It Took Insomniac Almost 3 Years to Nail the Web-Swinging in Marvel’s Spider-Man

Marvel’s Spider-Man deserves every bit of acclaim its received since launch. Insomniac’s story of a well-adjusted Spider-Man managing alongside a struggling Peter Parker is stunning storytelling. The beauty of the game-world never ceases to amaze. And who can forget the flow of the combat? Yet, the web-swinging typically garners a bulk of the applause. Considering the almost three years of work the studio put into making this mechanic function, perhaps the swinging warrants further praise.

At a Gamelab Barcelona 2019 talk, Game Director Ryan Smith discussed Insomniac’s earliest developmental plans regarding the swinging mechanic. While it counts as the first thing the studio worked on, Insomniac didn’t finish ironing out the kinks until near the end of development. The move away from a physics-based system serves as but one of the many things Insomniac had to get right early on.

A physics-based swinging mechanic was where the team began. However, it proved troublesome, as the character would often crash into buildings. In making the necessary adjustments, Insomniac found a way to ensure Spider-Man immediately striking a building seamlessly transitioned into wall-running.

The team faced similar issues with Spider-Man’s having to turn corners. Akin to the wall-run, this was resolved by having the hero instantly react on contact. Therefore, when the web-slinger encounters a corner, he turns automatically. The same can be applied to momentum with regards to fire escapes. It’s New York; fire escapes were a must, as far as the environment developers at Insomniac were concerned. Of course, this, too, created a few gameplay difficulties, effectively ruining the flow of traversal throughout the city. The solution? Again, Spider-Man has to react to it seamlessly on contact.

Smith explained,

Carrying momentum through transitions–that was something where, when we unlocked some of that momentum transfer between big swings and different places you can leap off in a swing, that was a huge game changer for us. Adding an expressive camera that makes you feel like you are Spider-Man–how would you feel during those swings, during the dive, and how can we emphasise that with the camera? All of that was developed over the space of two or three years, finding those opportunities based on the prototype we had.

[Source: VG247]