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What The Great Web Leaks Could Tell Us About Future Spider-Man Games

Earlier this week, a trailer for a purportedly canned multiplayer Spider-Man title from Insomniac Games leaked online. Called Spider-Man: The Great Web, the multiplayer spinoff would’ve allowed a number of iterations on the character to tackle crime, and ultimately the Sinister Six, cooperatively. Insomniac’s Peter Parker (voiced by Yuri Lowenthal) narrated the trailer and appeared to be the central Spider-Man of the game, but was joined in the action by others, such as Scarlet Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2099, and Spider-Gwen. Now another trailer—or more aptly, a different version of the first trailer—has also found its way online, and details more of the concept of “the Great Web.”

Spider-Man 2's New Web Wings Make It Feel Like A Proper Sequel

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Though the initial leak gave us some sense of the core concept—seemingly Insomniac’s take on the Spider-Verse that has been popularized by the recent animated Sony films—we were only really treated to glimpses of alternate realities, like Spider-Man Noir’s dimension. This second trailer, which mostly follows the same script, significantly deviates in that it tries to explain the Great Web and set up its role in the story. Lowenthal’s narration succinctly surmises the now-familiar multiverse idea, saying, “You know the Great Web? The inter-dimensional nexus of life and destiny that connects all us Spider-pals together? A few of us here tried to protect it…but we failed.”

The “collapse” of the Great Web seems to have been brought on by the Sinister Six’s activities and would’ve kicked off the game’s narrative. Speaking of, the Sinister Six are shown with a slightly different lineup in the second trailer, suggesting that Insomniac might’ve been bouncing between ideas for the final group as they were nailing down the concept. For example, though the first trailer features Vulture among the rogues, the lineup at the end of the second trailer suggests he was replaced by Miles Morales’ uncle-turned-villain, the Prowler, or vice-versa. It’s likely that as Insomniac was working on the game and sorting out where in the series’ chronology it might take place, the state of the lineup was in flux.

That last point about Prowler and the timeline brings me to another thing that the second trailer appears to land on: it doesn’t seem like the Sinister Six in The Great Web are the exact same ones players faced at the end of 2018’s Marvel’s Spider-Man. Instead, it seems far more likely that a number of the villains emerged from the Great Web, much like the “Spider-pals” who join up with Insomniac’s Peter in his reality. Their presence looks to be the cause of the instability threatening the Great Web, which the players would spend the game trying to curb. We’re doing a Spider-Man: No Way Home, y’all!

With the title seemingly canceled now, we’re left to speculate about what might happen to many of the developments made on The Great Web. For example, the portals that we see in both trailers seem to almost be a riff on the ones we saw in Spider-Man 2’s huge Black Cat sequence, as well as the technology seen in another Insomniac game, Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart. We know that the games aren’t shy about broaching the multiverse, considering Spider-Man 2’s cameo in Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse last year, and a side quest in the game even explicitly invokes the films. Considering the colliding visions of the multiverse, it’s very possible that The Great Web’s concept was folded into the existing Spider-Verse for the sake of cohesion and is revisited down the line in one of Insomniac’s sequels, spinoffs, and upcoming titles that were detailed in a hack last year.

Additionally, the fact that a co-op Spider-Man title was ever up and running suggests that its multiplayer functionality could be incorporated into a potential Spider-Man 3 rather than launch as a standalone game. Tech is often developed for games that never see the light of day, but it seems like a waste to have The Great Web as a proof-of-concept that is never followed up on. Especially considering the number of multiplayer games the Insomniac hack revealed, there’s reason to believe that this is an idea or game that Insomniac will circle back to at some point in the future.

In any case, both trailers point to a thoroughly fleshed-out concept that doesn’t look like it’ll be seeing the light of day. Despite the trailers leaking, neither Insomniac nor Sony has said anything about the game, meaning it’s hard to pinpoint why it’s reportedly been canceled. It could be that the recent layoffs across Sony’s portfolio of studios affected the team working on the title, forcing it to be shuttered. It could be that the project was greenlit, prototyped and worked on until the developers realized it didn’t quite come together. It could be that Sony has seen how the live-service bubble has burst in the last few years and pulled the plug to avoid potential losses. Considering how expensive Marvel’s Spider-Man 2 was to develop and market, and how it still hasn’t broken even despite its massive sales figures, the publisher might just be averse to saturating the market with another title only to wind up in a similar spot.

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