back in February of this year. This doesn't mean we'll never see them in future games, since the production team has expressed an interest in them. Still, talk about a missed opportunity!
13 RUMOR: EDDIE BROCK MAY APPEAR (WITH GWEN AND HARRY)
While we won't be getting any Venom in this game, that doesn't necessarily mean it will be devoid of Eddie Brock. The Daily Bugle will still be featured prominently in this game, so he might be roaming around the building. With that being said, this game needs to fill out Peter's civilian life, so rumor has it we'll be seeing a few other characters as well.
For one thing, Gwen Stacy might show up.
This has been a floating rumor since the reveal that Peter and MJ are on the rocks, so logically he might be exploring his romantic options. And if Norman is schmoozing around the city, then it's hard to imagine that his son Harry won't be seen as well.
12 FACT: MILES MORALES WILL APPEAR
But one supporting character we do know will make an appearance is fan favorite Miles Morales; in fact, we've known about his appearance since last year. While early footage didn't state his name outright, leading to a few weeks of wild fan speculation about his presence, the official trailer thankfully cleared things up by naming him.
At this point in the game, however, it looks like he's far from donning the black and red Spidey suit that really elevated his popularity among comics fans. Miles is instead just a volunteer at F.E.A.S.T working alongside Peter and May. He is also an avid Spider-Man fanboy, recording his exploits around the city like everyone else.
11 RUMOR: MILES MIGHT BE PLAYABLE
Of course, just because we've seen Miles the civilian doesn't mean he won't be an integral part of the gameplay. There's no reason to introduce him as a character in the game if he wasn't important, after all. That type of bait is acceptable enough in Spider-Man: Homecoming.
After all, why would moviegoers switch to Miles' perspective while a young Peter Parker is around and kicking?
Video games are an entirely different experience. If Miles is important enough to show up multiple times throughout the game's marking thus far, fans can't help but think we'll have access to him as a playable character -- if not within the game proper, at least within a DLC. Here's hoping we get more of that sweet Miles content before December.
10 FACT: MARY JANE IS PLAYABLE
Thankfully, there is one confirmed playable character that fans are excited to experience -- MJ Watson. Despite not being Peter Parker's girlfriend in this game, MJ will still shine as a fiery reporter over at the Bugle, chasing after the city's crime and corruption in a way that only a determined civilian can.
This means that MJ will run several of her own missions within the game that are inaccessible to Peter as civilian or Spider-Man, which will surely lead to some interesting perspectives about the city's dark underbelly. It's a surprising career choice for this classic character, more reminiscent of her Ultimates counterpart than her mainstream 616 appearances. But we're so here for this cool twist.
9 RUMOR: YURIKO WATANABE MIGHT BECOME THE WRAITH
With all the villains and cool web-swinging that went on in the E3 2018 demo, some fans might have overlooked an important character in the latest Spider-Man game footage. The woman that Spider-Man was working with to get close to the Raft in that demo is Captain Yuriko Watanabe of the NYPD.
She is Spider-Man's righthand woman in the fight against crime, and their partnership goes back a long time.
But without any superpowers of her own, it's clear the level of danger she will experience in helping Spider-Man. She literally almost died in the Raft prison break. This has led some fans to believe Yuriko might take on her comics vigilante persona as the Wraith to help Spider-Man in the game.
8 FACT: BLACK CAT WILL BE PLAYABLE (AS DLC)
Another interesting character that we'll be able to play in this game is the sultry anti-villain Black Cat. There are some hints that she'll be in the game proper, with a few easter eggs of her persona appearing in E3 marketing materials. But we can report for sure that Black Cat will be a prominent and playable character in a DLC for the game entitled "The City That Never Sleeps."
Like with the Spider-Man game, we have no idea about this DLC's plot or its influence on the main game. However, it's an exciting development that promises to reveal juicy details about the game's world outside of Peter's everyday superheroics. Plus, if Peter's single, well... maybe there will be some flirtation between this sometimes couple.
7 RUMOR: THE AVENGERS MIGHT APPEAR
We've mentioned the game's marketing several times in this article now, and for good reason: it has been a wealth of hidden easter eggs about possible features and appearances in this game. A mock Daily Bugle was shared with E3 attendees this year at the Spider-Man presentation, and there were several real articles included.
