Though we may get another tease or two in the weeks to come, the launch trailer for Marvel’s Spider-Man is likely our last big look at the upcoming PS4 exclusive. And though it largely touches on scenes and themes we’ve seen before, could its structure be hinting at a much larger, playable role for one of its main supporting characters?
Insomniac Games revealed Miles Morales would appear in its Spider-Man adventure back at E3 2017, with a quick tease of Peter Parker-as-Spidey swinging over his head. But since then, we’ve gotten even more Miles.
Today’s new trailer opens and closes with a big Miles-Spidey moments. The trailer’s introductory scene appears to be the first time the two meet, while the trailer ends with the familiar shot of Spider-Man swinging overhead as Miles records him on his phone.
(Check out the dramatic shift in character model at that particular moment from those two trailers below.)
The opening scene is the most striking, too, indicating that Miles has bigger aspirations. Spider-Man tells him to leave the fighting to the professionals, and Miles questioning what happens when there aren’t any around. It’s certainly setting him up to at least want to be more involved in Spider-Man’s world, if not outright setting him up to be a worthy successor.
And as IGN’s own Senior Comics Editor Joshua Yehl has noted, viral marketing for the game indicated Spider-Man goes missing at some point in this continuity, which would theoretically set up a successor to take on the mantle if needed.
Given this trailer is likely one of the final pieces used to set up Spider-Man ahead of launch, it’s a pretty good bet that anything touched on is at least somewhat central to the game. And considering the Comic-Con 2018 story trailer highlighted Spider-Man and Miles have a pretty close friendship, he’s at the very least being set up as a major secondary character, if not a major player in the narrative.
Spider-Man Creative Director Bryan Intihar has spoken to Miles’ increased importance to the game as development went on in an interview with GamesTM (via CBR). Morales’ heightened presence in the trailers, albeit as a civilian, certainly corroborates that. But given Miles’ popularity, his importance to Spider-Man in this story, and the sheer number of callbacks to Spider-Man history, Miles could be set up as a potential third playable character, even though Intihar has been tight-lipped to IGN about whether Miles would be playable.
With Mary Jane confirmed to be playable alongside Spider-Man, there’s nothing preventing Insomniac from fleshing out the story with yet another playable perspective. It just could obviously be something the developers intend to be hiding as a surprise.
(Spoilers for The Last of Us: it wouldn’t be a huge shock for Insomniac not wanting to ruin the surprise of if/when you theoretically take control of Spider-Man. Discovering you had to play as Ellie for a lengthy section of The Last of Us was one of its most earned, welcome surprises, delivering on a formula that, when done right, can bring newfound momentum to an experience.)
So how exactly could Miles come into play? Well, obviously as a spider-powered hero of his own. But Intihar’s comments to GamesTM that Miles’ role will “surprise people” offers a couple possibilities. Miles could take on the Spider-Man mantle following a shocking moment in Peter’s superhero career — could this even be the end of one Spider-Man’s career and the beginning of another’s? Or could Miles stay de-powered for the entire experience, playing out as a more grounded character who can come to Spider-Man’s aid in a desperate moment, only teasing strands of a superhero career to come?
However Miles factors into the story, he appears to be much more than a simple cameo. His prominent role in recent trailers, and those trailers penchant for obfuscation and misdirection — keeping the final member of the Sinister Six a secret and the clever camera cut that seemingly reveals an unmasked Peter meeting with Norman Osborn come to mind.
Whether Insomniac’s Spider-Man world has more in store for Miles’ destiny remains to be seen until Spider-Man launches on PS4 on Sept. 7, but it wouldn’t be shocking for a larger Miles role to be masked behind his fanboy-ish appearances so far.
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Jonathon Dornbush is IGN’s News Editor. He has such fond memories of swinging around in Spider-Man 2 and hopes Spider-Man on PS4 can live up to it. Talk to him about Spidey on Twitter @jmdornbush.