Spider-Man PS4 E3 2018 gameplay shows open world gameplay, FOUR classic villains, and everything else you need to know

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If you were worried the first Spider-Man PS4 demos looked a little scripted and QTE heavy then fear not -the latest Spider-Man PS4 gameplay from E3 2018 shows plenty of freeform, open world action, physics-based swinging and oh God ALL the enemies. 

Read on to see the new Spider-Man PS4 E3 2018 gameplay, find out about the release date and more. 

Fast facts

  • Spider-Man PS4 release date: September 7, 2018
  • Developer: Insomniac Games
  • Publisher: Sony
  • Format: PS4

Spider-Man PS4 release date is September 7, 2018

As of a tease for GameInformer's May cover story, we know know that the official  Spider-Man PS4 release date is September 7. We'd hoped we wouldn't have to wait too long, and that seems to land right in the sweet spot between 'soon enough to get legitimately hyped' and 'long enough for a healthy amount of polish'. Yet more details are going to spill out over the course of the month, and of course we'll bring you all the most important stuff on this here very page. 

But for now, what you really need to know is that although Spider-Man won't be able to kill or injure civilians, he will be able to stop swinging long enough to take a selfie with them, whip out the finger guns or even give them a cheeky high-five. Nice one Spidey.

The Spider-Man E3 2018 gameplay features open world swinging and four classic Marvel villains

Too many villains, to count, almost. The new Spider-Man PS4 E3 2018 gameplay takes place on The Raft, a supermax infirmary for Marvel's most wanted (kind of like Arkham Asylum, but in the ocean), which is unfortunately falling into chaos after Electro begins causing havoc on the scene. Our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man is already on the job but, over the course of seven minutes of new gameplay footage, we see him run in with Scorpion, Vulture, Rhino, and Mr. Negative all at once. The trailer doesn't end well for poor old Peter Parker, but there's even a tease of some help at the last minute. Could this be one of The Avengers calling in a favour? We know they exist in Insomniac's realisation of the Marvel-verse, but the studio is staying mum for now. 

Spider-Man PS4 might start a Marvel Games Universe to parallel the MCU 

This always felt like a possibility, but now we have word that nudges it closer to ‘probability’. It was announced from the start that Spider-Man PS4 represents the start of Marvel becoming more involved in the games that spawn from its comics, getting hands-on in the creative process with hand-picked publishers and producers, rather than letting the dice-roll of licensing sales dictate the (usually average at best) quality of the final products. So far, so exactly the thinking that informed the creation of the MCU. But now, Marvel Games executive creative director Bill Rosemann has waded in, discussing the possibility of a shared Marvel Games Universe in an interview with The Telegraph. And entirely not ruling it out…

“This is Marvel’s New York”, Rosemann says of the game’s setting. “This is a Marvel game. It’s not in a bubble. It is the New York that you want Spider-Man in. So yeah, uh, if you’re a Marvel fan coming to play this game you’ll see familiar names and logos and locations and we’re lucky that you’ll see, oh, that is the Sanctum Sanctorum?! It’s not going to be a focus but you’ll be able to swing by it. You’ll feel like, this isn’t just any New York City, I’m in the Marvel universe. This is Marvel’s New York. There will be a lot of elements that will make you feel like it’s part of a larger story.”

Rosemann does go on to repeatedly iterate that Marvel doesn’t want to “put the cart before the horse”, and references how Iron-Man started as a focused, single-character movie before spinning out into the wider MCU. Which it absolutely did. But then the MCU did happen, so the comparison certainly doesn’t mean a ‘No’. It’s also notable how cagey Rosemann gets when asked whether the Avengers game in production at Square-Enix will have ties to Spider-Man PS4. It all has a distinct whiff of guarded intent about it. 

Spider-Man PS4 DLC and Collector's Edition detailed

Spider-Man PS4 is being released in several different flavours. First of all there's the normal edition ($59.99), and the Digital Deluxe version ($79.99), which comes with three DLC chapters, new missions, costumes, and villains. Presumably those villains are part of the new chapters, because it'd be a bit weird if they were just wandering around the place. 