Notably, these articles made explicit allusions to Iron Man, Daredevil, and the entire Avengers team.
Within the gameplay footage itself, fans have also seen allusions to Doctor Strange and the Black Panther. Does this mean we'll get to see the entire Marvel roster come out to defend New York? Maybe, but let's hold on to that rumor for a few more entries...
6 FACT: AN OLDER SPIDER-MAN
In the last few years, the Spider-Man property has featured a Peter Parker who is a bit arrested in his development. Peter has been stuck in high school in mainstream pop culture ever since the 2011 Amazing Spider-Man, partly inspired by the 2009 Ultimate Spider-Man comic and continuing beyond this point with a slew of animated cartoons and subsequent MCU films.
A young Spider-Man just learning the ropes of his newfound abilities is always a heartwarming joy to watch, but the origin story is getting tiresome to see. That's why fans are so excited to finally see a Peter Parker who is well into his adult life. The PS4 game features a 23-year-old Peter who has been Spider-Man for eight years.
5 RUMOR: THE SPIDER-MAN PS4 PRO BUNDLE
Out of all the rumors surrounding this upcoming PS4 release, the most well-known doesn't have to do with the plot. It actually has to do with the game console itself. While Spider-Man will be available on the regular Play Station system, fans have been hearing for months now that an exclusive Play Station Pro bundle may also be released along with the game later this year.
Some fans don't necessarily like it, but maybe they have nothing to worry about.
These rumors have been fueled in recent weeks due to a supposedly leaked image showcasing the new Pro bundle design. The no-frills game console will allegedly be a sleek red and white design with an embedded Spider-Man logo and matching red, white, and blue controller.
4 FACT: MULTIPLE COSTUME CHANGES
Another design fans were initially ambivalent about was Spider-Man's costume, the white logo ensemble that has been featured most prominently in the game footage thus far. It's not that fans haven't seen a similar costume on our favorite protagonist in other properties; it's just that fans wanted a bit more red, white, and black.
In response, Insomniac Games has released some incredible alternatives to soothe concerns. So far, we have a Spider-Man Noir costume, a punk rock Spider-Man, and an Iron Spider costume reminiscent of his Avengers: Infinity War costume. And apparently, that's not all folks! But... we don't know the details on those other alternatives. If they're anything like what we've seen so far, we're totally on board.
3 RUMOR: CROSSOVER WITH SQUARE ENIX'S AVENGERS
Honestly, the only other Marvel game we know less about is the Avengers title coming from Square Enix. Since this game was first announced in January 2017, little subsequent plot information or gameplay has been seen. They didn't even premiere anything at E3 2018, a surprise for fans considering the comparatively quick rollout of Insomniac Games' Spider-Man content following their announcement.
Some fans have speculated that this lack of information means Marvel is waiting for the critical reception of its Spider-Man game before releasing information on its Avengers title. It's a fair guess, but another rumor is that this Spider-Man game is connected to the Avengers game, meaning any information on the latter will spoil the developments of the former.
2 FACT: NOT CONNECTED TO ANY EXISTING SPIDER-MAN PROPERTY
While fans hypothesize about how these two upcoming Marvel games are connected to one another, they don't have to wonder if it will follow any recent MCU or comics canon -- which you probably already knew, since Tom Holland certainly isn't voicing this adult Peter Parker.
No, this time around Spider-Man exists in his own virtual world.
Several of the game's developers have stated on social media and in interviews that the PS4 game won't be connected to any other Spider-Man property to date. This new world is of their own design, and this game has no bearing on canon beyond a limited comics prequel series. So, get ready to jump into an alternate Spidey world, a la the Telltale Batman games.
1 RUMOR: IT MAY SPARK A MARVEL GAMING UNIVERSE
Okay, so this rumor has some validity based on previous entries in this post. The Spider-Man PS4 game is not connected to any other Spider-Man property, there is an abundance of easter eggs about the Avengers, and Square Enix is developing a mysterious Avengers title that may be connected to this PS4.
So, with that info, is Marvel developing an expansive video game universe?
Marvel Games executive creative director Bill Rosemann has been coyly addressing this rumor in recent interviews. He has said outright that, like the first Iron Man movie, Marvel considers this Spider-Man game as a launchpad for its future virtual endeavors... but right now the focus is just on making a good Spider-Man game. If that's successful? Get ready for the MGU, folks.