If you’ve been playing Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales, you might have noticed that it’s missing a major New York City landmark: the Chrysler building, which made an appearance in 2018’s Spider-Man and is also present in its remaster.
Game Informer decided to dig a little and find out why Miles Morales players see a random skyscraper where the popular landmark should be. The simple answer is that the Chrysler building is protected by copyright law and negotiations between its owners and Insomniac Games for the building’s inclusion in Miles Morales didn’t work out.
Michael Lee, the founder of Lee Law, explained this situation to Game Informer as follows:
If you have just a basic box of a building that looks like just a generic building, you can’t go around and sue every building in Manhattan, and say, ‘You have stolen my idea of what a building looks like.’ You can’t protect the functionality of something, but you could protect the artistic parts of it. So when it comes to certain architecture, whether it has big spires at the top, or whether it has curved glass, whether you see something and you see that it’s unique and different, that’s absolutely protected by copyright. So in order to reproduce it in either another building or make a derivative work such as a T-shirt, a model, or even putting it in a video game, you need authorization from the copyright owner to reproduce the protected thing.
Insomniac Games’ James Stevenson confirmed to Game Informer that the developer couldn’t work things out with the landmark’s current owners (it has changed ownership since the development of 2018’s Spider-Man).
“When creating our representation of the city we wanted to include as many landmarks as we could to add to the sense of immersion,” explained Stevenson. “Sometimes negotiations to use those locations didn’t work out, which was the case with the Chrysler Building in Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales.“
Not a deal breaker, but an interesting revelation.
[Source: Game Informer]