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There are two Spider-Men. Now what?
Spider-Man: Miles Morales is not the proper sequel to the 2018 Spider-Man game, as developer Insomniac was very quick to say. Spider-Man 2 is likely years away. In the meantime, though, we have Miles’ first-ever solo game, which is chiefly concerned with his hero’s journey and showing what makes him distinct from his mentor, Peter Parker. But Miles Morales also provides an interesting look at what could await Miles and Peter when they finally make a full jump to the PlayStation 5 for the sequel.
**SPOILER WARNING: This post contains major spoilers for Spider-Man: Miles Morales and the 2018 Spider-Man game**
The first Spider-Man teased the idea of Peter and Miles fighting crime side by side in post-credits scenes in the base game and subsequent DLC. With two Spider-Men now in the picture, and that guaranteed sequel, many fans hope that Spider-Man 2 proper will take full advantage of its two leads. Perhaps the most exciting way that the sequel could make use of two web-slingers? Two-player co-op. Now that two games have been spent building up both characters as similar, but also distinct in their own ways, it’s natural to want to play these games with a friend. And thanks to Miles, Insomniac presents a clear vision for what that kind of game could look like.
In the game’s opening moments, Miles and Peter have to fight a convoy full of escaped prisoners and a rampaging Rhino. While the rookie Miles deals with the normal crooks, Peter eventually asks him to tag in for wrangling Rhino, leading to a rampage in the mall that sees Peter swing civilians out of danger as Miles does what he can to get the villain under control. Much later in the game, story missions see Miles fight alongside both Prowler (aka his uncle, Aaron Davis) and the Tinkerer (his best friend, Phin Mason) against Roxxon forces. Players can work alongside the computer-controlled Prowler to pull off takedowns in a manner similar to Batman: Arkham Knight’s Dual Play. In these moments with another costumed character, the game’s AI is quite competent and never gets in the way. But, what if instead of working alongside an NPC, two real-life players could swing through the city and take down villains together?
If Insomniac wishes to stick to solo play, there’s another option. When Peter returns to New York after his work trip with Mary Jane at the end of Miles, he calls his protege to let the teen know there won’t be much in the way of chaperoning. Reading between the lines, it sounds like a perfect opportunity to sweep between each character and give them their own interior lives like in Grand Theft Auto V. Ambitious, sure, but appropriate, as Peter and Miles’ games have successfully blended their respective dual lives into both the story and gameplay. And when they have to work together, switch between the two or have the AI Spidey be a button prompt, as Black Cat was in DLC for the first game.
Like its predecessor, Miles Morales boasts sequel-hooks that tease what could be next for the titular character and the larger world he inhabits. Miles will likely have to deal with Kingpin using his power behind bars to sow chaos in Harlem, plus his uncle Aaron’s eventual release from prison. If that weren’t enough, the game’s post-credits scene shows Norman Osborn waking up his son Harry, who still seems set to become Venom. While typically associated with Peter in the comics, Venom is still a personal enemy for Miles; the Symbiote was responsible for the death of Miles’ mother Rio and the teen’s subsequent one-year retirement from being a superhero. Spider-Man 2 will likely make Venom a central villain, one with ties to both Peter and Miles, who threatens to plunge New York into chaos.
What makes the prospect of two Spider-Men in one game so exciting is that it finally feels like Marvel has accepted Miles as an equal to Peter rather than “Spider-Man #2.” It often felt like Marvel was afraid for the two to be in the same room. Cartoons like Ultimate and Marvel's Spider-Man eventually featured Miles and then didn’t really know what to do with him. But Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse gave Miles a shot in the arm, and various creative forces have successfully taken advantage of that film’s momentum. When Spider-Man 2 arrives, it’ll be during a period where Miles and Peter have gotten their team dynamic down pat, and we’ll be seeing both heroes at the top of their game.
Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales is out now for the PS5 and PS4.