And if you want to crank up the spend to $149.99, you can get the Collector's Edition, which comprises all of the above, alongside an art book, a steel case, and a statue of Spidey perching upon... something. The something has yet to be revealed, probably due to being a spoiler, as have two of the special DLC suits. Maybe wait a bit to find out, just in case it's something really embarrassing?  

Spider-Man PS4 special edition PS4 Pro is very pretty, but also (probably) fake 

As exciting as all the above special edition content and toy-based malarkey is, one thing that isn’t yet confirmed is whether you’ll be able to get a special, Spider-Man themed console, so that you can Spider-Man your PS4 while you PS4 your Spider-Man. According to a Reddit post claiming to have a picture of a Spider-Man PS4 Pro, such a thing exists. Alas, according to some rather straightforward observations in the comments on said post, it’s probably a fake. But damn, it really is pretty. Sony, if you’re working on one of these, drop whatever design you’re using and switch to this instead. It’s really, really good. 

Spider-Man PS4 gameplay on PS4 Pro is pretty spectacular, and don't worry about the QTEs

It looks like Insomniac's Sony exclusive is taking more than a few notes from Rocksteady's Batman Arkham series. Along with the expected high-flying (er, swinging) antics you'd expect from Marvel's most famous hero, the new gameplay demo shows Spidey stalking goons from high atop the rafters, silently picking them off and webbing them up one by one.

After ol' webhead takes out the first round of goons, we see him engage in a bit of fisticuffs with some tougher foes, countering and rhythmically striking back in spectacular fashion. This too is very Arkham-y. Which hey, isn't a bad thing!

Things keep escalating, as one of the game's villains, Mr. Negative, starts to escape by helicopter. This causes a construction crane to come crashing down as Spidey takes chase. Here's where the QTEs come in but don't worry, this isn't indicative of the final game. This is a cinematic section in an open world experience and at our behind closed doors demo at E3, Insomniac's James Stevenson took great pains to explain that there's going to be plenty of freedom. 

“It’s a free roaming New York open world, so this is a set piece in the game,” he said. “Even then, if you clock that nine minute demo there’s only about 20 seconds of QTEs, whereas the rest of it you’re in control of the combat, you’re in control of the traversal, you’re running through that building on fire. I wouldn’t even classify the helicopter because you’re climbing up the outside. And certain buttons do certain things. A lot of the time we try and match those button inputs to what they actually do. Certain sequences will have those moments.” 

Spider-Man PS4 trailers are all about duality and acrobatic improv (and possible playable MJ) 

Let's put on our conjecture specs. While Insomniac hasn't shown it off just yet, it's looking a lot like Spider-Man on PS4 is going to let you play as Peter Parker. There's no sniff of it in the action in the trailer above as Spidey swings through Manhattan but the development team is constantly referring to the need for a true duality for a proper Spidey story. "One of the most compelling things about Spider-Man is just when Peter Parker and Spider-Man’s world collide and we’ve tried really hard to weave the two stories together to create a story that is not necessarily a superhero story but a human story as well," says art director Jacinda Chew. How the team will do that without letting you wander New York as a certain Mr Parker is anyone's business.... 

Other juicy info bits thankfully further suggest that the QTEs of the E3 trailer were just there to deliver some bang for the end of Sony's conference and that the majority of the game will be all about choice. "We always think of Spider-Man as the ‘acrobatic improviser," explains creative director Bryan Intihar. "He’s looking for not just how he can take advantage of where the enemies are positioned but what’s around him. Could he use this object to grab with his webs and then throw at an enemy? We want people to not only see the enemies in front of them but the environment around to take advantage of both of them."

