Spider-Man 2 Developers Detail Graphics Options, Gameplay, and More in a New Interview

Image: Insomniac Games

A team of Spider-Man 2 developers has shared many details about the upcoming sequel in a new interview ahead of next month’s release. Insomniac’s Mike Fitzgerald (Director of Core Technology), Jeannette Lee (Project Director), and Doug Sheen (Senior Programming Director) provided an interview with IGN where they shared details ranging from technical aspects of the game to more in-depth information about its villains, gameplay mechanics, and its new graphical configurations.

Three FPS modes for 120 Hz displays

The Spider-Man 2 developers have put effort into making sure that PlayStation 5 owners can get the best possible experience by offering 30, 40, and 60 FPS modes with support for VRR and 120 Hz televisions. Ray tracing effects remain enabled for all three modes and anti-aliasing along with dithering solutions help leverage player preferences with visual fidelity.

Per Mike Fitzgerald:

“So really the foundation for how we decide to render things is we like to have our resolution be dynamic and then we have a pretty robust temporal anti-aliasing solution that lets us scale that up and down… do different dithering effects with materials and things in the scene. And what that means is we get to leverage the players’ preference about how they want to play the game and also make sure we use all the features of their display in the console as well. So whether you have a VRR television, whether you like playing at 60fps or 30 or 40, if you have 120hz TV, we really get to tailor everything to best utilize that tech.”

There’s no mode of this game that has the ray tracing turned off, no need for it. We’ve really figured out how to deliver what we feel like is the right Spider-Man visuals and we want to make sure every player is seeing that.

Mike Fitzgerald

From the Symbiote to Venom to Kraven

Spider-Man 2 sees the introduction of the symbiote which eventually goes on to become Venom (voiced by Tony Todd). Kraven the Hunter (voiced by Red Dead Redemption 2 actor Jim Pirri), another older classic villain, is brought into the fold as well. Jeannette Lee and Mike Fitzgerald explained how important it was to impart Peter’s dilemma in donning the black suit but the challenge with the visual aspects of the symbiote.

Per Jeannette Lee:

“I’m blown away by some of the ways we were able to bring the symbiote to life. The symbiote powers that Peter has in the black suit have a very visceral and powerful feel to them both visually and while you’re playing. I think that experience is going to sort of put you in the mind of wondering, “Do you want to take that black suit off or do you want to give into that power?”

Mike Fitzgerald adds:

“Just the process of understanding what the symbiote would look like and how it would behave pretty much took the entire development of the game. I think it impacts everything else. If you make it look too watery, well then Venom’s kind of weak. You make it too solid and it’s like a weird octopus and it needs to be gooey and we don’t have ways to animate these crazy ways that this substance might behave throughout the game.”

It turns out that Kraven’s inclusion in this game as one of its main villains was just a coincidence as Sony Pictures chose to move forward with its own film project. Doug Sheen explains that Insomniac had made the decision to use the character long before hearing Sony’s decision to expand its Spider-verse with him.

Per Doug Sheen:

“I would say that we made our choice long ago about who was going to be one of the main, who our main villains were going to be, who was going to be there at the beginning of production. When we first started talking about this game, we knew it was going to be Kraven, and so we didn’t really talk about it with Sony Pictures or anything like that, but it’s definitely more of a happy accident that just getting more exposure for the character.”

New Gameplay Mechanics

The Spider-Man 2 developers go on to explain how players will be able to switch between playing either Miles Morales or Peter Parker throughout the game but there is also the addition of Web Wings (something that has been seen intermittently throughout Spider-Man’s comic-book history). While Doug has no problem in admitting that getting the web swinging just right was one of the hardest things to program, Web Wings had a different set of challenges.

Image: Insomniac Games

“And then just making sure we got all the mechanics of it, of getting that feeling of flight, making sure that we were getting that underlying element of physics to it so that it felt right to people, but also then getting the gameplay element on top so it would control correctly, integrate correctly, get all the extra little bits that could influence it so that players could really feel like they were a master of the system.”

A new parry and defensive mechanic have also been added to the game (where Doug mentions a boss fight with The Lizard). Additionally, the team had to work out how to incorporate the symbiote’s abilities while Peter was wearing the black suit. There are many more details shared in the IGN interview and well worth the read for fans of the franchise.

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Peter Brosdahl
As a child of the 70’s I was part of the many who became enthralled by the video arcade invasion of the 1980’s. Saving money from various odd jobs I purchased my first computer from a friend of my dad, a used Atari 400, around 1982. Eventually it would end up being a lifelong passion of upgrading and modifying equipment that, of course, led into a career in IT support.

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