It’s the most wonderful time of the year. No, not Christmas; I’m talking about E3. It’s safe to say that no other week of the entire year brings me as much joy as E3 does, and I think the same can be said for a lot of gamers. There’s nothing more fun than seeing all of the world’s biggest game developers coming together to reveal just what we will be playing over the coming months and years.
Most folks identify E3 as the stage where the biggest reveals in the games industry take place. It’s an event where dreams become reality and rumors become confirmations. Nothing is more exciting than seeing a reveal trailer or new gameplay footage of a title that you’ve been hearing about for months or years. At E3, anything can happen and that’s what makes it so great.
As we near E3 2017, our hopes grow and we pray that the games we long for the most will be revealed to the world or shown off in a new capacity. The past few E3 shows have been particularly insane with reveals like Final Fantasy VII Remake, Shenmue III, and last year’s showing of the new God of War. At E3, anything can happen so it’s never a bad idea to dream big and hope that the game you want to see the most shows up in some capacity. That said, my biggest dream for this year’s E3 is a relatively simple one: I just want to see some gameplay for Insomniac Games’ Spider-Man title on PS4.
I know, it’s a safe dream, right? I could’ve chosen to go with Bloodborne II being revealed, the unveiling of Elder Scrolls VI, or heck, maybe even getting a deeper look at Visceral’s new Star Wars game. All of those would be great if they happened ; they probably won’t. But in the end, I just really want to see actual gameplay footage of Spider-Man, which seems likely.
Spider-Man as a character has always meant a lot to me. I grew up reading the comics — particularly Brian Michael Bendis’ Ultimate Spider-Man series — and I’ve always really identified with Peter Parker. It sounds weird to aspire to be like a fictional character, but to me, I’ve always wanted to have qualities like Peter. Despite sometimes being an outcast amongst his peers or being mistreated by his boss at work, Peter knows how to keep his head up and do what’s right in all situations. If I could have just a bit of his character attributes, then I’d be happy with myself.
This being said, you can be guaranteed that I was freaking out last year when I saw Insomniac’s Spider-Man game unveiled at Sony’s press conference. We had heard rumors about the game in the months leading up to the show, but I blew them off. Originally, Sucker Punch was rumored to be developing the game: I thought that sounded way too unrealistic. But then here we are with Insomniac – one of my favorite studios – now developing a game featured around one of my favorite characters. I don’t get too excited with video game reveals anymore, but I’m pretty sure that I smiled that night until I went to bed.
To give you a bit more background into my history with Spidey and video games: Spider-Man 2 is one of my favorite games of all time. Sure, it’s cheesy in a lot of ways (“My balloon!”), but that game above all else nailed the feeling of being Spider-Man — at least in the PS2 era. What was so perfect about Spider-Man 2 for me was that, for the first time ever in a video game, web-slinging had been done right.
As a kid, swinging around New York as Spider-Man was something I could only dream of being able to do. Heck, I still have dreams like that to this day — they’re always awesome, too. I often remember getting home from school and booting up my PS2 just to swing around the city for hours on end. No going to Mysterio’s funhouse, no fighting Doc Ock, no saving Mary Jane — just swinging through New York. Spider-Man 2 finally saw that my dream was realized, at least to a degree.
Subsequent Spider-Man games continued to improve upon the open-world web-slinging mechanics that I adored. Ultimate Spider-Man‘s swinging felt great for the most part, and added a better sense of speed and motion that wasn’t seen in Spider-Man 2. In Ultimate Spider-Man, Spidey wasn’t swinging in a straight line. His body would move a bit more with the way in which his web attached to a nearby building or object. It was a good step in the right direction: the next big leap didn’t come until a few years later, however. And no, I’m not talking about Spider-Man 3.
2008’s Spider-Man: Web of Shadows is, to this day, the greatest Spider-Man game from a web-slinging standpoint. There’s a perfect sense of speed and fluidity that had never been seen in a Spider-Man game before. The web zip mechanic was now allowed to be used to quickly shimmy up walls and you could also sprint horizontally along walls to continue your momentum before shooting another web and continuing through the city. The speed with which you moved was amazing and everything was designed to keep your character moving. Plus, Spider-Man’s character model now actually swung in the direction of his webs to give the feel he was building momentum. It was a fantastic system and it’s the closest I’ve felt to being Spider-Man in any video game.
Since that time, there’s been some other solid Spider-Man games such as Shattered Dimensions and Edge of Time. While great games in their own right, neither of them had the open worlds of the previous titles. They were solid titles, just not what I want in a Spider-Man game. Then of course, there were The Amazing Spider-Man movie tie-ins, but neither of those spoke to me. They weren’t awful, but I didn’t think they pushed open-world Spider-Man games to where they needed to be.
So after a brief history of Spider-Man games and web-slinging mechanics, let’s jump back to the present: to the road to E3. Why do I so badly just want to see gameplay of the newest Spider-Man game this year? Well, because it’s been almost ten years since there’s been an open-world Spidey game that I’ve loved. In that time, technology has gotten better and games as a whole have markably improved. While last year’s reveal trailer gave me an idea of how the game will play, my head is still spinning with ideas for what an open-world Spider-Man game could be like in the current generation of games.
The main reason I want to see gameplay though is because I want to see what those web-swinging mechanics look like. How do they control? How does it feel? Is there an incredible sense of speed to go along with a great sense of control? What does Spider-Man’s character model look like while he swings? I want answers to all of these questions.
So at a baseline level, that’s all I’m hoping to see at E3: actual gameplay of Spider-Man. That said, an official title for the game would be nice as well: “Spider-Man PS4“ doesn’t really roll off the tongue. Let’s get a real title for this game, already.
While we’re adding more to this “dream,” I’m also holding out hope that we see some footage or images of the game’s villains. One of my favorite things about Insomniac’s take on Spider-Man is what they’ve done with his costume. The giant white spider was a bit odd at first, but now I adore the design. I’d love to see Insomniac take the same creative liberties with potential baddies like Doctor Octopus, Green Goblin, Electro, or Venom.
If we’re talking the biggest dreams imaginable for E3 2017, I’d love to get my hands on Spider-Man at the show. This year I’ll be attending E3 for the first time in my life and I couldn’t be more excited. As of now, we don’t know whether or not Spider-Man will be at Sony’s conference — though it’s a good bet — and we sure don’t know whether the game will be playable on the floor. If it is though, I’ll try my best to play the game if I have the chance. Nothing could make my week more than being able to finally get my hands on one of my most anticipated games in years.
That’s my biggest dream for E3. Simply seeing a couple minutes of Spider-Man gameplay would mean the world to me and I’d definitely watch that footage on repeat for months.
As we near E3, what do you want to see the most at this year’s show? What’s your dream scenario? Be sure to let us know in the comments. Lastly, keep an eye out over the coming days and weeks as some fellow DualShockers writers will be sharing their biggest dreams for E3 2017 as well in our ongoing series.