Following the somewhat scripted-feeling E3 2017 demo, we now have a rather more dynamic, cinematic trailer from Paris Games Week. Blending cut-scenes and gameplay to deliberate, movie-like effect, it shows off a boatload more of Spider-Man's kinetic combat and traversal, but just as importantly it dumps a whole lot of new story info. Following the arrest of Wilson 'Kingpin' Fisk, Peter Parker is hoping to tone down the spider-action in favour of a normal life (because when isn't he?), but the criminal power vacuum is about to be filled by something new and very dangerous. Perhaps Fisk's claim that he "kept order in this city" isn't entirely off the mark. 

Anyway, as Mr. Negative touts the scale of his devastating, (so far unknown) plan via severe threats to Peter, we also meet Miles Morales (eventual Spider-status also unknown), Mary-Jane Watson and Aunt May, and glimpse a battle in a bank vault with the Shocker, as well as Norman 'Green Goblin' Osborn's re-election as mayor. Clearly, Spidey is up against a vast array of holistic, citywide odds, as well as the villainous central scheme. 

It's worth noting though, that he's not alone. MJ gets a notable amount of voice-over and screen time in the trailer, and in a couple of shots during a Spidey-foiled bank heist, she gets a conspicuously gameplay-style camera angle while hiding behind some boxes. With Peter stating that 'We've got to play this just right', in what appears to be the same scene, are we looking at some tactical co-op gameplay, akin to Batman: Arkham Knight's tag-team Bat-Family takedowns? It feels probable. 

Spider-Man PS4's web-swinging is physics-based, not scripted

Were you wondering just how scripted that chase sequence from the Spider-Man E3 gameplay demo was? It certainly looks smooth enough to be, but Insomniac says nope:

“There is always a web anchor point,” Stevenson confirmed at E3. “It’s completely momentum and physics-based. We focussed a lot on traversal, wall running, leaping off of things, swinging.” This sounds a lot like Spider-Man 2 on PS2 with added realism which looks and sounds perfect. Hopefully we'll get a hands on soon to try it out for ourselves. 

Spider-Man PS4 stars Miles Morales, in a brand new Marvel universe 

At the tail-end of the Spider-Man PS4 E3 2017 gameplay trailer, we catch a glimpse of Miles Morales - one of the men who took up the mantle of Spider-Man in the Ultimate Spider-Man comics. Handsome devil, ain't he? Well Insomniac is quite aware of who he is, thank you very much and is teasing exactly how he'll be involved. "That was Miles Morales," confirmed James Stevenson at E3. "I would say that our universe is different. You may have seen the signs say ‘re-elect Osborn for mayor.’ That’s obviously very, very different from any other Spider-Man universe so you will find a lot of characters in our universe that are familiar characters that maybe in new roles." 

The original Spider-Man PS4 trailer is still explosive

The first Spider-Man PS4 trailer shows a very acrobatic Spidey, not only swinging through the streets but also performing some very springy indoor stunt-work. The combat also seems to take advantage of both webs and agility. Throw in the action under the truck and the rooftop battling, and this looks like a world just waiting to be beaten to a pulp with webs. It's all in-game too, so further proof that this is going to be one hell of an eye meltingly beautiful world to explore. 

Spider-Man PS4 story stars plenty of well known villains

In the E3 2017 gameplay, Spidey is pitting himself against a gang called the Demons led by Mister Negative. He's also on the phone to Kingpin who he's already helpfully put behind bars but is now getting information from. Even from this nine minutes of gameplay this feels like a who's who of Spidey villains and it'll be very interesting to see who appears next. It's important to note that Insomniac sees this very much as a Peter Parker story and while the team is staying tightlipped on whether we actually get to play as Parker, James Stevenson explained the importance of his part in a true Spidey tale. 

“This is 23 year old Peter Parker. He is kind of in his prime at being Spider-Man,” he said. “He is masterful at it. He’s been fighting crime for a while. Early in the game, he’s taken down Kingpin, Wilson Fisk, and put him behind bars finally and Peter Parker is feeling really good about things being Spider-Man. He’s taken down his adversary but his personal life is still a mess. He’s still Peter Parker, the bills still aren’t being paid, he’s juggling his personal relationships and his work life and trying to be Spider-Man. One of the big things for us is that it’s really critical that in a good Spider-Man story you see those two worlds collide.” 

