‘Be Greater Together’ Is More Than A Tagline For Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
This week, I flew to L.A. to meet with PlayStation and Insomniac Games to preview an early build of Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. Throughout my 90 minutes with the game, I was delightfully treated to the new story elements, combat, and traversal mechanics. However, one thing in particular stuck with me –– the relationship between Peter Parker and Miles Morales.
Since the inception of this series, Insomniac Games has been setting up this budding and evolving partnership with the two beloved webheads. The game has properly showcased that both characters are playable with unique abilities, skill trees, and animations. Following a Peter-centric entry and the Miles spin-off, the two share the spotlight in Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. So much so that Insomniac heavily uses the #BeGreaterTogether hashtag in its marketing.
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 is shaping up to be one hell of a superhero game
In a riff off the ‘Be Greater’ tag in the original Marvel’s Spider-Man, I initially thought this was a clever way of pointing out that the Spider-family is growing. Players can look forward to seamlessly transitioning between Peter and Miles throughout the game. However, as I began playing the game, I quickly realized that ‘Be Greater Together’ is a core theme of the game.
For context, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 picks up nine months after Miles Morales. In the preview I experience, Peter is already donning the symbiote-stricken Black Suit. Much like in all Spider-Man media, this causes Peter to lash out and act more aggressively despite his best intentions. In a bid to cure Dr. Kurt Conners after transforming into the Lizard, Peter is chasing any leads. This sets him on a crash course against Kraven and Lizard himself. All the while, Peter is incrementally distancing himself from those around him.
On the other hand, Miles is graduating high school and figuring out what’s next. While still early in his Spider-Man career, he looks towards Peter for mentorship. Miles finds himself on his journey to track down Martin Li, who was responsible for his father’s death. However, he becomes constantly frustrated as Peter begins to close him out since merging with the symbiote.
This forced separation was very much on display throughout my time spent with the game. Peter is playing investigator, tracking down Lizard across New York, Queens, and Brooklyn, all of which equate to a map double the size of the original game. As Peter forces Miles out of the picture, Miles becomes busy chasing Kraven’s drones and investigating a break-in at a local art exhibit. As the story progresses, it’s clear Peter’s over his head. Despite the heightened powers thanks to the symbiote, he’s always one step behind his adversaries. Miles is also out of his element. Even a more small-scale crime proved to be too much for one webslingers.
‘Be Greater Together’, at first glance, sounds like a simple tag. However, there’s so much more to it. This is emblematic of the chase sequence involving Peter, Miles, and Lizard. During the ‘Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 – Gameplay Reveal’ video from earlier this year, we’re finally shown what the two heroes can do when working together. While struggling to fend off Kraven’s mercenaries and catch Lizard, Miles comes up with a spur-of-the-moment plan. “Alley-oop on three,” Miles utters. In this moment, the two sync up their abilities and moments. Two can successfully catch their breath by sending a drone into the mercenary’s helicopter. A moment like this amplifies the message that working together is the only way these two will overcome their obstacles.
Of course, this moment of celebration is short-lived. Peter quickly regresses in isolation because of the symbiote. He also blames Miles for the minor errors in this sequence, allowing Lizard to escape. However, that brief moment where the two work together in harmony uniquely displays why these characters need each other. It’s a moment I craved to see more of throughout my demo.
Much like the paternal relationship shown throughout Breaking Bad between Jesse Pinkman and Walter White, I desperately wanted to see both characters getting along and on the same page. Miles seeks approval and understanding from Peter. The former is still getting his feet wet as a friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man. Especially after the events of Miles Morales, we’ve never truly seen him under the wing of Peter as far as mentorship. Unfortunately, the influence the symbiote has on Peter doesn’t allow him to be there for Miles.
The segment experienced in my demo is the tip of the iceberg of what Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 will offer. Undoubtedly, we’ll see the two in toe synchronized as the game opens up. This conflict and divide will continue to brew well beyond the 90 minutes of story I experienced. Of course, the moment the two are reunited (hopefully), the payoff has the potential to leave players in awe.
‘Be Greater Together’ has the chance to drive character motivations and the entire crux of the narrative. Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 has the rich opportunity to do some unique things, and I am open to all possibilities. However, beyond any easter egg or villain reveal, I want to see Peter and Miles in their element — together.