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There's a strong argument to be made that Spider-Man is defined by the city he lives in more than any other superhero.
Sure Batman has this weird, intimate love-hate relationship with Gotham City and loves to stand and cry in the alley where his parents were murdered, but he lives in a massive mansion by the city limits. Not exactly a man of the people. Ditto for Superman, who will always love Metropolis, but also runs away to a massive ice fortress in the middle of the Arctic when he really wants to be alone.
Spidey is a born-and-raised New Yorker who grew up in Queens and loves the city he lives in because he's a part of it. He's the friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man - a hero who looks out for the little guy because he is the little guy. Some of the best Spidey stories out there - including Marvel's Spider-Man - could only ever work in New York.
I say this as a huge fan of Spider-Man... and because I really believe that Marvel's Spider-Man 2 should take the wallcrawler out of New York City in order to keep things interesting.
Insomniac Games knocked it out of the park with Marvel's Spider-Man in 2018. New York has never looked so good in a Spidey game - hell, it's arguably never looked so good in any game, ever. I've played it through four or five times on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 now, and still whack it on every now and again just to swing through Manhattan and take in the sights. It's my virtual happy place.
Last year's Spider-Man: Miles Morales nailed it again, and it was great to see that same New York setting covered in white snow and bright Christmas lights. It also made sense to return to what was essentially the same open-world as before (albeit with a few neat twists) because of the nature of Miles Morales as a smaller, spinoff game.
But we know Insomniac is working on a larger sequel, and as much I love seeing Spider-Man - both Spider-Men - in New York, I for one don't really want to see the Big Apple for the third time in a row. I'm sure there are all sorts of things the team could do to make it look better on PS5, and I'm certain they could change things up by introducing areas like Brooklyn and Queens - but the meat of the experience would still be Manhattan, and it's been done as well as it ever can be. Why settle for a few enhancements and new areas when Spidey could leave the city altogether and go somewhere completely new?
So here's my pitch, because I know the team at Insomniac obviously reads everything written by people on the internet and they definitely take down notes: Make Marvel's Spider-Man 2 a globe-trotting adventure. Not only would it keep things minty fresh from a gameplay perspective, it'd also make sense in terms of the wider story Insomniac is telling.
Miles Morales was literally all about Miles proving himself as a hero that could more than handle looking after New York without Peter, freeing up the OG webhead to actually leave town and catch thieves just like flies all over the world. That's exactly what he was doing in the last game, helping out Silver Sable and MJ in Symkaria. I'm hoping that wasn't just Insomniac writing Peter out for a game, and that it was more laying down the groundwork for the future.
I envision a globe-trotting sequel in which Peter sets out across the world for some reason or other. Maybe he's attempting to take down Oscorp after discovering what happened to Harry Osborn? Maybe he's looking for some kind of cure for his best friend? Maybe he's just tracking down a missing person or on some other wild goose chase orchestrated by a superpowered idiot with too much time on their hands? It doesn't really matter, as long as we have an excuse to get Spidey on a plane hopping around the world.
In the same way that The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has different open-world maps that you can travel between, I'd imagine Marvel's Spider-Man 2 more international flavour would involve several cities around the world, none quite as big as New York, but enough to allow for more variety.
Just imagine the beautifully executed traversal and parkour mechanics of the first game as you navigate the rooftops of London, the waterways of Venice, and the fascinating architecture of Barcelona. Those are just three off the top of my head, mind you. Insomniac could take us anywhere as the plot demanded it. We could even still head back to New York from time to time, perhaps checking in on Miles as he continues to protect the city as a solo Spidey.
There are all manner of unexpected ways that a studio like Insomniac could keep New York in the picture if they wanted to, of course. I also know I'd still be first in line to swing over the same rooftops and fight crime on the same streets. But Marvel's Spider-Man 2 has an opportunity to go places we never saw coming - literally.
The likes of Spider-Man: Far From Home and good chunks of the later end of Dan Slott's run on The Amazing Spider-Man have proved that Peter can still work as an international hero, and can actually be more interesting as a fish out of water dealing with bigger threats than he's used to handling alone. Marvel's Spider-Man 2 can - and should - take note and put a few miles on our hero's soul. Peter's gotten everything he can out of New York for now, and so have we.
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