Spider-Man PS4's open world is four to six times the size of Sunset Overdrive and will be open from the get go 

New York is big. No, seriously. It's HUGE. Insomniac has confirmed that Spider-Man's open world is "four to six times" the size of Sunset Overdrive, the team's previous open world game. According to Comicbook.com, Insomniac has also confirmed that the whole open world will be available from the get go so no introductory missions to unlock New York. Phew. 

Insomniac is working very closely with Marvel 

And if you were worried about the authentic nature of the story, stand down, Marvel is very much involved. Marvel Games creative director Bill Rosemann has been enthusing about the game. As reported on Reddit by GamingSince95 (me too, pal), Rosemann was waxing lyrical about the Insomniac and Marvel teams' shared love for Spidey. They even eat together and had the same underpants growing up, and it's all leading up to one thing; showing the world how brilliant Spider-Man is.

"You may have heard that we’re making a Spider-Man game with Ted Price’s team at Insomniac and our friends at Sony Interactive Entertainment," he said. "The other day we were sitting around talking… Insomniac is only ten minutes away from Marvel Games offices… and we’re eating lunch and talking, asking each other: “hey, when you first get into Spider-Man? And we all realized we had the same story. We discovered him when we were very little. Not only that, we all realized that we all owned the same Spider-Man underoos back in the day." 

"And it feels like our lives have driven us to this moment. This is our purpose: to show the world why this character is so awesome. To bring this fictional world into the real world. It’s very personal for us. We’re going to focus our life’s journey into this game, to celebrate him with the world." Hmm, anyone betting on promotional Spidey underwear with the special edition...?

The Spider-Man PS4 costume is an original comprised of familiar parts - and you'll be able to make your own

Not only is Insomniac's Spider-Man story brand new, so is its take on the iconic superhero outfit. While the red and blue motif of the Spider-Man PS4 costume is in line with almost every depiction of the character dating back to 1962, the enormous white spite logo stretching across his torso is a striking deviation from the norm. While not exact, the white logo does recall the classic design of Spider-Man's black costume which in the late '80s turned into the villain Venom.

There's a reason for it according to Insomniac but we don't know whether that reason is alien symbiote-related. That said, according to GameInformer, the game will take in multiple different costumes, each with special powers - Spider-Punk is pictured above - so expect new abilities and upgrades to be very much a thing. In fact, it now turns out, via that GameInformer story we mentioned earlier, that full-blown suit-crafting is in the game, alongside levelling, so expect those unusual visuals to be a direct result of personal customisation. 

Spider-Man PS4 E3 billboard is really very impressive indeed 

It’s that time of year when we all start trying to gauge what’s going to be hot at E3 based on which games have the biggest promotional art scrawled and pasted onto buildings around Los Angeles. And while the battle of scale is yet to be decided, Spider-Man certainly wins in terms of number of pictures. Because his poster moves, because it’s a trailer billboard, which technically makes it 24 posters per second. We currently only have a photo of it, via a tweet by Marvel Games operations manager Chuck Roquemore, but if you’re in LA and recognise the street corner, you can get down there and check it out for yourself right now

New Spider-Man PS4 artwork from Marvel should be the alternative box-art 

Seriously, just look at that. Recently commissioned by Sony, and created by Marvel Comics cover artist Alexander Lozano for use as magazine cover art, this beautifully posed portrait of Spidey is a masterpiece of detail and dynamism. The sense of movement and life is brilliantly affecting, and that’s before you even get near the amount of background detail and ambient world-building, filling in the gaps on the game’s distinct version of Marvel’s New York. There’s just something about Spider-Man under exactly those kind of big, bright blue skies that makes you immediately happy, isn’t there? 

Are you excited about Marvel's Spider-Man? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Twitter @GamesRadar.