The two Marvel’s Spider-Man games that have been released to date (2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man and 2020’s Miles Morales) have been great examples of what you can do with a shorter open world game. The more focused scope of the games results in Insomniac being able to pump more love into the setpieces that did make the cut. It means that a pacier, more engaging storyline can take center-stage. It means that there’s not a surplus of open world bloat dragging the whole experience down.
Insomniac has apparently kept that philosophy in mind as it’s been building the second numbered game in the series. “Spider-Man 2 is in the same ball-park as the first game in terms of overall play time,” explains Ryan Smith, senior game director at Insomniac Games, in a full interview with VG247. “And we really thought about how to make each of the moments a little more epic, or a little deeper, or a little more story-integrated.”
For what it’s worth, HowLongToBeat lists Marvel’s Spider-Man as about 17 hours in length, with a 34½ hours completion time for anyone that wants to strive for the Platinum or 100% completion.
From the preview section I played, everything was tight; whether you were Miles or Peter, there was always a very strong sense of momentum pushing you forward. Even the ‘go here, do this’ missions designed to push the plot along had high-stakes, interesting elements to them. Nothing felt like it was included, just because. Spider-Man 2, so far, has all the urgency of the MCU at its best.
“We don’t want this to be an 80-100 hour game, that’s not where we want to be. We want to tell amazing stories, the best we can,” continues Smith. “We want to make every mission really, really memorable. That’s our goal, rather than going super, super broad.” And the proof is in the pudding, as they say: even the short preview session I played was pacy, well-plotted, and curated.
Smith goes on to say that the open world is “evolving” to suit this more focused scope. “We want to make sure that there’s a story element to everything that you discover in the world,” he explains. “We saw players really respond to that when we did it well in previous titles.” To that end, even picking up some of the many collectibles (clearly marked on your map, and highlighted with lovely UI, for what it’s worth), you will hear your active protagonist quip in the most Spider-Man way about the item.
It’s very clear Insomniac understands both its characters, and its playerbase, and has found a nice, focused way of weaving them together in an experience that never threatens to outstay its welcome.
Spider-Man 2 launches exclusively for PS5 on October 20. You can read everything we know about Spider-Man 2 so far at the link.